Rethinking Prehistoric Central Asia: Shepherds, Farmers, and Nomads, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rethinking Prehistoric Central Asia

Shepherds, Farmers, and Nomads, 1st Edition

By Claudia Chang


144 pages | 36 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138737082
pub: 2017-08-25
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315173696
pub: 2017-08-16
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The peoples of Inner Asia in the second half of the first millennium BC have long been considered to be nomads, engaging in warfare and conflict. This book, which presents the findings of new archaeological research in southeastern Kazakhstan, analyzes these findings to present important conclusions about the nature of Inner Asian society in this period. Pots, animal bones, ancient plant remains, and mudbricks are details from the material record proving that the ancient folk cultivated wheat, barley, and the two millets, and also husbanded sheep, goats, cattle, and horses. The picture presented is of societies which were more complex than heretofore understood: with an economic foundation based on both herding and farming, producing surplus agricultural goods which were exported, and with a hierarchical social structure, including elites and commoners, made cohesive by gift-giving, feasting, and tribute, rather than conflict and warfare. The book includes material on the impact of the first opening of the Silk Route by the Han emperors of China.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Natural and cultural landscapes of the Talgar alluvial fan: The natural landscape

3. Everyday lives in the Talgar settlements

4. Time, space, and demographic change in Talgar

5. Social organization in Talgar: Equality or hierarchy?

6. The place of the Talgar fan in the development of nomadic states and civilizations


About the Author

Claudia Chang is Professor of Anthropology at Sweet Briar College, USA.

About the Series

Asian States and Empires

The importance of Asia will continue to grow in the twenty-first century, but remarkably little is available in English on the history of the polities that constitute this critical area.  Most current work on Asia is hindered by the extremely limited state of knowledge of the Asian past in general, and the history of Asian states and empires in particular.  Asian States and Empires is a book series that will provide detailed accounts of the history of states and empires across Asia from earliest times until the present.  It aims to explain and describe the formation, maintenance and collapse of Asian states and empires, and the means by which this was accomplished, making available the history of more than half the world’s population at a level of detail comparable to the history of Western polities.  In so doing, it will demonstrate that Asian peoples and civilizations had their own histories apart from the West, and provide the basis for understanding contemporary Asia in terms of its actual histories, rather than broad generalizations informed by Western categories of knowledge.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General