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Jeitun: Recent Excavations at an Early Neolithic Site in Southern Turkmenistan

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Abstract

Excavations at the Neolithic site of Jeitun in Turkmenistan, Central Asia, were carried out by a British team between 1991 and 1994 as part of a collaborative project with Soviet and Turkmenian archaeologists. Jeitun was first systematically excavated in the 1950s by Professor V.M. Masson and was shown to be a small settlement of mudbrick houses and ancillary buildings together with yard layers. Our recent excavations have attempted to refine knowledge of the site's stratigraphy and architecture by using fine-grained excavation and recovery techniques and by sampling systematically for sediments, plant and animal remains, and artefacts. We have also obtained the first suite of radiocarbon dates from the site which shows that it was first occupied at c. 6000 cal. BC and may only have remained in use for a few centuries. The excavations have uncovered the lowest architectural phases at Jeitun, as demonstrated by detailed examination of two houses at the northern end of the site. Both houses have a complex history of use, with well laid gypsum floors and intervening layers of sand and mudbrick destruction. Such complexity may indicate that the site was not occupied permanently, although year-round occupation is, on present evidence, equally likely. We tentatively define three phases in the occupation of the site, from ephemeral use in the lowest layers to complex and intensive occupation in the uppermost parts. These phases cannot be separated by the 11 radiocarbon dates obtained, which appear to suggest that activity at the site increased relatively rapidly over a short period of time. Further excavation and analysis is needed to refine and strengthen our conclusions.

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... Par ailleurs, l'industrie osseuse, rare au Mésolithique (5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 16) offre seule une importante diversité de types en Sibérie (« pointe, sagaïe, harpon, aiguille, alêne, poinçon, hameçon»... Potemkina 1981, Korobkôva 1996 ou Culture d' Atbasar par Z. F. Zajbert1 7. Culture de Karasor (Medoev 1982) &. Culture d' Usf-Narym (Oklaanikov 1956, Korobkôva 1969, Chemikov-1970 Culture de Kel' teminar (Vinogradov 1981, Korobkôva 1996) 9. Culture de Machaj (hiamov 1988, Korobkôva 1988, 1996 (Ranov 1984, Ranov, Zhukov etjusupo-1988, Jusupov 1975, Jusupov et Fili, Culture de Kel' teminar (Ranov et Jurkevich 1973, Ranov et Vinogradov 1985 La .néolithisation en Asie centrale : un état de la question 37 ...
... 19631988;Korobkova. 1969;1996: Korobkova et Masson, 1978: Kholmatov. 1991: Formozov. ...
... Kholmatov, 1991: Islamov. 1988Korobkova, 1985;1988;1996;BizHANOv. 1982;Alpysbaev. ...
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Le Neolithique de type agricole de Dzhejtun (Turkmenistan meridional) caracterise souvent dans la litterature la neolithisation en Asie centrale ; or, la litterature scientifique russe montre qu'une mosaique de cultures micro-regionales, partageant un grand nombre de traits techniques et economiques au Mesolithique et au Neolithique, ont ete distinguees au coeur des regions steppiques et semi-desertiques de ce territoire. Ces cultures, dites « archaiques » car fondees sur la chasse et la cueillette, posent le probleme de leur integration au sein d'un ou plusieurs processus de neolithisation ; dans cette perspective, de nouvelles observations, pour une premiere recomposition culturelle, sont presentees.
... Archaeological remains (Masson and Sarianidi 1972; Dani and Masson 1992; Brunet 1999) suggest that Neanderthals inhabited the region (Teshik-Tash, Uzbekistan) and also show that anatomically modern humans have been present since at least the Upper Palaeolithic (> 15 ky BP). Although local climatic conditions may have frequently been unfavourable during the Neolithic (Dirksen and van Geel 2004), agriculture has been present since around 8 ky BP (Djeitun, Turkmenistan) (Dani and Masson 1992; Harris et al. 1996) and has dispersed during the Bronze Age (5-4 ky BP), in coexistence with hunter-gatherer communities. The origins of many of the first domesticated animals and plants likely lie in Southwestern Asia, and hence perhaps these farmers also came from that area (Harris et al. 1996; Harris 1997; Brunet 1999). ...
