But is the polarization of settled and nomadic groups helpful to our understanding of history, and the impact of that history on the modern world? The most recent academic research indicates the differences between settled and nomadic groups are not as clear-cut as historical texts might have us believe.
We now know that nomads, rather than being a destabilizing force, actually helped establish the inter-regional connections and circulate the great variety of goods and ideas that became so vividly manifested in the Silk Roads.
The archaeological research funded by this NSF grant, in particular, shows that more than 3, years ago settled and nomadic groups were mutually influencing one another in this key geographic zone. The Murghab region of modern Turkmenistan is home to some of the most ancient cities in Central Asia, which during the Bronze Age ca. These cities also had immediate local contact with a different cultural group, whose primary food resource was the flocks of sheep and goat they herded in regular cycles without the aid of horses, which at this time period were not commonly used in Central Asia.
These mobile pastoralists or nomads not only borrowed technologies from their urban farming neighbors, but also brought innovations into the region, which we can now identify based on direct archaeological evidence. Archaeological excavation at the mobile pastoralist campsite of Ojakly, funded in part by the NSF and partnering American, Italian, and Turkmen researchers, produced results that are the first of their kind for research on the settled-mobile interactions of the Bronze Age Murghab.
Dated to around BC, Ojakly is the earliest, largest, and most complex campsite currently known in the Murghab. The site was organized into discreet living and working zones, and in living areas different spaces were designated for temporary post-framed constructions, food preparation, and refuse dumping. The site was re-occupied several times, since different layers of post-holes and associated hearths could be identified, but each set of inhabitants kept the same spatial arrangement at the site.
From the animal bone and plant remains, we know the inhabitants of Ojakly were dedicated sheep and goat herders, and that unlike their farming neighbors, did not incorporate a significant amount of grain, fruit, or cattle into their diet. Pottery at Ojakly was handmade using stacked coils, decorated with geometric designs, and fired in shallow pits, practices that kept it visually and technologically distinct from the pottery of neighboring farmers, even though both groups used the same clay resources.
Interestingly, the only imported vessels at Ojakly were a specific type of tall drinking cup common in farming settlements. Based on the data from Ojakly, we recognize that mobile pastoralists in the Bronze Age Murghab distinguished themselves from their sedentary farming neighbors not only through food production strategies, but also through visual cues such as pottery that marked their community or possibly cultural identity. Just as important, the conscious choices related to imported pottery and adaptation of ceramic production techniques at Ojakly indicate that the engagements of mobile pastoralists were careful social negotiations, not the wholesale trading or raiding expeditions widely accepted as the default pattern for mobile-sedentary interactions.
Archaeology is in a unique position to inform us about the everyday practices of real people. In the case of ancient Central Asia, it tells us early sedentary-mobile interactions sparked lasting changes in both communities. Moreover, we see that the line between sedentary and mobile communities is not so simply drawn, since production, technology, and social choices can overlap. Interactions between "tribal nomads" and "civilized states" — either in the past or in modern manifestations — are not reducible to idealized black-and-white roles; all relationships are socially navigated, and every encounter shapes history.
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Archaeology and Archaeometry. CONTACTS; Name Email Phone In accordance with the National Science Foundation’s mission such research has the potential to provide fundamental scientific insight. please visit the Archaeology Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Awards program web site. RELATED PROGRAMS. High-Risk .
The only change in this new solicitation concerns the number of permissible student proposal submissions that are allowed. The previous Archaeology Program Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Awards (Arch-DDRI) solicitation (NSF) had the following information in the Eligibility.
NSF's mission is to advance the progress of science, a mission accomplished by funding proposals for research and education made by scientists, engineers, and educators from across the country. Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences Biological Anthropology Program - Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (BA-DDRIG).
Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences Cultural Anthropology Program - Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (CA-DDRIG). The Archaeology Program administers a competition which provides awards to graduate students (of any nationality) enrolled in a Ph.D. program in a US university for the purpose of conducting doctoral dissertation research.