Department of Anthropology

Lisa Janz: “Expanding Frontier and Building the Sphere in Arid East Asia”

Mon, April 24, 2017 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM - 1:30 AM

Javkhlant Carnelian
Javkhlant Carnelian

During the early and middle Holocene the deserts of Mongolia and northern China were characterized by arid grasslands and numerous lakes and wetlands.  Specialized wetland exploitation defines land-use during this period, but more detailed data on subsistence is not clear.  The prevalent use of microlithic technology and the lack of architectural structures underscores the presumption that these groups were highly mobile hunter-gatherers as late as 1000 BC.  However, increasing evidence reveals that pastoralism spread widely across the steppes of Northeast Asia during the second millennium BC and indeed “hunter-gatherer” sites are impregnated with the debitage of Bronze Age materialism and ritual culture.  Here I examine Holocene climatic amelioration, the rise of wetland-based foraging, and present evidence to suggest that desert groups, though largely discounted from formal interpretations of the East Asian interaction sphere, became highly influential and played a substantial role in the spread of pastoralist technologies – such as herding and bronze – into and across China. 

 Lisa Janz, Ph.D., is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Trent University

Sponsored by: College of Liberal Arts

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