... Although local climatic conditions may have frequently been unfavourable during the Neolithic (Dirksen and van Geel 2004), agriculture has been present since around 8 ky BP (Djeitun, Turkmenistan) (Dani and Masson 1992; Harris et al. 1996) and has dispersed during the Bronze Age (5-4 ky BP), in coexistence with hunter-gatherer communities. The origins of many of the first domesticated animals and plants likely lie in Southwestern Asia, and hence perhaps these farmers also came from that area (Harris et al. 1996; Harris 1997; Brunet 1999). The pastoral nomadic lifestyle, linked to the domestication of horses (Warmuth et al. 2012), emerged in Central Asia around 5 ky BP, and gained importance during the late Bronze Age (2 nd millennium BC). ...
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The demographic history of modern humans constitutes a combination of expansions, colonisations, contractions and remigrations. The advent of large scale genetic data combined with statistically refined methods facilitates inference of this complex history. Here we study the demographic history of two genetically admixed ethnic groups in Central Asia, an area characterized by high levels of genetic diversity and a history of recurrent immigration. Using Approximate Bayesian Computation, we infer that the timing of admixture markedly differs between the two groups. Admixture in the traditionally agricultural Tajik could be dated back to the onset of the Neolithic transition in the region, whereas admixture in Kyrgyz is more recent, and may have involved the westward movement of Turkic peoples. These results are confirmed by a coalescent method that fits an isolation-with-migration model to the genetic data, with both Central Asian groups having received gene flow from the extremities of Eurasia. Interestingly, our analyses also uncover signatures of gene flow from Eastern to Western Eurasia during Palaeolithic times. In conclusion, the high genetic diversity currently observed in these two Central Asian peoples most likely reflects the effects of recurrent immigration that likely started before historical times. Conversely, conquests during historical times may have had a relatively limited genetic impact. These results emphasize the need for a better understanding of the genetic consequences of transmission of culture and technological innovations, as well as those of invasions and conquests. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
... However, there are some notable past exceptions that have included Bronze Age macrobotanical studies. These include Anau South (Harrison 1995; Miller 2003), Jeitun (Harris 2010; Harris et al. 1993 Harris et al. , 1996 Harris and Gosden 1996), Anau North (Miller 2003) and Gonur-Depe (Moore et al. 1994; Miller 1999) in Turkmenistan, also Shortughai (Willcox 1991) in Afghanistan, Sarazm (Spengler and Willcox 2013) in Tajikistan and Begash (Frachetti et al. 2010; Spengler et al. 2013a, b) in Kazakhstan (Table 1). The palaeoethnobotanical study presented here not only adds new macrobotanical data to the field, but also addresses the question of agricultural goods as components in the pastoral economy. ...
... However, there are some notable past exceptions that have included Bronze Age macrobotanical studies. These include Anau South (Harrison 1995; Miller 2003), Jeitun (Harris 2010; Harris et al. 1993 Harris et al. , 1996 Harris and Gosden 1996), Anau North (Miller 2003) and Gonur-Depe (Moore et al. 1994; Miller 1999) in Turkmenistan, also Shortughai (Willcox 1991) in Afghanistan, Sarazm (Spengler and Willcox 2013) in Tajikistan and Begash (Frachetti et al. 2010; Spengler et al. 2013a, b) in Kazakhstan (Table 1). The palaeoethnobotanical study presented here not only adds new macrobotanical data to the field, but also addresses the question of agricultural goods as components in the pastoral economy. ...
