Economic Diversification Supported the Growth of Mongolia's Nomadic Empires


WILKIN Shevan MILLER Alicia Ventresca MILLER Bryan K. SPENGLER Robert N. TAYLOR William T. T. NEVES FERNANDES Luis Ricardo HAGAN Richard W. BLEASDALE Madeleine ZECH Jana ULZIIBAYAR S. MYAGMAR Erdene BOIVIN Nicole ROBERTS Patrick

Rok publikování 2020
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Scientific Reports
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

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Klíčová slova Archaeology; Population dynamics; Stable isotope analysis
Popis Populations in Mongolia from the late second millennium B.C.E. through the Mongol Empire are traditionally assumed, by archaeologists and historians, to have maintained a highly specialized horse-facilitated form of mobile pastoralism. Until recently, a dearth of direct evidence for prehistoric human diet and subsistence economies in Mongolia has rendered systematic testing of this view impossible. Here, we present stable carbon and nitrogen isotope measurements of human bone collagen, and stable carbon isotope analysis of human enamel bioapatite, from 137 well-dated ancient Mongolian individuals spanning the period c. 4400 B.C.E. to 1300C.E. Our results demonstrate an increase in consumption of C-4 plants beginning at c. 800 B.C.E., almost certainly indicative of millet consumption, an interpretation supported by archaeological evidence. The escalating scale of millet consumption on the eastern Eurasian steppe over time, and an expansion of isotopic niche widths, indicate that historic Mongolian empires were supported by a diversification of economic strategies rather than uniform, specialized pastoralism.

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