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Title: Central Asian economies and ecologies in the Late Bronze Age : geometric morphometrics of the caprid Astragalus and zooarchaeological investigations of pastoralism
Author: Haruda, Ashleigh Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 765X
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2014
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Sheep and goat formed the foundation of pastoral activity across the Central Asian steppe through the Bronze Age. Theories of pastoral activity have assumed that flocks were uniform in association with ethnic groups that crossed the steppe with new ceramic forms and technologies. This study investigated differences between flocks of sheep and goat across the eastern Kazakh steppe in the Late and Final Bronze Age to elucidate the potential for animal exchange and mobility. Geometric morphometric techniques were applied to archaeological astragali from Ovis aries and Capra hircus. The methods for measurement and analysis were carefully developed to control only for inherited characteristics that relate to environmentally driven adaptations in the movement of the hind limb. Efficiency of movement in this limb is tied to survival and reproductive success of animals. Specimens were selected from three archaeological sites located in different ecozones across the steppe to maximize ecological variability. Geometric morphometric results revealed that flocks of sheep exhibited unique astragalus morphology, indicating that crossbreeding and exchange did not occur between sites. These sites were also subjected to full zooarchaeological analyses to investigate variability of economic subsistence patterns. The total number of species as well as investigations into survival and skeletal body part representation revealed that each site had unique subsistence patterns that were related to local ecological resource availability, despite material culture links. This variability in subsistence patterns and flock uniformity indicate that animal trade was not a feature of steppe networks. Local lifeways were specific to small patches of the steppe, despite overarching shared material cultures.
Supervisor: Outram, Alan, K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geometric Morphometrics ; Sheep ; Goat ; Astragalus ; Central Asia ; Late and Final Bronze Age