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Archaeological investigations of pastoral economies often emphasize exchange relations with agricultural populations, though for Bronze Age Eurasia the notion of a ubiquitous ‘pastoral realm’ has masked various forms of mixed subsistence economies. In Central Asia, there are few attempts to specifically identify the domestic crops utilized by mobile pastoralists or what they may suggest about the role of agriculture in mobile pastoral production or subsistence strategies. This study reports the macrobotanical remains from two Late/Final Bronze Age (ca. 1950–1300 bc) mobile pastoralist habitation sites in the Murghab alluvial fan region of southern Turkmenistan. We compare our results with published macrobotanical data from contemporary agricultural settlements in the Murghab region, as well as with other sites in broader prehistoric Eurasia. We find that mobile pastoralists in the Murghab utilized some of the same domestic crops as their sedentary neighbors. While the data presented here do not preclude the possibility that mobile pastoralists may have practiced some low-investment cultivation (particularly of millet), we hypothesize an economic model that places mobile pastoralists in direct contact with nearby sedentary farming communities through exchange for pre-processed grains. These results highlight one of the possible strategies of mobile pastoral subsistence in Central Asia, and are a further step toward identifying the various degrees of agricultural involvement in the conceptually outdated pastoral realm of Eurasia.
... These realizations, combined with the traits that we just discussed, seems to suggest that there is variation in the archaeological specimens that we present here, with some having more wild affinities and others representing more derived forms. In Transoxiana, wild grape relatives may have been present across western Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea region in the past, but as of yet no grape seeds have been recovered from early archaeological village sites, such as Jeitun 53,54 , and they continue to remain absent in assemblages dating through the occupation at Sarazm (5500 cal. BP) 11,16,26 . ...
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The region of Transoxiana underwent an early agricultural-demographic transition leading to the earliest proto-urban centers in Central Asia. The agronomic details of this cultural shift are still poorly studied, especially regarding the role that long-generation perennials, such as grapes, played in the cultivation system. In this paper, we present directly dated remains of grape pips from the early urban centers of Sapalli and Djarkutan, in south Uzbekistan. We also present linear morphometric data, which illustrate a considerable range of variation under cultivation that we divide into four distinct morphotypes according to pip shape. While some of the pips in these two assemblages morphologically fall within the range of wild forms, others more closely resemble modern domesticated populations. Most of the specimens measure along a gradient between the two poles, showing a mixed combination of domesticated and wild features. We also point out that the seeds recovered from the Djarkutan temple were, on average, larger and contained more affinity towards domesticated forms than those from domestic contexts. The potential preference of morphotypes seems to suggest that there were recognized different varieties that local cultivators might aware and possibly propagating asexually.
... Central Asia's geography of deserts, inland deltas, steppes, and high mountain ranges has influenced the evolution of domestic economies and interaction for millennia. The first Neolithic farming societies in the region exploited low plains and foothills of the Kopet Dag mountains 10 , with limited expansions northward before the 3rd millennium bc. The extreme aridity of the Kyzylkum and Karakum deserts restricted ancient agriculturalists to riverways and deltas, eventually channelling the spread of domestic crops (and animals) northward along the rain-fed piedmont of the inner Asian mountains, roughly 5,000 years ago 11,12 . ...
Article
There are many unanswered questions about the evolution of the ancient ‘Silk Roads’ across Asia. This is especially the case in their mountainous stretches, where harsh terrain is seen as an impediment to travel. Considering the ecology and mobility of inner Asian mountain pastoralists, we use ‘flow accumulation’ modelling to calculate the annual routes of nomadic societies (from 750 m to 4,000 m elevation). Aggregating 500 iterations of the model reveals a high-resolution flow network that simulates how centuries of seasonal nomadic herding could shape discrete routes of connectivity across the mountains of Asia. We then compare the locations of known high-elevation Silk Road sites with the geography of these optimized herding flows, and find a significant correspondence in mountainous regions. Thus, we argue that highland Silk Road networks (from 750 m to 4,000 m) emerged slowly in relation to long-established mobility patterns of nomadic herders in the mountains of inner Asia.
... The recent remarkable excavations at the ancient river settle- ments north of the Kopet Mountains in Turkmenistan and the so-called Margiana not only revealed an advanced civilization in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages ( Harris et al., 1996;Sarianidi, 1994Sarianidi, , 1995, but also helped to answer the question of who these Sumerians were? The first ever agricultural Neolithic settlements in the Murgab River delta of Türkmenistan ap- peared as early as the 7th millennium BC. ...
