Pastoralist Settlement Ecology GIS Study

Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and computer-assisted simulation, play an equally fundamental role in formulating explanations of the past. When attempting to document the expanse of a mobile society across a given landscape, one must consider various factors that may have played a role in human experiences at different times and locales.  These factors range from ecological dynamics such as seasonality, climate, and terrain, to social and political aspects of specific archaeological feature types.  The spatial and temporal extents of ecological and social contexts themselves contribute to the pattern of land-use and landscape production, generated by mobile life-ways. Digital tools are incredibly powerful for simulating past conditions, and enable the exploration and testing of various human strategies that would have been employed in the past.  The aim here is to illustrate a number of digital approaches and analyses designed to model the economic and cultural landscapes of mobile pastoral societies of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes.

Mapping Pastoral/Ecological Environments

Recent archaeology within the borders of former Soviet Republics such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, has sparked considerable changes to our understanding of prehistoric economies and regional interaction among agricultural and nomadic civilizations of the remote deserts, mountains, and grasslands of Central Asia.  Building on this progress, we started the Zaamin Archaeological Pilot Project (ZAPP), which consists of two field-seasons of archaeological survey and test excavations in the Zaamin territory of eastern Uzbekistan.