Skip to comments.Major corridor of Silk Road already home to high-mountain herders over 4,000 years ago
Posted on 11/02/2018 11:30:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Using ancient proteins and DNA recovered from tiny pieces of animal bone, archaeologists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography (IAET) at the Russian Academy of Sciences-Siberia have discovered evidence that domestic animals -cattle, sheep, and goat - made their way into the high mountain corridors of southern Kyrgyzstan more than four millennia ago... in many of the most important channels of the Silk Road itself, including Kyrgyzstan's Alay Valley (a large mountain corridor linking northwest China with the oases cities of Bukhara and Samarkand), very little is known about the lifeways of early people who lived there in the centuries and millennia preceding the Silk Road era...
Dr. William Taylor (MPI-SHH)... and his colleagues then applied a technique known as Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry, or ZooMS. This method uses laser-based, mass spectrometry to identify the peptide building blocks that make up collagen inside the bone itself - peptides that differ across animal taxa, and produce unique "fingerprints" that can be used to identify otherwise unrecognizable pieces of bone. With this technique, Dr. Taylor and his colleagues discovered that people living in the Alay Valley began herding sheep, goat, and cattle by at least 4300 years ago. Combining their work with ancient DNA research at France's University of Toulouse, they also found that in later centuries, as Silk Road trade flourished across the region, transport animals like domestic horses and Bactrian camel became increasingly significant in Alay...
"This study shows us that biomolecular methods like ZooMS and ancient DNA can take the fragmented piles of bone that have been almost worthless to archaeologists," he says, "and open up a whole new world of insights into the human story across Central Asia."
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
These are horses next to the beautiful high peaks of the Alay Valley, southern Kyrgyzstan. Credit: William Taylor
I imagine that many of these early animals would also have been used for transport, thus opening up links and trade.
Kramer: the MPI-SHH!
Mr. Harharwood: We prefer to call it "The Institute."
There are lots of things (too many to count) that I would love to know about our immediate pre-history (10kYa - 5kYa), but the story of pre-Mongol life in Bactria is one of them.
Like - what were the Celts doing there, and what made them walk or run until they hit the Atlantic Ocean and couldn’t keep going?
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