Pastoralists were a vital economic and social force in ancient societies around the globe, transforming landscapes poorly suited for agriculture into spaces of vast productive potential while simultaneously connecting mobile and sedentary communities alike across considerable distances.
Drawing from the rich archaeological records of Asia, Africa, and Europe, Isotopic Investigations of Pastoralism in Prehistory brings together the latest studies employing heavy and light stable isotopic analyses of humans and animals to investigate pastoralist diets, movement, and animal management strategies. The contributions presented in this volume highlight new methodological developments while simultaneously drawing attention to the diverse environmental factors that contribute to isotopic variation in human, plant, and animal tissues. Particular attention is paid to how pastoralist decisions regarding animal pasturing and mobility can be teased out of complex isotopic datasets, and also to the challenges in extracting information on the scales of human mobility in pastoralist landscapes.
This volume will appeal to scholars in archaeology, anthropology, and ecology, as well as those with interests in animal management.
Table of Contents
Editors: Alicia R. Ventresca Miller and Cheryl Makarewicz; Chapter 1: Isotopic Approaches to Pastoralism in Prehistory: Diet, Mobility, and Isotopic Reference Sets; Chapter 2: Understanding ephemeral pastoralist settlement sites in eastern Africa: the potential of isotopes in cattle tooth enamel; Chapter 3: Investigating seasonal changes of cattle diet in terrestrial C3 biomes through the isotopic analysis of serially sampled tooth enamel; Chapter 4: Modeling modern surface water δ18O to explore prehistoric human mobility; Chapter 5: Modeling δ18O variation in seasonal montane environments: Implications for isolating vertical transhumance in ungulate enamel bioapatite; Chapter 6: The Pixelated Shepherd: Identifying detailed local land use practices at Chalcolithic Köşk Höyük, central Anatolia, using a strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) ‘isoscape’; Chapter 7: Tracing Late Bronze Age Pastoralists in the South Caucasus: A preliminary zooarchaeological and isotopic investigation from the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia; Chapter 8: Carbon and nitrogen isotopic evidence for sheep and goat pastoral management practices at Chalcolithic Köşk Höyük, Central Turkey; Chapter 9: Economic strategies at Bronze Age and Early Iron Age upland sites in the North Caucasus: Archaeological and stable isotope investigations; Chapter 10: Stable isotopes in pastoralist archaeology as indicators of diet, mobility and animal husbandry practices.
Alicia R. Ventresca Miller is a bioarchaeologist and stable isotope analyst at the Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel. Her research highlights connections between human societies and environments, with an emphasis on food consumption and production, tracking human mobility, and investigating livestock circulation and movement across the grasslands of Eurasia.
Cheryl A. Makarewicz is a Professor of Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry and Zooarchaeology at the Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel. Her research examines animal domestication processes in the Near East, the spread of pastoralism across Eurasia, and the role of the human-animal relationship in structuring sociopolitical interactions in pastoralist societies.
Fourth in the ‘Themes in Contemporary Archaeology’ series produced by the European Association of Archaeologists, it is a solid contribution to the bookshelves of anyone interested in learning more about ways of reconstructing past seasonal mobility.
Throughout each of the 10 chapters, multi-scalar approaches are employed to address a diverse range of research questions. It is a well-balanced volume, with some chapters more extensively reviewing relevant literature, model-building using modern data or presenting archaeological case studies. It should prove a useful reference volume for the libraries of those working in related research areas. The book itself is of high-quality production, with clear figures and comprehensive bibliographies.
-Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch, University of Georgia, USA