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From herds to empire: Biomolecular and zooarchaeological investigations of mobile pastoralism in the ancient Eurasian steppe

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ASIAPAST project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ASIAPAST project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ASIAPAST" about.

pottery    herd    ultimately    exceptional    preserved    contributed    pairs    kazakhstan    culturally    economic    striking    societies    goat    structures    translocation    people    food    symbolic    movement    intensification    symbols    first    pastoralist    co    central    connected    trajectories    character    russia    quintessential    horses    almost    nomadic    organization    kyrgyzstan    foundation    became    strategies    human    ago    regions    poor    teeth    little    sites    eurasia    cultural    trans    lifeways    sustenance    networks    uzbekistan    recovers    eurasian    exclusively    contribution    draw    investigations    mongolia    capture    niche    animals    initial    altogether    materials    dairy    relied    recorded    socio    forms    dietary    influenced    mobile    animal    located    laid    sheep    empires    regional    asiapast    husbandry    steppe    political    emergence    archives    zooarchaeological    bones    pastoralism    cornerstone    mobility    life    cattle    ritual    marked    biomolecular    frame    ate    movements    alongside    subsistence    domesticated    pastoralists    gaps    histories    remarkably    thousand    intake    transformation    transition    spread    sophisticated    time   

Project "ASIAPAST" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: KIEL
postcode: 24118

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙999˙145 €
 EC max contribution 1˙999˙145 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-04-01   to  2023-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
2    UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL UK (BRISTOL) participant 666˙885.00


 Project objective

The emergence of mobile pastoralism in the Eurasian steppe five thousand years ago marked a unique transformation in human lifeways where, for the first time, people relied almost exclusively on herd animals of sheep, goat, cattle, and horses for sustenance and as symbols. Mobile pastoralism also generated altogether new forms of socio-political organization exceptional to the steppe that ultimately laid the foundation for nomadic states and empires. However, there remain striking gaps in our knowledge of how the pastoralist niche spread and evolved across Eurasia in the past and influenced cultural trajectories that frame the human-herd systems of today. Little is known about the scale of pastoralist movements connected with the initial translocation of domesticated animals, how mobility became embedded in pastoralist life, or how movement contributed to the formation of sophisticated political networks. There is a poor understanding of the character of herd animal husbandry strategies that were central to pastoralist subsistence and how these co-evolved alongside pastoralist dietary intake and ritual use of herd animals. We have a remarkably poor understanding of what pastoralists ate, especially the dietary contribution of dairy products - the quintessential dietary cornerstone food of pastoralist societies.

ASIAPAST addresses these gaps through a biomolecular approach that recovers the dietary and mobility histories of pastoralists and their animals recorded in bones, teeth, and pottery. This project pairs these methods to detailed analyses of the economic and symbolic use of herd animals preserved in zooarchaeological archives. These investigations draw from materials obtained from key sites that capture the transition to mobile pastoralism, its intensification, and emergence of trans-regional political structures located across the culturally connected regions of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

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The information about "ASIAPAST" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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