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Thread: Pastoralism and farming in Bronze Age Eurasia

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    Pastoralism and farming in Bronze Age Eurasia

    This is from the Frachetti group, and they're really talking about Inner Asia, i.e. Kazakhstan.

    Early integration of pastoralism and millet cultivation in Bronze Age Eurasia

    "Mobile pastoralists are thought to have facilitated the first trans-Eurasian dispersals of domesticated plants during the Early Bronze Age (ca 2500–2300 BC). Problematically, the earliest seeds of wheat, barley and millet in Inner Asia were recovered from human mortuary contexts and do not inform on local cultivation or subsistence use, while contemporaneous evidence for the use and management of domesticated livestock in the region remains ambiguous. We analysed mitochondrial DNA and multi-stable isotopic ratios (δ13C, δ15N and δ18O) of faunal remains from key pastoralist sites in the Dzhungar Mountains of southeastern Kazakhstan. At ca 2700 BC, Near Eastern domesticated sheep and goat were present at the settlement of Dali, which were also winter foddered with the region's earliest cultivated millet spreading from its centre of domestication in northern China. In the following centuries, millet cultivation and caprine management became increasingly intertwined at the nearby site of Begash. Cattle, on the other hand, received low levels of millet fodder at the sites for millennia. By primarily examining livestock dietary intake, this study reveals that the initial transmission of millet across the mountains of Inner Asia coincided with a substantial connection between pastoralism and plant cultivation, suggesting that pastoralist livestock herding was integral for the westward dispersal of millet from farming societies in China."

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    (b) Domesticated bovids enhanced millet transmission

    Early genetic evidence for domesticated sheep and goat and a human individual with admixed northeastern Iranian and Eurasian hunter–gatherer ancestries at Dali allow us to consider the transmission of pastoralism to Inner Asia as the combined effects of mobility, communication and exchange with agro-pastoralists in the southern reaches of the IAMC [23,44,71]. However, we cannot rule out simultaneous or earlier transmissions of livestock to the Dzhungar and Tian Shan mountains from Afanasievo or other Eneolithic communities in the Altai. Nevertheless, the integration of millet cultivation with livestock management at Dali and Begash implies that Early Bronze Age pastoralists were already well connected throughout the foothills of western China, perhaps as far east as Gansu, and accelerated the transmission of millet westward. The addition of millet agriculture to pastoralism likely facilitated new labour divisions and expanded social networks, reflecting an important medium for the inter-regional transfer of food technologies.
    Even if author mentions the genetic evidence, Dali admixture (CHG and WSHG) would not happen at that time. looks like CHG and anatolia farmer was mixed at Iran around 4,000bc


    However, I am sure that tocharian used IAMC route:

    The critical issue for these models is that while any and all of them could explain the distribution of domestic animal names, there are serious problems involved with the spread of arableagriculture. As Anthony remarks in this symposium, there is really no serious evidence for arable agriculture (domestic cereals) east of the Dnieper until after c 2000 BCE (see also Ryabogina & Ivanov 2011; Mallory, in press:a). This means that there is also no evidence for domestic cereals in the Asiatic steppe until the Late Bronze Age (Andronovo etc). From the perspective of the Pontic-Caspian model, the ancestors of the Indo-Iranians and Tokharians shouldnot cross the Ural before c 2000 BCE at the very earliest. Hypotheses linking the Tokharians toearlier eastward steppe expansions associated with the Afanasievo or Okunevo cultures of theYenisei or Altai (Mallory and Mair 2000) become very difficult if not impossible to sustain (aslong as there is no evidence of arable agriculture in these cultures) as Tokharian retains elements of the Indo-European agricultural vocabulary. Of course, it should be emphasized thatsites of the Afanasievo and Okunevo cultures are overwhelmingly burials that hardly providethe context in which one expects to recover the remains of domestic cereals; moreover, there isno evidence that any of these sites have been excavated in such a way that the recovery ofseeds is likely. On the other hand, domestic cereals have been recovered from the site ofBegash in the Jungghar mountains at dates of c 2300 BCE (Frachetti 2012) although this site isnot connected (so far as we know) with the steppe trajectory of sites (Afanasievo, Okunevo).
    Last edited by johen; 07-09-19 at 22:49.

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