A Bronze Age Landscape In The Russian Steppes

Author: David W. Anthony
Publisher: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
ISBN: 9781938770050
Size: 32.40 MB
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The first English-language monograph that describes seasonal and permanent Late Bronze Age settlements in the Russian steppes, this is the final report of the Samara Valley Project, a US-Russian archaeological investigation conducted between 1995 and 2002. It explores the changing organization and subsistence resources of pastoral steppe economies from the Eneolithic (4500 BC) through the Late Bronze Age (1900-1200 BC) across a steppe-and-river valley landscape in the middle Volga region, with particular attention to the role of agriculture during the unusual episode of sedentary, settled pastoralism that spread across the Eurasian steppes with the Srubnaya and Andronovo cultures (1900-1200 BC). Three astonishing discoveries were made by the SVP archaeologists: agriculture played no role in the LBA diet across the region, a surprise given the settled residential pattern; a unique winter ritual was practiced at Krasnosamarskoe involving dog and wolf sacrifices, possibly related to male initiation ceremonies; and overlapping spheres of obligation, cooperation, and affiliation operated at different scales to integrate groups defined by politics, economics, and ritual behaviors.

Social Change In Aegean Prehistory

Author: Corien Wiersma
Publisher: Oxbow Books
ISBN: 1785702203
Size: 18.82 MB
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This volume brings together papers that discuss social change. The main focus is on the Early Helladic III to Late Helladic I period in southern Greece, but also touches upon the surrounding islands. This specific timeframe enables us to consider how mainland societies recovered from a ‘crisis’ and how they eventually developed into the differentiated, culturally receptive and competitive social formations of the early Mycenaean period. Material changes are highlighted in the various papers, ranging from pottery and burials to domestic architecture and settlement structures, followed by discussions of how these changes relate to social change. A variety of factors is thereby considered including demographic changes, reciprocal relations and sumptuary behaviour, household organization and kin structure, age and gender divisions, internal tensions, connectivity and mobility. As such, this volume is of interest to both Aegean prehistorians as to scholars interested in social and material change. The volume consists of eight papers, preceded by an introduction and concluded by a response. The introduction gives an overview of the development of the debate on the explanation of social change in Aegean prehistory. The response places the volume in a broader context of the EH III-LH I period and the broader discussion on social change.

Who We Are And How We Got Here

Author: David Reich
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192554387
Size: 46.57 MB
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The past few years have witnessed a revolution in our ability to obtain DNA from ancient humans. This important new data has added to our knowledge from archaeology and anthropology, helped resolve long-existing controversies, challenged long-held views, and thrown up remarkable surprises. The emerging picture is one of many waves of ancient human migrations, so that all populations living today are mixes of ancient ones, and often carry a genetic component from archaic humans. David Reich, whose team has been at the forefront of these discoveries, explains what genetics is telling us about ourselves and our complex and often surprising ancestry. Gone are old ideas of any kind of racial âpurity.' Instead, we are finding a rich variety of mixtures. Reich describes the cutting-edge findings from the past few years, and also considers the sensitivities involved in tracing ancestry, with science sometimes jostling with politics and tradition. He brings an important wider message: that we should recognize that every one of us is the result of a long history of migration and intermixing of ancient peoples, which we carry as ghosts in our DNA. What will we discover next?

European Archaeology As Anthropology

Author: Pam J. Crabtree
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 193453689X
Size: 64.73 MB
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Since the days of V. Gordon Childe, the study of the emergence of complex societies has been a central question in anthropological archaeology. However, archaeologists working in the Americanist tradition have drawn most of their models for the emergence of social complexity from research in the Middle East and Latin America. Bernard Wailes was a strong advocate for the importance of later prehistoric and early medieval Europe as an alternative model of sociopolitical evolution and trained generations of American archaeologists now active in European research from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. Two centuries of excavation and research in Europe have produced one of the richest bodies of archaeological data anywhere in the world. The abundant data show that technological innovations such as metallurgy appeared very early, but urbanism and state formation are comparatively late developments. Key transformative process such as the spread of agriculture did not happen uniformly but rather at different rates in different regions. The essays in this volume celebrate the legacy of Bernard Wailes by highlighting the contribution of the European archaeological record to our understanding of the emergence of social complexity. They provide case studies in how ancient Europe can inform anthropological archaeology. Not only do they illuminate key research topics, they also invite archaeologists working in other parts of the world to consider comparisons to ancient Europe as they construct models for cultural development for their regions. Although there is a substantial corpus of literature on European prehistoric and medieval archaeology, we do not know of a comparable volume that explicitly focuses on the contribution that the study of ancient Europe can make to anthropological archaeology.

