Barley (Hordeum vulgare) in the Okhotsk culture (5th–10th century AD) of northern Japan and the role of cultivated plants in hunter-gatherer economies

Christian Leipe, Elena A. Sergusheva, Stefanie Müller, Robert N. Spengler III, Tomasz Goslar, Hirofumi Kato, Mayke Wagner, Andrzej W. Weber, Pavel E. Tarasov (2017)

Abstract
PLOS-ONE

This paper presents a new record of naked barley from the Okhotsk cultural layers of the Hamanaka 2 archaeological site on Rebun Island, northern Japan. Calibrated ages (68% confidence interval) of directly dated barley remains suggest that the crop was used at the site ca. 440-890 cal yr AD. Together with the finds from the Oumu site (north-eastern Hokkaido Island), Continue reading

Eurasian textiles: Case studies in exchange during the incipient and later Silk Road periods

Paula N. Doumani Dupuy, Robert N. Spengler III, Michael D. Frachetti Quaternary International (2017) 1-12

Abstract

In thiQuaternary Internationals article, we introduce a new line of evidence for the passage and consumption of one commodity – textiles – into the Dzhungar Mountains of southeastern Kazakhstan during the incipient (i.e., Bronze Age), and later (i.e., Iron Age and Medieval Period) Silk Road periods. Although woolen textiles are known for neighboring western China from several discoveries of clothing in its prehistoric cemeteries, Continue reading

Introduction and Intensification of Agriculture in Central Eurasia and Adjacent Regions

Edited Volume – introduction to Special Edition volume of The Holocene

Robert N. Spengler III, Mayke Wagner, and Pavel Tarasov 2016. Introduction to the Special Issue: ‘Introduction and intensification of agriculture in Central Eurasia and adjacent regions’. The Holocene.

Abstract

HoloceneFor well over a century scholars from across the social and biological sciences have been trying to understand the origins and spread of agriculture. This debate is often intertwined with discussions of climate change and human environmental impact. Over the past decade, this debate has spread into Central Eurasia, from western China to Ukraine and southern Russia to Turkmenistan, Continue reading

The spread of agriculture into northern Central Asia

Robert N. Spengler III, Natalia Ryabogina, Pavel Tarasov, and Mayke Wagner
2016. The spread of agriculture into northern Central Asia: Timing, pathways, and environmental feedbacks. The Holocene.

Abstract

HoloceneOver the past decade researchers have directed greater focus toward understanding Bronze (3200-800 BC) and Iron Age (800 BC-AD 400) economies of Central Asia. In this article, we synthesize paleobotanical data from across this broad region and discuss the piecemeal archaeological evidence for agriculture in relation to environmental records of vegetation and climate change. The synthesis shows that Continue reading

Millet cultivation across Eurasia

Naomi F Miller, Robert N Spengler, and Michael Frachetti
2016. Millet cultivation across Eurasia: Origins, spread, and the influence of seasonal climate. The Holocene.

Abstract

HoloceneThe two East Asian millets, broomcorn (Panicum miliaceum) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica), spread across Eurasia and became important crops by the second millennium BC. The earliest indisputable archaeobotanical remains of broomcorn millet outside of East Asia identified thus far date to the end of the third millennium BC in eastern Kazakhstan. By the end of the second millennium BC, broomcorn millet Continue reading

The Breadth of Dietary Economy in Bronze Age Central Asia

Robert N Spengler III; Ilaria de Nigris; Barbara Cerasetti; Marialetizia Carra; Lynne M Rouse.
2016. The Breadth of Dietary Economy in Bronze Age Central Asia: Case study from Adji Kui in the Murghab region of Turkmenistan. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Abstract

Archaeological Science ReportsOver the past decade research into the paleoeconomy of Bronze Age (3500-800 B.C.) peoples in Central Asia has shown how complex the productive economy was. The agropastoral system involved an array of crops and herd animals. In this article, we present a paleoethnobotanical study conducted on sediment samples from excavation units at the site of Adji Kui, Turkmenistan. Continue reading

Agriculture in the Central Asian Bronze Age

Spengler, Robert N., III
2015. Agriculture in the Central Asian Bronze Age. Journal of World Prehistory. Peer-reviewed.

Abstract

World PrehistoryBy the late third/early second millennium BC, increased interconnectivity in the mountains of Central Asia linked populations across Eurasia. This increasing interaction would later culminate in the Silk Road. While these populations are typically lumped together under the title of ‘nomads’, a growing corpus of data illustrates how diverse their economic strategies were, in many cases representing mixed agropastoral systems. Continue reading