Chronology of Post-Glacial settlement and Subsistence amongst Gobi Desert Hunter-Gatherers and their Role in the rise of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Northeast Asia.


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Dissertation Fellowships (North America)




Post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) Gobi Desert prehistoric archaeological assemblages are not well understood and there is currently no chronology for technological, economic, or sociocultural developments. As a result, despite knowledge of longstanding trade routes and multidirectional cultural interactions across the desert-steppe, the role Gobi Desert hunter-gatherers has long been neglected in studies of both the spread of agriculture across northern China and parts of Mongolia, and the widespread transition to nomadic pastoralism in the Bronze Age. The aim of this interdisciplinary research is to conduct basic chronometric dating and lithic analysis on existing museum assemblages from excavated and surface collected archaeological sites. Lithic analysis identifies variation in settlement strategies for each of two periods (Oasis 1: early to mid-Holocene and Oasis 2: end of Oasis 1 to the rise of nomadic pastoralism). Radiocarbon dating allows changes in land-use, inferred through lithic analysis, to be compared with relevant published local paleoenvironmental data and Neolithic developments in neighboring regions in order to create testable inferences about Neolithic processes in the Gobi Desert.