The Lost World Of Old Europe

Author: David W. Anthony
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691143880
Size: 52.43 MB
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In the prehistoric Copper Age, long before cities, writing, or the invention of the wheel, Old Europe was among the most culturally rich regions in the world. Its inhabitants lived in prosperous agricultural towns. The ubiquitous goddess figurines found in their houses and shrines have triggered intense debates about women's roles. The Lost World of Old Europe is the accompanying catalog for an exhibition at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. This superb volume features essays by leading archaeologists as well as breathtaking color photographs cataloguing the objects, some illustrated here for the first time. The heart of Old Europe was in the lower Danube valley, in contemporary Bulgaria and Romania. Old European coppersmiths were the most advanced metal artisans in the world. Their intense interest in acquiring copper, Aegean shells, and other rare valuables gave rise to far-reaching trading networks. In their graves, the bodies of Old European chieftains were adorned with pounds of gold and copper ornaments. Their funerals were without parallel in the Near East or Egypt. The exhibition represents the first time these rare objects have appeared in the United States. An unparalleled introduction to Old Europe's cultural, technological, and artistic legacy, The Lost World of Old Europe includes essays by Douglass Bailey, John Chapman, Cornelia-Magda Lazarovici, Ioan Opris and Catalin Bem, Ernst Pernicka, Dragomir Nicolae Popovici, Michel Séfériadès, and Vladimir Slavchev.

The History Of Central Asia

Author: Christoph Baumer
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 1780760604
Size: 45.38 MB
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An illustrated history of one of the most compelling and mysterious regions on earth. It is a unique travelogue and resource and will appeal to scholars and students of antiquity, history, archaeology and religious studies. The epic plains and arid deserts of Central Asia have witnessed some of the greatest migrations, as well as many of the most transformative developments, in the history of civilization. Christoph Baumer's ambitious treatment of the region charts the 3000-year drama of Scythians and Sarmatians; Soviets and transcontinental Silk Roads; trade routes and the transmission of ideas across the steppes; and, the breathless and brutal conquests of Alexander the Great and Chinghiz Khan.

The Horse The Wheel And Language

Author: David W. Anthony
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 069114818X
Size: 50.51 MB
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Roughly half the world's population speaks languages derived from a shared linguistic source known as Proto-Indo-European. But who were the early speakers of this ancient mother tongue, and how did they manage to spread it around the globe? Until now their identity has remained a tantalizing mystery to linguists, archaeologists, and even Nazis seeking the roots of the Aryan race. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language lifts the veil that has long shrouded these original Indo-European speakers, and reveals how their domestication of horses and use of the wheel spread language and transformed civilization. Linking prehistoric archaeological remains with the development of language, David Anthony identifies the prehistoric peoples of central Eurasia's steppe grasslands as the original speakers of Proto-Indo-European, and shows how their innovative use of the ox wagon, horseback riding, and the warrior's chariot turned the Eurasian steppes into a thriving transcontinental corridor of communication, commerce, and cultural exchange. He explains how they spread their traditions and gave rise to important advances in copper mining, warfare, and patron-client political institutions, thereby ushering in an era of vibrant social change. Anthony also describes his fascinating discovery of how the wear from bits on ancient horse teeth reveals the origins of horseback riding. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language solves a puzzle that has vexed scholars for two centuries--the source of the Indo-European languages and English--and recovers a magnificent and influential civilization from the past.

