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.
Over 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
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.
Over 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
Spengler, Robert N., III
2015. Agriculture in the Central Asian Bronze Age. Journal of World Prehistory. Peer-reviewed.
By 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
Doumani, P. N., M. D. Frachetti, R. Beardmore, T. Schmaus, R. N. Spengler, and A. N. Mar’yashev
2015. Burial ritual, agriculture, and craft production among Bronze Age pastoralists at Tasbas (Kazakhstan). Archaeological Research in Asia 1-2: 17–32. Peer-reviewed.
Available open source through ARA.
This article presents new archaeological research on the ritual and domestic life of pastoralists at the Bronze Age campsite Tasbas, Kazakhstan. We reconstruct the hitherto unrecorded economy of high mountain pastoralists who lived at the site from the mid-3rd to early 1st millennium B.C. We argue that within the broad dynamics of mountain pastoralism there is local variability as shown through multi-season residence, Continue reading
Spengler, Robert N., III
2014. Niche Dwelling vs. Niche Construction: Landscape Modification in the Bronze
and Iron Ages of Central Asia. Human Ecology 42, (6): 813-821. Peer-reviewed.
Like all humans, mobile pastoralists alter their ecological niche to their advantage; however, archaeological discussions of mobile pastoralists in Central Asia often focus on environmental factors as a sole driving force in decision making. In reality, anthropogenic modification of the landscape are evident as far back at the Bronze Age. Herders altered the overall ecology of the region by converting forest into pasturelands Continue reading
Spengler, Robert N., III, Paula Doumani, and Michael Frachetti 2014. Late Bronze Age agriculture at Tasbas in the Dzhungar Mountains of eastern Kazakhstan. Quaternary International 348: 147-157. Peer-reviewed.
Special Issue of Quaternary International, Volume 348, Pages 1-266 (20 October 2014)
The Bridging Eurasia Research Initiative: Modes of mobility and sustainability in the palaeoenvironmental and archaeological archives from Eurasia
Edited by Mayke Wagner, Gui-Yun Jin and Pavel Tarasov
The settlement of Tasbas is located in the Dzunghar Mountains of eastern Kazakhstan. This article illustrates an economy at the site in the Late Bronze Age (Phase 2a, 1490-1260 cal. BC), which incorporated mixed agropastoralism or multiresource pastoralism. This economic model is significant in that it confirms the presence of Bronze Age agriculture in northern Central Asia, an area where the nature of early pastoralism Continue reading
Spengler, R. N., M. D. Frachetti, P. N. Doumani, L. M. Rouse, B. Cerasetti, E. Bullion, A. N. Mar’yashev
2014. Early agriculture and crop transmission among Bronze Age mobile pastoralists of
Central Eurasia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20133382. Peer-reviewed.
Available open access through ProcB.
Archaeological research in Central Eurasia is exposing unprecedented scales of trans-regional interaction and technology transfer between East Asia and southwest Asia deep into the prehistoric past. This article presents a new archaeobotanical analysis from pastoralist campsites in the mountain and desert regions of Central Eurasia that documents the oldest known evidence for domesticated grains Continue reading