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ABSTRACT Who were the Sumerians? Where did they originate? For those who are not familiar with this remarkable, resourceful and intelligent people, who not only invented writing but also established the true mythological foundations of all main religions of the world, simply put, they taught us almost everything. Four different points regarding the current known archeological evidence are evaluated separately, and the Sumerians’ unique and strongly sacred mythological beliefs related to the lapis lazuli stone and the myth’s origin are analyzed. The uniqueness of the lapis mine location in the Hindu Kush Mountains and the unique (fingerprint) trace element and other physical characteristics of this metamorphic sacred blue stone of the Sumerians are the primary points of focus. The only possible and provable location of their original homeland, “based on the analysis” is; between the Caspian Sea and the Hindu Kush and Kopet Mountains, which is in Turkmenistan. This analysis and conclusion are based on “multiple independent factors”: current archeological excavations, the uniqueness of metamorphic lapis lazuli as a stone and over 6000 years of lapis lazuli mining at a fixed location (absolutely necessary requirements for the origin of strong lapis mythology) and current credible biogeographic DNA evidence and the distribution of R1b haplogroup of “Arbins”, as recently described by Dr. Anatole A. Klyosov. The Sumerians initial migration presumably began with a persistent drought in their original homeland, that eventually forced them to abandon their home migrate and resettle in the southern fertile lands of the Middle East between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and eventually further south near the banks of Nile River in north east Africa.KEYWORDS Sumerian Origins, Lapis Lazuli, Location-Location-Location
... During the third millennium BC, a range of Southwest Asian crops, including wheat and barley, were in cultivation in central and southern Asia, the Indus valley (Weber 1998), Kashmir (Bandey 2009;Kajale 1991), Afghanistan (Willcox 1991) and Kazakhstan (Frachetti et al. 2010). Similar crop evidence has been reported from even earlier sites in Pakistan (Meadow 1996), Turkmenistan (Harris,Charles, and Gosden 1996) and Kajikistan (Isakov 1996). ...
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This article explores the context of the long-distance translocation of crops in prehistory. We draw upon contrasts in the isotopic signatures of Southwest Asian crops, including wheat and barley – C3 plants, compared to Asian millets – C4 plants, to investigate a key region of trans-Eurasian exchange, the Chinese province of Gansu. The isotopic results demonstrate that in Gansu province prior to 2000 cal. bc, the staples were millets. Between 2000 and 1800 cal. bc, there was a significant shift in staple foods towards the Southwest Asian crops. In the broader regional context, however, it would seem that these novel crops were not consumed in large quantities in many parts of China during the second millennium bc. This suggests that, while the Southwest Asian crops were adopted and became a staple food source in Gansu province in the second millennium bc, they were disregarded as staple foods elsewhere in the same millennium.
... Western Eurasian domesticates (wheat, barley, oats, rye, pea, lentil, and flax) begin to move into Central Asia between the late 7th and 2nd millennium BC (see summaries in Frachetti et al., 2010;Harris, 2010;Harris et al., 1996, Miller, 1993Spengler and Willcox, 2013;Spengler et al., 2014). During the 2nd millennium BC, these crops also move into China (see summaries in An et al., 2013;Betts et al., 2013;Chen et al., 2015;Crawford and Lee, 2003;Crawford et al., 2005; D'Alpoim Guedes et al., 2013;Dodson et al., 2013;Dong et al., 2013;Flad et al., 2010;Lee et al., 2007;Li et al., 2007;Zhao, 2009). ...
