Geoarchaeological research in Uzbekistan

The Malguzar Mountains in southeastern Uzbekistan are a key region for understanding the history and dispersal of mobile pastoralist populations in highland territories of Inner Asia, as well as how interactions between pastoral and agricultural societies have shaped Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the present. Since 2010, collaborative research between Uzbek and American archaeologists (P.I.: Dr. Michael Frachetti) has focused on establishing the regional history of southeastern Uzbekistan, predominately through identifying patterns of settlement ecology and locating pastoralist campsites. Geoarchaeological research has focused on identifying paleoenvironmental conditions and episodes of landscape stability that influenced mobility, site selection, and subsistence strategies; analyzing stratigraphy to contextualize recovered material culture and determine site integrity; and understanding site formation processes to distinguish cultural versus natural agents of deposition. After identifying a high-elevation Medieval-era nomadic city, our research has gravitated toward understanding the environmental impacts of urbanization and intensive industrial iron production centuries before the Industrial Revolution.