Abe, Yoshiko, State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Butchery and Skeletal Element Transport among the Evenki of Siberia,' supervised by Dr. Curtis W. Marean
YOSHIKO ABE, while a student at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, New York, received funding in August 2002 to aid ethnoarchaeological research on large-mammal butchery and skeletal element transport among the Evenki of Siberia, under the supervision of Dr. Curtis W. Marean. This year-round field study of a group Evenki cold-forest hunter-gatherers was designed to test a key assumption made in zooarchaeology: that carcass use can be inferred from the placement and frequency of butchery marks. Abe aimed to develop a more comprehensive model of the relationship between butchery marks and their behavioral meaning through close observation of the butchery process, using videography and a new method of recording butchery marks using GIS. Data were collected on both butchery activity and actual marks on bones for two species-wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and musk deer (Moschus moschiferus). More than 61 successful hunts were observed, and 4 reindeer and 29 musk deer were followed through all stages of butchery and consumption. Analysis of the data was expected to provide a comparative framework from which to address questions about relationships between butchery marks and their behavioral meanings, relationships between skeletal element use and utility, and processing costs for individual skeletal elements.
Chase, Dr. Bradley Allen, Albion College, Albion, MI - To aid research on 'Pastoral Land-use and Social Change in Harappan Gujarat: Strontium Isotope Analysis at Gola Dhoro'
DR. BRADLEY A. CHASE, Albion College, Albion, Michigan, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Pastoral Land-use and Social Change in Harappan Gujarat: Strontium Isotope Analysis at Gola Dhoro.' This project has established an empirical baseline for further investigations of the land-use changes that may have accompanied the emergence and decline of South Asia’s first urban civilization. This was accomplished through the analysis of strontium isotopes in the tooth enamel of domestic animals excavated from Gola Dhoro, an important crafting and trading settlement of the Indus Civilization (2600-1900 BC), located in Gujarat, India. Although less than two hectares in areal extent, this settlement rapidly developed into a heavily fortified manufacturing center. Eventually, however, the intensity of industry declined and the residents of the site no longer participated in the interregional networks that had linked them to the inland cities. Preliminary findings suggest that while the residents of Bagasra during its main phase of occupation were largely self-sufficient in the production of small stock raised primarily for meat, they were also dependent to a considerable extent on intraregional exchange networks for the procurement of cattle kept for secondary products such as milk and traction. The next phase of the analyses will include samples from the initial as well as the last phase of occupation in order to more fully reconstruct trajectories of changes in land-use practices at the site.
Glantz, Dr. Michelle M., Colorado State U., Fort Collins, CO - To aid conference on Upper Pleistocene prehistory in Central Asia: the emergence of the initial Upper Paleolithic, 2004, Natl. U. of Uzbekistan, in collaboration with Dr. Andrei Krivoshapkin
Glantz, Michelle, Bence Viola, Patrick Wrinn, Tatiana Chikisheva, Anatoly Derevianko, et al. 2008. New Hominin Remains from Uzbekistan. Journal of Human Evolution 55(2):233-237
Liu, Xinyi, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Origins and Early Spread of Broomcorn Millet,' supervised by Martin Kenneth Jones
XINUI LIU, then a student at University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Origins and Early Spread of Broomcorn Millet,' supervised by Dr. Martin K. Jones. Studies into the origin of agriculture often concern the domestication of contemporary demanding crops such as wheat, barley, and rice. They are believed to be initiated from 'fertile crescents,' and carried to other parts of the world in a slow process. A minor crop, Panicum miliaceum (broomcorn millet), however, paints a different chronological and geological pattern in its records of archaeobotany. The major objects of this research were to explore what was the earliest isotopic evidence of millet consumption in Northeast China, and how it varies through time. What are the earliest dates for Panicum miliaceum in the archaeobotanical records. Fieldwork was carried out in various early Neolithic loci in North China, followed by lab research conducted in different institutions. This forms a multi-disciplinary investigation embracing archaeobotanical flotation, isotopic sampling, radio-carbon dating, and contemporary landraces surveys. While the flotation programs in two pre-6000 BC sites are in progress, the result of the isotopic analysis (combined with the archaeobotanical sorting) indicates a clear signature of millet consumption among the population of Xinglongwa (cal. 8200-7600 BC), the earliest such known. Investigations into early millet sites in North China also encourage a new insight in the construction of the early farming communities, putting the foci of river valleys in challenge.