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New data from the Tibetan Plateau allow us to understand how populations dealt with the challenges of moving crops into altitudinally constrained environments. Despite the interest in explaining the timing and the mechanisms via which agricultural products spread to the roof of the world, current models for the spread of agriculture to this region have been simplistic and the presence of crop domesticates is often straightforwardly interpreted as indicating the existence of an agricultural system at the site. This is largely due to a fundamental lack of understanding of where crops could be grown in prehistory on the Plateau. Although it has generally been assumed that moving agriculture into this area was challenging, little work has specifically addressed the constraints imposed on humans as they moved crops into this area. Employing an agro-ecological niche model, I formally model the constraints that were faced by humans as they moved a series of crops into the Tibetan Plateau between the 4th and 1st millennium cal. BC. Based on the results of this analysis, I argue that the end of the climatic optimum meant that millet agriculture was no longer a viable strategy in many parts of the Eastern Himalayas. The arrival of frost tolerant crops in the 2nd millennium BC provided new opportunities in the cooler post climatic optimum world. These models further reveal that sites that have been previously considered as engaged directly in agricultural production may have been more distantly connected to an agricultural lifestyle than previously thought.
... The principal features of these societies consisted of settled village life, an agropastoral economy (farming and animal husbandry), and a rich material culture (lithic and bone industries, painted handmade pottery with geometric and zoomorphic patterns, terracotta fi gurines, beads). These well-known sites, especially those belonging to the Jeitun culture (7th-6th millennia B.C.) (Harris et al. 1993(Harris et al. , 1996Masson 1960Masson , 1971 , reveal the use of the pressure knapping technique for the production of regular blades employing the bullet-shaped core method. Within the lithic toolkit, the hafted elements include, among others, tools with backed edges, many truncations, and various trapezes. ...
Chapter
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This chapter deals with the emergence and the development of the pressure knapping technique in Central Asia (republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan). The specific context of the processes of neolithization is particularly significant for understanding the development of pressure blade technology in Central Asia as well as the reasons linked to its adoption and application in different cultural entities. The additional information provided here enriches this discussion for the neighboring regions of Russia, the Caucasus, Iran, and Afghanistan. The technological study of the major lithic assemblages recovered from Upper Paleolithic to Chalcolithic contexts across dispersed parts of Central Asia points out significant results. Thus, the emergence of the use of the pressure knapping technique during the Early Holocene in this part of Asia was associated with the appearance of microblade technology and, to some extent, bladelet production. The pressure technique appeared in Mesolithic hunter-gatherer groups that contrast sharply with the previous Paleolithic stone reduction traditions. Two concepts have been identified: the first one, called here the Yubetsu method, is closely related to the technical tradition from the Far East (Sibero-Sino-Mongolia area), and the second one linked to a bullet-shaped core and the more “classical” method, is most often associated with geometrical microliths. With the appearance of agropastoral Neolithic societies like the Jeitun culture in Southern Turkmenistan (7th–6th millennia B.C.), the pressure knapping technique was used for the production of regular blades employing the bullet-shaped core method. A more interesting and specific case in Central Asia is found among three societies involved in the process of neolithization. The Kel’teminar culture (Uzbekistan, 7th–4th millennia B.C.) illustrates the beginning of the settlement process; the subsistence strategies were marked by a focus not only on hunting and gathering but also with the appearance of domestic cattle. Its technical tradition came mainly from the local Mesolithic background. The lithic industry has evidence of several production systems (microblades, bladelets, and blades) employing at least two techniques: a very well-controlled indirect percussion and the bullet-shaped core method using a pressure technique. The Atbasar culture (Kazakhstan, 5th–4th millennia B.C.) developed from the local Mesolithic, retaining microblade production using the pressure knapping technique (bullet-shaped cores). The introduction of few regular blades (detached by indirect percussion or pressure knapping technique?) and new formal tools can be observed. The Hissar culture (Tajikistan, 7th–4th millennia B.C.) shows the exploitation of both domestic and wild animals, with a higher proportion of the latter, suggesting a short-distance form of mobile pastoralism. The lithic assemblage presents the continuation of the earlier Mesolithic tradition (pressure microblade technology according to the Yubetsu method) together with the introduction of new Neolithic components such as a blade production using the indirect percussion. During the Chalcolithic/Eneolithic period, pressure knapping tends to disappear gradually from Central Asia. Following the emergence of the first Bronze Age communities, it is seen only in the shaping process of bifacial tools and projectile points.
