Agricultural Production in the Central Asian Mountains

Spengler, Robert N., III, Claudia Chang, and Perry A. Tourtellotte
2013. Agricultural Production in the Central Asian Mountains: Tuzusai, Kazakhstan (410-150 BC). Journal of Field Archaeology 38(1): 68-85. Peer-reviewed.

Available open access through JFA.

Abstract

JFAThe site of Tuzusai is located in the Tien Shan Mountains of eastern Kazakhstan; occupation at the site between 410 B.C. and A.D. 150 represents the transition between the Saka and Wusun periods (Saka: 800–200 B.C.; Wusun: 200 B.C.–A.D. 400). Iron Age people of Central Asia are often described simply as mobile pastoralists, yet at Tuzusai, we have evidence that agriculture was practiced along with pastoral transhumance. This multiresource economic system combined pastoralism and hunting with the cultivation of a variety of crops. Our new finding is significant because Tuzusai has the first clear evidence for the presence of agriculture from the Iron Age of northern Central Asia. The diversity of crops grown at Tuzusai required varying labor and time inputs and a well-planned scheduling system.

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