Liu, Xinyi, Harriet V. Hunt, and Martin K. Jones. 2009. River Valleys and Foothils: Changing Archaeological Perceptions of North China’s Earliest Farms. Antiquity 83(319):82-95.
Liu, Xinyi, Martin K. Jones, Zhijun Zhao, Guoxiang Liu, and Tamsin C. O'Connell. 2012. The Earliest Evidence of Millet as a Staple Crop: New Light on Neolithic Foodways in North China. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 149(2):283-290.
Schmaus, Tekla McCarthy, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Seasonal Mobility and Social Structure in Bronze and Iron Age Semirech'ye, Kazakhstan,' supervised by Dr. K. Anne Pyburn
TEKLA MCCARTHY SCHMAUS, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Seasonal Mobility and Social Structure in Bronze and Iron Age Semirech'ye, Kazakhstan,' supervised by Dr. K. Anne Pyburn. The Bronze Age in central Eurasia is beginning to be understood as a time in which nomadic groups took part in complex social interactions, dictated in part by the seasonal locations of their settlements. In some parts of Semirech 'ye, Kazakhstan, the transition to the Iron Age was marked by increased reliance on agricultural goods and potentially by increased sedentism. It has been hypothesized that this change is related to the development of the hierarchical societies of the Saka and Wusun confederacies. Two settlements in the region, Begash and Tasbas, have continuous occupation histories throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. In-depth analysis of the faunal remains from these settlements will allow for a better understanding of people's mobility patterns and the way those patterns were related to changes in the broader social and political structure. In addition, the Iron Age settlement of Tuzusai provides additional information about the range of variation in Iron Age lifeways. Studying annular rings in tooth cementum from all three settlements gives precise information about the seasons in which specific settlements were occupied, which in turn will provide new data on nomadic practices in prehistory.
Arzhantseva, Dr. Irina A., Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow, Russia; and Karamanova, Dr. Minsara S., U. of Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan; - To aid research on 'The Origins Of Early Medieval Towns In North-Western Kazakhstan: The Case Of Dzhankent'
Preliminary abstract: This project aims to test hypotheses and provisional ideas about the origins of early medieval towns east of the Aral Sea by a program of archaeological fieldwork at Dzhankent (Kazakhstan). Key questions include the date of the earliest layers of the town, its lay-out, and the structure of its population. These questions will be tackled by targeted excavation within the town, non-destructive prospection of the entire town area and its immediate surroundings, and the excavation of barrows in the vicinity. The results are to be interpreted within the theoretical framework of Central Asian and Western European debates about urban origins and functions in early medieval state formation; these are so far unconnected debates for which this project would provide a first point of contact. The project will be conducted by a team of archaeologists from Kazakh, Russian, British and German institutions with complementary expertise and experience. Location, project design, and a training element involving undergraduate and Ph.D. students are also intended to support the development and institutional foundation of archaeology in western Kazakhstan.
