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Biomarkers in archaeology – Land use around the Uyghur capital Karabalgasun, Orkhon Valley, Mongolia

Abstract

In order to investigate the use to which recently discovered and recorded large oval enclosures surrounded by a low wall and ditch were put, a series of topsoil samples were taken and subjected to an analysis of specific lipids; such soil chemical evidence from human and domesticated animal faeces can provide significant insights into the land use history of the areas sampled. The enclosures are likely to have been used for horticulture, and certainly not for keeping livestock. Human settlement, as attested by the presence of roof tiles and ceramic sherds, was in square, enclosed compounds nearby, and these were clearly smaller. Oval complexes have so far only been documented in Mongolia in the vicinity of the Uyghur capital of Karabalgasun. Karabalgasun was evidently much greater in extent than had hitherto been assumed and it was divided into a number of functional areas. Initial results from our targeted samples show that the analysis of lipids has much potential, offering new opportunities to elucidate land use, e.g. the cultivation of cereals and vegetables in contrast to livestock keeping. It is precisely this aspect, so far largely neglected by research, which will allow us to assess the oft-claimed ‘dependence’ of the nomads on agricultural communities.

Bibliography

Bemman, J., Lehndorff, E., Klinger, R., Linzen, S., Munkhbayar, L., Oczipka, M., Piezonka, H., Reichert, S.: Biomarkers in archaeology – Land use around the Uyghur capital Karabalgasun, Orkhon Valley, Mongolia.

Authors Bemman, Jan and Lehndorff, Eva and Klinger, Riccardo and Linzen, Sven and Munkhbayar, Lkhagvardorj and Oczipka, Martin and Piezonka, Henny and Reichert, Susanne
Type Article
Title Biomarkers in archaeology – Land use around the Uyghur capital Karabalgasun, Orkhon Valley, Mongolia
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Spatial {"type":"Point","coordinates":[101.58,47.321]}
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