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Title: Human-animal relationships in the Eurasian steppe, Iron Age : an exploration into social, economic and ideological change
Author: Hanks, B. K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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As an overarching theme, this thesis is concerned with investigating the symbolic relationships created between humans and animals during the Eurasian steppe Early Iron Age period. Based on first-hand experience in cooperative zooarchaeological fieldwork with the Russian Academy of Sciences, the thesis critically examines conventional theoretical models of early semi-nomadic and nomadic pastoralist development and associated social, economic and political changes connected with this phenomenon. Further to this, the thesis investigates the symbolic complexity of changing ideological and cognitive frameworks relating to mortuary behaviours and other ritual practices which have been traditionally linked to the appearance of vertically stratified warrior-based societies. These significant issues are evaluated through both a review of traditional theoretical and methodological approaches to the Early Iron Age period of the Eurasian steppe region and the presentation of original zooarchaeological analyses of faunal remains recovered from fortified settlement sites and kurgan (barrow) funerary constructions in the Trans Ural region, Russian Federation. In the early chapters of the thesis, conventional models surrounding the development of warrior nomadic societies are assessed in relation to the traditional use of rigid ethnonymic constructs and static models of neo-evolutionary societal development, which have been problematically connected with a normative view of cultural formation and development. These important concerns are addressed through a review of the development of archaeology during the Soviet and Post-Soviet periods and connected theoretical and methodological developments. It is further argued that the significance of understanding culture as a multivariate formation is crucial for extending current interpretations of the Eurasian Early Iron Age and for understanding changing patterns of material culture relating to ethnicity, ideology and socio-cultural interaction and change. Relating to this, the concept of tribalisation (i.e. interface between state-based and non-state based societies) is explored in relation to the intensification of cultural contact during the Iron Age with subsequent changes in both socio-economic and socio-political organisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available