... In the South (present-day southern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, southern Kyrgyzstan, northern Afghanistan, and Northeastern Iran), agropastoral communities are present since 6000 BC (D. R. Harris, Gosden, and Charles 1996) and as early as the eighth millennium BC in Northeastern Iran (Harris 2011;Roustaei, Mashkour, and Tengberg 2015;David R). These groups are genetically similar to Neolithic Iranian communities (Broushaki et al., 2016;Lazaridis et al., 2016), which may suggest that the agricultural way of life was acquired through the expansion of Southwestern Eurasian farmer populations in the south of Central Asia or that the local hunter-gatherer ancestry was related to a vast population found in Iran and Caucasus (Shinde et al., 2019). ...
Article
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The Oxus Civilisation (or Bactrio-Margian Archaeological Complex, BMAC) was the main archaeological culture of the Bronze Age in southern Central Asia. Paleogenetic analyses were previously conducted mainly on samples from the eastern part of BMAC. The population associated with BMAC descends from local Chalcolithic populations, with some outliers of steppe or South-Asian descent. Here, we present new genome-wide data for one individual from Ulug-depe (Turkmenistan), one of the main BMAC sites, located at the southwestern edge of the BMAC. We demonstrate that this individual genetically belongs to the BMAC cluster. Using this genome, we confirm that modern Indo-Iranian–speaking populations from Central Asia derive their ancestry from BMAC populations, with additional gene flow from the western and the Altai steppes in higher proportions among the Tajiks than the Yagnobi ethnic group.
... The principal features of these societies consisted of settled village life, an agropastoral economy (farming and animal husbandry), and a rich material culture (lithic and bone industries, painted handmade pottery with geometric and zoomorphic patterns, terracotta fi gurines, beads). These well-known sites, especially those belonging to the Jeitun culture (7th-6th millennia B.C.) (Harris et al. 1993(Harris et al. , 1996Masson 1960Masson , 1971 , reveal the use of the pressure knapping technique for the production of regular blades employing the bullet-shaped core method. Within the lithic toolkit, the hafted elements include, among others, tools with backed edges, many truncations, and various trapezes. ...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter deals with the emergence and the development of the pressure knapping technique in Central Asia (republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan). The specific context of the processes of neolithization is particularly significant for understanding the development of pressure blade technology in Central Asia as well as the reasons linked to its adoption and application in different cultural entities. The additional information provided here enriches this discussion for the neighboring regions of Russia, the Caucasus, Iran, and Afghanistan. The technological study of the major lithic assemblages recovered from Upper Paleolithic to Chalcolithic contexts across dispersed parts of Central Asia points out significant results. Thus, the emergence of the use of the pressure knapping technique during the Early Holocene in this part of Asia was associated with the appearance of microblade technology and, to some extent, bladelet production. The pressure technique appeared in Mesolithic hunter-gatherer groups that contrast sharply with the previous Paleolithic stone reduction traditions. Two concepts have been identified: the first one, called here the Yubetsu method, is closely related to the technical tradition from the Far East (Sibero-Sino-Mongolia area), and the second one linked to a bullet-shaped core and the more classical method, is most often associated with geometrical microliths. With the appearance of agropastoral Neolithic societies like the Jeitun culture in Southern Turkmenistan (7th-6th millennia B.C.), the pressure knapping technique was used for the production of regular blades employing the bullet-shaped core method. A more interesting and specific case in Central Asia is found among three societies involved in the process of neolithization. The Kel'teminar culture (Uzbekistan, 7th-4th millennia B.C.) illustrates the beginning of the settlement process; the subsistence strategies were marked by a focus not only on hunting