Human-Environment Interactions: The Role of Foragers in the Development of Mobile Pastoralism in Mongolia's Desert-Steppe.


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation investigates the role of hunter-gatherers in the development of mobile pastoralism in the desert-steppe region of Mongolia, ca. 4500-3500 BP. The study focuses on patterns of mobility across this economic and social transition to understand how hunters and herders distributed themselves within habitats, identifying changes in how, when, and why people moved. Mobility is indeed critical to both foraging and herding modes of production; it provides not only important insight to how settlement strategies changed with the addition of domestic animals, but also contextualizes other aspects of social life including patterns of social interaction, hierarchy, and differential access to material wealth, prestige, production, and ritual. Tracking these trends over time allows us to address broader questions that seek to understand how, where, and why mobile pastoralism developed.