Chauhan, Dr. Parth Randhir, Stone Age Institute, Gosport, IN - To aid 'Palaeoanthropological Surveys and GIS Mapping in the Narmada Basin, Central India'
DR. PARTH R. CHAUHAN, Stone Age Institute, Gosport, Indiana, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Palaeoanthropological Surveys and GIS Mapping in the Narmada Basin, Central India.' Due to future extensive submergence from large-dams in the Narmada Basin, the project's goal was to carry out a systematic survey for palaeoanthropological occurrences in stratified contexts and also create multi-layer Geographical Information System (GIS) maps of known and new find-spots, sites, and localities and associated stratigraphic sections in relation to geological formations of the valley. The field strategy involved locating, mapping and documenting as many sites as possible within an area of 60 sq-km, between the Tawa and Sher tributaries. Using multidisciplinary data, the research team constructed models of land-use patterns during the Paleolithic. For example, the Early Acheulean and Late Acheulean and Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic are geographically separate, despite shared raw material preference and locations (fine-grained Vindhyan quartzite). Additional work involved preliminary test-excavations or test-trenching at promising sites to understand the stratigraphic context of the associated material (i.e. lithics, fossils, geological features) and absolute dating possibilities. The most significant discoveries include: 1) high density of artifacts at Dhansi (the oldest-known site in the Basin and possibly in India); 2) Late Acheulean artifacts associated with an extensive paleochannel; 3) rare stratified Early Acheulean occurrences; 4) and the most complete Late Pleistocene elephant recovered in buried context.
Patnaik, Rajeev, Parth R. Chauhan, M.R. Rado, B.A.B. Blackwell, et al. 2009. New Geochronolgocal, Paleoclimatological, and Archaeological Data from the Narmada Valley Hominin Locality, Central India. Journal of Human Evolution 56(2): 114-133.
Golovanova, Dr. Liubov V., Laboratory of Prehistory, St. Petersburg, Russia - To aid engaged activities on 'Public Lectures about Environmental and Cultural Dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in Caucasus,' 2013, Russia
DR. LIUBOV V. GOLOVANOVA, Laboratory of Prehistory. St. Petersburg, Russia, was awarded an Engaged Anthropology Grant in August 2012 to aid 'Public Lectures about Environmental and Cultural Dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in Caucasus.' The project consisted of a series of public lectures to disseminate the results of Wenner-Gren funded research awarded in 2004, 2006, and 2011. Lecture topics included: 1.) Environmental and Cultural Dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Caucasus; 2.) Volcanism, the Neanderthal Disappearance, and the Spread of Early Modern Humans; 3.) Significance of Ecological Factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition; 4.) Cultural Innovations and Environmental Dynamics in the Upper Paleolithic of Caucasus; and 5.) Settlement Dynamics in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in the Northwestern Caucasus. The grantee visited several major universities, museums, and research institutions in the northwestern Caucasus to present these lectures to local academic scholars and faculties, both historians and archaeologists, and student communities to share the results of the last ten years of research in the region and also to report most recent information about the earliest stages of human evolution and culture development.
Losey, Dr. Robert Justin, U. of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada - To aid research on 'Animals among the Dead: Fauna in Middle Holocene Mortuary Contexts, Cis-Baikal, Siberia'
DR. ROBERT J. LOSEY, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, was awarded funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Animals among the Dead: Fauna in Middle Holocene Mortuary Contexts, Cis-Baikal, Siberia.' Animal remains from two 7-8000 year old cemeteries near Siberia's Lake Baikal were analyzed to gain understanding about human-animal relationships among a group of ancient foragers. While such groups used animals as sources of food and tools, they undoubtedly understood and interacted with animals in many other ways. Historically, some animals were seen to have certain special abilities, and humans could acquire these by wearing parts of the animals on their bodies. Further, some animals were known to be thoughtful and watchful beings with souls very much like those of humans. Such beliefs and practices likely have a long history. At one of the cemeteries studied, the heads of brown bears were placed in graves that were sequentially used otherwise for burying humans. The bear heads appear to have been treated like human bodies upon death, receiving mortuary rites of their own, including burial in graves. Numerous other animals often were found on human skeletal remains within graves and likely were worn by the deceased during burial, perhaps as a means of acquiring the animals' special abilities or effects. Other animal remains show unique patterning in their use, including being exclusive associated with human males or females.
Shen, Dr. Chen, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; and Dr. Xing Gao, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China - To aid collaborative research on 'Palaeonenvironment & Lithic Technology of the Early Pleistocene in the Nihewan Basin, Northern China'