and gathering but also with the appearance of domestic cattle. Its technical tradition came mainly from the local Mesolithic background. The lithic industry has evidence of several production systems (microblades, bladelets, and blades) employing at least two techniques: a very well-controlled indirect percussion and the bullet-shaped core method using a pressure technique. The Atbasar culture (Kazakhstan, 5th-4th millennia B.C.) developed from the local Mesolithic, retaining microblade production using the pressure knapping technique (bullet-shaped cores). The introduction of few regular blades (detached by indirect percussion or pressure knapping technique?) and new formal tools can be observed. The Hissar culture (Tajikistan, 7th-4th millennia B.C.) shows the exploitation of both domestic and wild animals, with a higher proportion of the latter, suggesting a short-distance form of mobile pastoralism. The lithic assemblage presents the continuation of the earlier Mesolithic tradition (pressure microblade technology according to the Yubetsu method) together with the introduction of new Neolithic components such as a blade production using the indirect percussion. During the Chalcolithic/Eneolithic period, pressure knapping tends to disappear gradually from Central Asia. Following the emergence of the first Bronze Age communities, it is seen only in the shaping process of bifacial tools and projectile points. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
... There was no reason to think that plant domestication began there (Pumpelly 1908, p 67), but there was no evidence for earlier developments, either, until the Neolithic site of Jeitun was excavated. At Jeitun, located less than 50 km from Anau and in the same foothill zone, Harris et al. (1996) reported west Asian domesticates, primarily Triticum monococcum L. (einkorn), but also T. dicoccon Schrank (cromer), hulled and naked Hordeum vulgare L. (6-row barley) and two grains of Triticum aestivum, a "hexaploid-type" wheat. Thus, we now know that farming began in western Central Asia thousands of years before the Anau sequence began. ...
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This paper lays out archaeobotanical evidence of cereals and fruits from 5th–2nd millennium B.C. sites in Turkmenistan (Anau, Gonur) and Uzbekistan (Djarkutan). Our current research program (1989-present) focuses on systematic recovery of botanical remains in their stratigraphic context. The cereals from these sites include Hordeum vulgare L. ssp.vulgare (6-row barley) and Triticum aestivum L. s.l. (bread wheat). The presence of plump grains of 6-row barley and bread wheat may indicate that small-scale irrigation was practised at Anau as early as the Chalcolithic period. The possibility is also raised that these plump-grained types may have come from the east rather than through northern Iran. Fruit pit remains of Vitis vinifera L. (grape) and Pistacia (pistachio) make their first significant appearance in Bronze Age deposits.
... Utilization of mud bricks as important building materials contributed to the development of ancient cities and large settlement sites in western Asia (Dani and Masson, 1992). This technology was first introduced to northern Iran around 8000 BP (Dani and Masson, 1992), and the remains of houses constructed from mud bricks have been unearthed from sites that document Jietun culture dated between 8000 and 7000 a BP in the northern foothills of the Kopet Dag mountains in western Central Asia (Harris et al., 1996). Mud-building technology was introduced to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan (Central Asia) between 5000 and 4000 a BP (Spengler and Willcox, 2013;Doumani et al., 2015), while the earliest building remains comprised of mud bricks in China were found at the Menbanwan site that documents the Qujialiang culture (between 5000 and 4600 a BP). ...
... Archaeological evidence reveals that the earliest mud brick buildings appeared in the Near East in Pre-Pottery times of the Neolithic and then apparently spread quickly to other areas (Dani and Masson, 1992;Kuijt and Mahasneh, 1998). Mud brick technology appeared in Northern Iran; Southern Central Asian; Eastern Central Asian, and the Hexi Corridor, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia in 8000 BP, 8000-7000 BP, 5000-4000 BP, and after 4000 BP, respectively (Cao et al., 2010;Chen et al., 2014;Dani and Masson, 1992;Doumani et al., 2015;Harris et al., 1996). ...
