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  1. null (Ed.)
    The Afanasievo world reportedly overlaps the borders of five nations including two countries of East Asia: Mongolia and China. Across these several regions, the first appearance of domestic herd animals (sheep, goat, cattle) and the initial practice of copper and bronze metallurgy are associated with Afanasievo communities. Since mobile pastoralism has long been a significant part of the Mongolian cultural tradition the question of when, where, and how Afanasievo groups entered Mongolia is of extreme interest to archaeologists. Over the past 50 years several important sites have been reported and analyzed but these are still little known among Western scholars. In this study we provide a brief overview of Afanasievo archaeology, its peripheries, and its recent analytical breakthroughs and then develop a unique perspective on the Afanasievo world from its farthest eastern edge in central Mongolia. We assess the different roles of migration and diffusion in the process of herd animal introduction and present two current hypotheses explaining the intensification of pastoralism in this region during the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. We argue that the impact of Afanasievo entry into East Asia was a transformative process but must be understood in the context of significant innovations mademore »by East Asian indigenous communities, eventually leading to a unique form of eastern steppe pastoralism in Mongolia.« less
  2. ABSTRACT Cast iron objects recovered primarily in eastern Mongolia, spanning the Xiongnu through the Early Historic periods (ca. 3rd BC–AD 17th century), were examined for their radiocarbon ( 14 C) concentration and microstructure. Most of the samples examined were found to have originated from charcoal-based smelting with a few exceptions that were made using a mineral coal-based technique. A comparison of 14 C dates with dates derived from artifact typology allowed the charcoal-smelted objects to be classified into two groups, based on whether the radiometric and typological periodization are in agreement or not. In addition, those with differing 14 C and typological dates can be divided into two subgroups with and without evidence for a melt treatment applied after original casting. These conflicting dating results are confusing and would seem to provoke skepticism about the use of 14 C measurements for dating iron artifacts. We demonstrate however that 14 C analysis, when combined with metallographic examination and other lines of chronological evidence, can clarify the history of a given iron object and its multiple users, often separated in time by more than a millennium.
  3. Studies of the Eurasian Bronze Age have tended to emphasise the homogeneity of social and political processes across the Steppe, evidenced by a common ‘package’ of practices and material culture. The Dornod Mongol Survey examines the major stone monumental forms and associated features of the Ulaanzuukh mortuary tradition of the Gobi region of Mongolia. Combining evidence for mortuary and ritual practices, ceramic traditions and new radiocarbon dates, the authors argue that the appearance of the earliest Bronze Age cultures in this region represents a disparate collection of local, regional and inter-regional expressions that challenge the established narrative of a ‘standard’ Eurasian Bronze Age.