Onsuwan, Chureekamol, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Metal Age Complexity in Thailand: Socio-Political Development and Landscape Use in the Upper Chaophraya Basin,' supervised by Dr. Joyce C. White
CHUREEKAMOL ONSUWAN, while a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in December 2001 to aid research on Metal Age sociopolitical development and landscape use in the upper Chao Phraya basin, Thailand, under the supervision of Dr. Joyce C. White. Onsuwan's overall goal was to test a heterarchy framework, as opposed to a hierarchical model, to account for variability in complex societies in Thailand during its Metal Age (ca. 2000 B.C.E.-500 C.E.). An intensive survey was conducted of about fifty-five square kilometers on the eastern side of the upper Chao Phraya River, a region important for understanding the long-term habitation of central Thailand. The region extends from the river's alluvial plain across its middle terrace to its high terrace. Data were collected on the distribution of settlements, the attributes of each site, and environmental variation. Preliminary evaluation showed variation in site sizes across the three environmental zones during the Metal Age, with a large density of Bronze Age communities situated on the high terrace and smaller Iron Age communities in the lowlands. Ceramic analysis showed that the Metal Age communities shared some ceramic patterns along with using their own local designs. Additional analysis was planned in order to determine the relationship between environmental and ceramic variation.
Wang, Yiru, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'The Origins of Sheep and Goats Domestication in Western China,' supervised by Dr. Graeme Barker
Preliminary abstract: The origin of Chinese domestic sheep and goats has long been an issue needs to be clarified. Since abundant Caprine remains do not appear in China until 4,000 B.P., and the earliest domestic sheep/goat in the world was from West Asia in around 10,000 B.P., it was assumed that sheep and goats were not originally domesticated in China, but came from the west as domestic animals. Considering the modern domestic Tibetan type sheep in western China are those most suitable for the local environment, similar to the local argali sheep, and mtDNA analysis suggest Chinese domestic sheep have a native inherence and likely to have a geographic independent domestication, my hypothesis is that the origins of caprine domestication in China may not be simply a spreading event, but have incorporated the local wild sheep during the process. It may represent a complex continuum of interactions between different populations and animals in the unique ecological and social context of western China. The current zooarchaeological research in China has basic problem in taxa identification and recognizing domestication. Several closely related Caprinae species with overlaping distributions cannot be separated based on the available expertise. I propose to have a detailed and systematic osteomorphology and osteometric study for the Caprinaes species distribute in western China and the different Ovis species distribute in Eurasia based on modern samples. Together with traditional zooarchaeological methods and with a focus of morphmetric study, a research on the first hand archaeological materials from 4 sites ranging 1,0000-3,5000 BP in Qinghai and Gansu province would shed lights on the nature of the caprine domestication in western China.
Cleghorn, Dr. Naomi Elancia, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Upper Paleolithic Fauna of Mezmaiskaya (Russia): Implications for Human Behavior and Ecology'
DR. NAOMI E. CLEGHORN, University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'The Upper Paleolithic Fauna of Mexmaiskaya (Russia): Implications for Human Behavior and Ecology.' This project investigated the ecology of Late and Terminal Pleistocene hominins in the Northwestern Caucasus Mountains using faunal remains recently excavated at Mezmaiskaya Cave. This locality is unique within the region in preserving a comprehensively dated stratigraphic sequence from the Middle Paleolithic, through the Late Upper Paleolithic, to the Epipaleolithic. It thus provides a critical perspective on the changing ecological parameters, as well as subsistence and social strategies of Late Neanderthals and Modern Humans at the boundary between the temperate Near East and the unstable glacial climate of Eastern Europe. The new analysis of the Upper and Epipaleolithic fauna from Mezmaiskaya is being used to address four significant questions: 1) Is there evidence for faunal resource intensification across the MP to UP boundary or later? 2) Is there evidence for intensification of site use over this period? 3) Is there a relationship between these variables and local environmental variation? and 4) What are the implications of the richer-than-expected bone industry for human social networks and technological adaptations in the Caucasus? In addition, the new analysis allows the development of a broader inter-regional comparison across the Caucasus with comparably dated sites in Georgia, particularly Ortvale Klde and Dzudzuana.