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We report dozens of direct radiocarbon dates on charred grains from 22 archaeological sites of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in the Hexi Corridor, northwest China, a key region for trans-Eurasian exchange in prehistoric and historical times. These charred grains include remains of wheat and barley domesticated in southwest Asia and broomcorn and foxtail millet which originated from north China. Together with previously published radiocarbon dates, we consider these newly obtained radiocarbon results in the context of material cultures associated with them, to explore an episode of trans-continental cultural exchange foci at the Hexi Corridor. Our results show that millet cultivators who used painted potteries from the western Loess Plateau first settled the Hexi Corridor around 4800 BP. Communities who cultivated wheat and barley moved into this region from the west around 4000 BP, bringing with them technologies and materials not seen in central China before, including bronze metallurgy, mud bricks, and mace heads. This was part of the east–west contact which became evident in the Hexi Corridor since the late fifth millennium BP, and continued over the subsequent two millennia, and predated the formation of the overland Silk Road in the Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220).
... Plant of barley used as binder was a great invention in arid or semiarid climate region of Eurasia. The earliest case appeared in Jeitun Site of Turkmenistan dated back 6000 BC, where barely caryopses were discovered in mudbrick for house building (Harris et al. 1996). In late Bronze Age, caryopses, rachises, culms and blades of barley were used for mudbricks in the construction of an oven at Tasbas Phase II (3400 BP) of Kazakhstan (Doumani et al. 2015). ...
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The South Aisikexiaer Cemetery, located in the Hami Basin of Xinjiang, northwest China, has been dated to around 2700 to 2400 bp. The arid conditions of the Hami region allow for the preservation through desiccation of a large amount of botanical materials, with 14 different taxa identified by systematic archaeobotanical study. Naked barley (Hordeum vulgare var. coeleste) was the only cereal type identified. Barley may be cultivated in the oases around the cemetery and threshed to obtain grains for foodstuff. Broken stems of barley were by-products of threshing and possibly consumed as binder for wall construction. Woody plants mainly include Populus euphratica, Tamarix sp. and Salix sp. Timbers of P. euphratica were the most important wooden materials for local inhabitants, used in the construction of tombs and fabrication of wooden articles. The remaining wild herbaceous plants are dominated by Aristida grandiglumis. Culms of A. grandiglumis may have been specially collected for livestock fodder and used as filling material of roof thatch on tomb. Stems of Phragmites australis were used in mat weaving. The diversity of plant remains, and their uses give insight into the adaptive strategies of the South Aisikexiaer population to arid environment in the Hami Basin during the early Iron Age.
... The principal features of these societies consisted of settled village life, an agropastoral economy (farming and animal husbandry), and a rich material culture (lithic and bone industries, painted handmade pottery with geometric and zoomorphic patterns, terracotta fi gurines, beads). These well-known sites, especially those belonging to the Jeitun culture (7th-6th millennia B.C.) (Harris et al. 1993(Harris et al. , 1996Masson 1960Masson , 1971 , reveal the use of the pressure knapping technique for the production of regular blades employing the bullet-shaped core method. Within the lithic toolkit, the hafted elements include, among others, tools with backed edges, many truncations, and various trapezes. ...
... The earliest agricultural record in Central Asia, north of the Iranian Plateau, comes from ~8,000 cal bp at the village site of Jeitun 19,20 in Turkmenistan. Progressive agricultural transitions over the subsequent six millennia in southern Central Asia led to more complex irrigation practices and the adoption of new crops-freethreshing varieties replaced glume wheats by the sixth millennium bp and farmers adopted legumes from farming communities further south 21 . ...
... The earliest agricultural record in Central Asia, north of the Iranian Plateau, comes from ~8,000 cal bp at the village site of Jeitun 19,20 in Turkmenistan. Progressive agricultural transitions over the subsequent six millennia in southern Central Asia led to more complex irrigation practices and the adoption of new crops-freethreshing varieties replaced glume wheats by the sixth millennium bp and farmers adopted legumes from farming communities further south 21 . ...
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Grot Dam Dam Chesme 2 v vostochnom prikaspii
  • Markov
Jeitun excavations during the years 1989-1991: preliminary results
  • Y E Berezkin
The exploitation of sheep and goat at Jeitun
  • A J Legge
Peschera Djebel – pamyatnik drevnei kul'turi prikaspiskikh Turkmenii
  • Okladnikov