Archaeobotanical Results from Sarazm, Tajikistan, an Early Bronze Age Village on the Edge

Spengler, Robert N., III, and George Willcox
2013. Archaeobotanical Results from Sarazm, Tajikistan, an Early Bronze Age Village on the Edge: Agriculture and Exchange. Journal of Environmental Archaeology 10(3): 211-221. Peer-reviewed.

Volume 18, Issue 3 (October 2013), pp. 189-190
Animal–plant interactions on the Iranian plateau and in adjacent areas: Using bioarchaeological methods in the reconstruction of agro-pastoral practices
Neolithic in the Near East Guest Editors: Margareta Tengberg and Marjan Mashkour

Abstract

Environmental ArchaeologySarazm is an agricultural settlement located in the Zerafshan Valley of northwestern Tajikistan; it was occupied from the fourth to the end of the third millennia BC. Located on the northeastern edge of a chain of agricultural settlements (Namazga IV) that span the northern foothill ecotone of the Kopet Dag, Sarazm sat on a crossroads of exchange and interaction. Being at the eastern extremity of this chain of sedentary villages, Sarazm is the key site for understanding the eventual diffusion of agriculture north into the mountains and steppe. The main purpose of this article is to present a long-awaited (previously unpublished) macrobotanical data set analysed in the late 1980s by George Willcox. Domesticated seeds in the assemblage (wheat and barley) are important both in terms of understanding the northeastern spread of agriculture into Central Eurasia and illustrating the role of agriculture in the Early Bronze Age economy at Sarazm. Wild fruit remains (specifically Russian olive, hackberry, sea buckthorn berry, wild pistachio and cappers) attest to foraging practices.

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