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Variability in seasonal mobility patterns in Bronze and Iron Age Kazakhstan through cementum analysis
- Schmaus, Tekla M., Doumani Dupuy, Paula N., Frachetti, Michael D.
- Quaternary international 2019
- goats, migratory behavior, models, pastoralism, social structure, summer, teeth, winter, Eurasia, Kazakhstan
- Understanding seasonal mobility patterns in prehistoric pastoral groups is essential to understanding regional dynamics. In this paper, we present data on the seasonality of site use in southeast Kazakhstan during the Bronze and Iron Ages. The data for this study come from the settlements of Begash and Tasbas. Begash has previously been described as a winter settlement, while Tasbas provides evidence for agricultural production and was initially considered a summer settlement. We performed analysis of cementum annulations on 49 caprine teeth from Begash and 29 caprine teeth from Tasbas. We demonstrate that occupation at Begash was not strictly limited to winter, and that occupation at Tasbas was year-round. These results demonstrate more variation in seasonal occupation patterns than was previously expected, which indicates more complexity in mobility patterns as well. Introducing additional variation and complexity in seasonal movement means that we will need to revise our models of mobile pastoral economies in the Bronze and Iron Ages. The results of this study lead to questions about what factors influenced movement, and how variability in mobility patterns affected larger social structures and interactions between populations in Central Eurasia in prehistory.