David W. Anthony

November 15, 2013 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

David W. Anthony, Professor of Anthropology, Hartwick College

"Agriculture in Bronze Age steppe pastoralism: new archaeological evidence".


The early LBA in the Eurasian steppes (1900-1700 BC) was thought to represent the apex of steppe agro-pastoralism, an era when agriculture played a significant role in settled economies across the steppes, from Europe to China, within the context of the Srubnaya and Andronovo horizons. The Samara Valley Project excavation at the Srubnaya settlement of Krasnosamarskoe in the Russian steppes showed that it was indeed a permanent, year-round, long-term settlement. But the economy included no agriculture. Instead the LBA economy depended on cattle and sheep herding, copper-mining, and, apparently, gathering the seeds of wild Chenopodium and Amaranthus plants. The Srubnaya people in the Volga-Ural region were not agro-pastoralists, and were not dependent in any significant way on cultivated cereals, a conclusion supported by the absence of caries in their teeth and by the stable isotopes in their bones. Agriculture, paradoxically, seems to have been an innovation of the Final Bronze and early Iron Ages, after 1200 BC, the era when pastoral nomadism, the most mobile form of steppe pastoralism and supposedly the antithesis of farming, first evolved. The settled LBA economy had no connection to farming, but might have been an adaptation to climate change and intensified copper mining.

Friday, November 15th, 3:30pm, Anthropology Lounge


Location and Address

3106 WWPH Anthropology Lounge