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Arctic Domus team member publishes article on Arrival of Pastoralism in Siberia

Arctic Domus team member publishes article on Arrival of Pastoralism in Siberia
24 May - 24 August 2017

Arctic Domus team member Robert Losey co-authored a journal article analysing Early Iron Age burials on Lake Baikal's western shore. The article appears in Nature's Scientific Reports (Vol. 7, Article 2319) and you can read the open access paper here

Title: A Second Mortuary Hiatus on Lake Baikal in Siberia and the Arrival of Small-Scale Pastoralism

Authors: Robert J. Losey, Andrea L. Waters-Rist, Tatiana Nomokonova & Artur A. Kharinskii

AbstractThe spread of pastoralism in Asia is poorly understood, including how such processes affected northern forager populations. Lake Baikal’s western shore has a rich Holocene archaeological record that tracks these processes. The Early Bronze Age here is evidenced by numerous forager burials. The Early Iron Age (EIA) is thought to mark the arrival of pastoralists, but archaeological remains from this period have received little analysis. New radiocarbon dates for EIA human remains from 23 cemeteries indicate that no burials were created along this shore for ~900 years. This period, from ~3670 to 2760 cal. BP, spans from the end of the Early Bronze Age to the advent of the EIA. The burial gap may mark disruption of local foraging populations through incursions by non-local pastoralists. Radiocarbon dates on faunal remains indicate that domestic herd animals first appear around 3275 cal. BP, just prior to the first EIA human burials. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human remains and zooarchaeological data indicate that domestic fauna were minor dietary components for EIA people. Like preceding foragers, the EIA groups relied extensively on Baikal’s aquatic food sources, indicating that the scale of pastoralism during this period was relatively limited.


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