The Agro-pastoralism debate in Central Eurasia: Arguments in favor of a nuanced perspective on socio-economy in archaeological context

Paula Dupuy, Lynne Rouse, Elizabeth Baker Brite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In central Eurasian archaeology, Soviet- and post-Soviet investigations and more recent biologically-focused analyses are often subtly presented as two extremes of archaeological synthesis, although both bodies of research complement one another and wrestle with similar questions about the human past. Through three case studies that marry 20th and 21st century research, we examine the archaeological context(s) of agro-pastoralism as one inroad to broader questions about past socio-economies. We argue that the archaeology of Bronze and Iron Age central Eurasia has reached an inflection point, in which the sum total of existing data allows us to move beyond identifications of what, where, and when, to the deeper anthropologically-oriented questions of who?, how?, and why? We draw from contemporary debates around the recognition and nature of agro-pastoralism in pre- and proto-historic central Eurasia to illustrate some specific cases where integrated research might more deeply probe the links between archaeological methods and interpretation. Flowing from this, we see opportunities to expand a self-reflective discussion about the process of archaeological inquiry and knowledge reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume67
Issue number101438
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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