Social Orders And Social Landscapes

Author: Laura M. Popova
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN:
Size: 78.25 MB
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Social Orders and Social Landscapes marks a new direction in research for Eurasian archaeology that focuses on how people lived in their local environment and interacted with their near and distant neighbours, rather than on overarching comparisons of archaeological culture complexes. Stemming from the 2005 University of Chicago Eurasian Archaeology Conference, the papers collected here reflect this new research agenda, though the way in which each author addressed the theme of the conference, and thus the book, was strikingly varied. This diversity arises out of the field's intellectual flux driven by the principled engagement of the rich analytical traditions of the Soviet/CIS, Anglo-American, and European schools. Despite the variability in approaches and subject matter, several key themes emerged: 1) the reinterpretation culture categories by examining particular aspects of social life; 2) the role social memory plays in the production of landscape and place; 3) the influence of the built environment on societies; and 4) the ways in which economic considerations affect social orders and landscapes. The result is a book that helps to re-image Eurasia as a complex landscape fragmented by historically contingent and shifting ecological and social boundaries rather than a bounded mosaic of culture areas or environmental zones. "Scholarly research on Eurasia was transformed by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Entire areas and fields of research became accessible to European and American scholars for the first time, resulting in the emergence of new centers specializing in primary field investigations throughout the vast, politically transformed landmass of Eurasia. One such center is the University of Chicago that has recently sponsored two large international conferences on Eurasian archaeology. Social Orders and Social Landscapes is the product of the second Chicago conference held in spring 2005. The editors of the volume should be proud of their efforts that have resulted in such a broad ranging and prompt publication. The articles encompass a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including archaeology, history, art history, palynology, and zooarchaeology; extend chronologically from Neolithic and Bronze Age times to the formation of national identity in Turkey in the early 20th century; and range geographically from Europe to China. Several articles reconstruct basic subsistence activities; others analyze distinctive settlement types and political and cultural frontiers, including the assimilation and emergence of new, self-defined ethnic groups and the selective adoption of new systems of religious belief. What unites this diverse collection is their consistent emphasis on the social construction of reality and the production of social landscapes and memories that altered perceptions of the physical world and mediated the practical activities that here have been convincingly reconstructed from the archaeological record. In so doing, rigid stereotypes are questioned and novel interpretations persuasively advanced. Early Bronze Age pastoralism on the south Russian steppes did not consist exclusively of herding animals nor was it combined, as it was later in the Iron Age, with the pursuit of agriculture; rather, D. Anthony and D. Brown suggest that at least in the Samara river valley the herding of animals occurred along side the intensive gathering of wild, nutritionally rich plants. The kalas of ancient Chorasmia are not cities, nor even proto-urban formations, but rather are large, heavily fortified enclosures meant to repel attacks of armed nomadic cavalry. They represent a continuation of a distinct Central Asian settlement pattern that began in the Bronze Age and that formed the center of a landscape divided into contiguous, self-contained oases. The Mongols not only herded livestock, but also farmed, fished, hunted, and traded throughout the vast area that they had conquered, uniting most of Eurasia into a single, economically integrated system. New perspectives proliferate throughout this richly detailed and extremely broad ranging collected volume." Phil Kohl, Professor of Anthropology and the Kathryn W. Davis Professor of Slavic Studies at Wellesley College " "Social Orders and Social Landscapes" is a stimulating addition to the still small literature in English making the rich datasets from the archaeology of Eurasia widely accessible to Western scholars. The authors of the eighteen chapters analyze data from China to the Mediterranean, from the fourth millennium BCE through the fourteenth century CE, with the tools of art and architectural history, text analysis, paleobotany and paleozoology, and anthropological theory, among others. The product of a conference at the University of Chicago, this book fulfils the goal of the graduate student organizers to apply interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the archaeology and history of the Eurasian landmass in local terms through a focus on "how people lived in their local environments." In the decade and a half since the end of the Soviet Union, scholarly communication has broadened and the mutual influences have stimulated many new and thought provoking views on the Eurasian past. This book is an exemplary product of the new scholarly discourse." Karen S. Rubinson, Research Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University

A Geography Of Offerings

Author: Richard Bradley
Publisher: Oxbow Books
ISBN: 1785704788
Size: 18.14 MB
Format: PDF
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More than quarter of a century ago Richard Bradley published The Passage of Arms. It was conceived as An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoards and Votive Deposits, but, as the author concedes, these terms were too narrrowly focused for the complex subject of deliberate deposition and the period covered too short. A Geography of Offerings has been written to provoke a reaction from archaeologists and has two main aims. The first is to move this kind of archaeology away from the minute study of ancient objects to a more ambitious analysis of ancient places and landscapes. The second is to recognise that problems of interpretation are not restricted to the pre-Roman period. Mesolithic finds have a place in this discussion, and so do those of the 1st millennium AD. Archaeologists studying individual periods confront with similar problems and the same debates are repeated within separate groups of scholars – but they arrive at different conclusions. Here, the author presents a review that brings these discussions together and extends across the entire sequence. Rather than offer a comprehensive survey, this is an extended essay about the strengths and weaknesses of current thinking regarding specialised deposits, which encompass both sacrificial deposits characterised by large quantities of animal and human bones and other collections which are dominated by finds of stone or metal artefacts. It considers current approaches and theory, the histories of individual artefacts and the landscape and physical context of the of places where they were deposited, the character of materials, the importance of animism and the character of ancient cosmologies.