Investigating reindeer pastoralism and exploitation of high mountain zones in northern Mongolia through ice patch archaeology

Autoři: William Taylor aff001;  Julia K. Clark aff003;  Björn Reichhardt aff005;  Gregory W. L. Hodgins aff007;  Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan aff008;  Oyundelger Batchuluun aff008;  Jocelyn Whitworth aff009;  Myagmar Nansalmaa aff010;  Craig M. Lee aff011;  E. James Dixon aff012
Působiště autorů: Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany aff001;  Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America aff002;  Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia aff003;  NOMAD Science, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia aff004;  Central Asian Seminar, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany aff005;  Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany aff006;  Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States of America aff007;  National Museum of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia aff008;  Clearview Animal Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States of America aff009;  Unit of Diagnosis and Surveillance for Infectious and Parasitic Disease, State Central Veterinary Laboratory, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia aff010;  Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America aff011;  Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America aff012
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224741


In interior Eurasia, high mountain zones are crucial to pastoral subsistence, providing seasonally productive pastures and abundant wild resources. In some areas of northern Mongolia, mountainous tundra zones also support a low-latitude population of domestic reindeer herders–a lifestyle whose origins are poorly characterized in the archaeological record of early Mongolia. Traditionally, reindeer pastoralists make significant seasonal use of munkh mus (eternal ice) for their domestic herds, using these features to cool heat-stressed animals and provide respite from insect harassment. In recent years, many of these features have begun to melt entirely for the first time, producing urgent threats to traditional management techniques, the viability of summer pastures, and reindeer health. The melting ice is also exposing fragile organic archaeological materials that had previously been contained in the patch. We present the results of horseback survey of ice patches in Baruun Taiga special protected area, providing the first archaeological insights from the region. Results reveal new evidence of historic tool production and wild resource use for fishing or other activities, and indicate that ice patches are likely to contain one of the few material records of premodern domestic reindeer use in Mongolia and lower Central Asia. The area’s ancient ice appears to be rapidly melting due to changing climate and warming summer temperatures, putting both cultural heritage and traditional reindeer herding at extreme risk in the years to come.

Klíčová slova:

Archaeology – Climate change – Domestic animals – Melting – Mongolia – Reindeer – Summer – Paleoclimatology


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11