Honeychurch, Dr. William, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and Amartuvshin, Chunag, Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - To aid collaborative research on early Iron age political transition, Middle Gobi, Mongolia, 2004
DR. WILLIAM HONEYCHURCH, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and DR. CHUNAG AMARTUVSHIN, of the Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in May 2004 to aid collaborative research on the early Iron Age political transition in the middle Gobi Desert of Mongolia. The emergence on the Inner Asian steppe of regional confederacies of pastoral nomads figured prominently in the early historical records of China and other Old World states. Current hypotheses differ about whether such polities arose as the result of indigenous political processes or from the influence of sedentary neighbors. Models illustrating these hypotheses are often based on historical sources and are rarely designed for testing against archaeological evidence. The Baga Gazaryn Chuluu survey was designed to test ideas for early political development on the steppe using regional survey data and excavation. The project was set in a marginal frontier area with characteristics suitable for the study of both internal and external economic and political processes. The second season of research, July through August 2004, resulted in the survey of approximately 103 square kilometers. More than 500 archaeological sites were discovered, ranging from the Paleolithic to the early twentieth century and including settlements, tombs, and petroglyphs. Sites dating to the early first millennium b.c.e. and to the period of the emerging Xiongnu steppe polity (ca. 200 b.c.e.) provided evidence that competition between Early Iron Age centers, networks of exchange extending as far as Inner Mongolia, and patterns of differential political sustainability were important in the rise of the first regionally organized, complex polity on the northeastern Asian steppe.
Zhang, Dr. Liangren, Nanjiig U., Nanjing, P.R. of China; and Pernicka, Dr. Ernst, U. Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany - To aid collaborative research on 'Prehistoric Metallurgy of Eastern Xinjiang'
Preliminary abstract: The project aims to explore into the early development of metallurgy in Eastern Xinjiang using metal artifacts uncovered from several Bronze Age and Early Iron Age cemeteries. Because of political and language barriers, this body of materials has been under-studied in international scholarship. The project will first deal with the origin of metallurgical knowledge in Eastern Xinjiang in the broad context of technological transmission and population migration across the Western Hexi Corrdor, the Mongolian Plateau, and the Minusinsk Basin. More importantly, it will combine the research resources of both China and Germany to investigate the production and trade of metal artifacts of Eastern Xinjiang. The existing morphological and compositional data indicate that at least a part of them were produced locally, but whether metal minerals, especially the tin, the deposit of which is canty over the globe, were acquired from local or external sources remain an unsolved questions. The project will survey mineral mines in Eastern Xinjiang and the adjacent Hexi Corridor, acquire samples for trace elements and isotopic analyses, compare the resulting data with those of samples of metal artifacts from Eastern Xinjiang to determine if the local sources were exploited; moreover, it will compare them with the existing data of the nearest known tin sources of Central Asia, including Eastern Kazakhstan and the Upper Zeravshan valley to see if the tin mineral from them was traded to Eastern Xinjiang. It will eventually employ the dataset to elucidate the pattern of local populations interacting with their comtemporaneous counterparts in the surrounding regions, and bear upon the concept of 'negotiated periphery.'
d'Alpoim Guedes, Jade Aziz, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Adaptation and Invention during the Spread and Intensification of Agriculture in the Chengdu Plain,' supervised by Dr. Rowan K. Flad
JADE AZIZ D'ALPOIM GUEDES, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Adaptation and Invention during the Spread and Intensification of Agriculture in the Chendu Plain,' supervise3d by Dr. Rowan K. Flad. In order to examine the relationship between changes in agricultural management regimes and the development of complex society, the grantee carried out fieldwork in the Chengdu Plain, Sichuan Province, P.RC.. During this fieldwork, macro botanical remains and samples for ancient starch were collected to document change in agricultural strategies from the earliest implantation of settlers in the area until the complex societies of the Bronze Age. Analysis of samples show that a change in subsistence from the low investment crop of broomcorn millet to labor intensive rice agriculture occurred between the first colonization of the area and the late Neolithic Baodun period. This change in subsistence is associated with other developments which indicate that people were able to harness larger labor forces, such as the construction of large walls surrounding settlements. The development of social complexity appears to be accompanied by restructuring in labor investments at the agricultural base and is closely linked to the development of rice agriculture in this region. Analysis of samples from the Bronze Age is currently underway and these samples will be analyzed using crop processing models to document how labor organization was restructured during this period.
d'Alpoim Guedes, Jade, Ming Jiang, Kunyu He, Xiohong Wu, and Zhanghua Jiang. 2013. Site of Baodun Yields Earliest Evidence for the Spread of Rice and Foxtail Millet Agriculture to South-west China. Antiquity 87(377):751-771.
d'Alpoim Guedes, Jade. 2011. Millets, Rice, Social Complexity, and the Spread of Agriculture to the Chengdu Plain and Southwest China. Rice 4:104-113.