Close management of sheep in ancient Central Asia: evidence for foddering, transhumance, and extended lambing seasons during the Bronze and Iron Ages

A. R. Ventresca Miller, A. Haruda, V. Varfolomeev, A. Goryachev, C. A. Makarewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pastoralism in Central Asia directed the utilization of natural resources, yet information on livestock management strategies remain scarce. Carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope analyses of domesticated sheep teeth are used to identify animal management strategies. Sheep from Kent exhibit an inverserelationship where low δ18O values coincide with high δ13C values, consistent with the foddering of caprines in the winter for this location which occursalongside evidence for an extended lambing season. At the high altitude encampment of Turgen, Bronze Age sheep exhibit low δ18O values that coincide withhigh δ13C values, suggesting that livestock were moved to low altitude pastures in the winter months. Iron Age sheep sequences also have an inverserelationship, where low δ18O values coincide with high δ13C values, yet high δ13C values in the winter suggest that livestock were foddered. Our findingsindicate variation in livestock management strategies with distinct adaptations to local ecologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalScience and Technology of Archaeological Research
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • fodder
  • Kazakhstan
  • livestock
  • millet
  • pastoralism
  • transhumance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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