University of Cambridge > > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Sheep Breeds in Bronze Age Kazakhstan: A Geometric Morphometric Approach

Sheep Breeds in Bronze Age Kazakhstan: A Geometric Morphometric Approach

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Pastoral livelihoods are intimately connected with the health of the flock. One way to ensure high productivity and health in a herd is to reduce risk by herding sheep that are specially adapted to particular environments, for example those animals with adaptations to their feet which were able to handle marshy or rocky ground. Pastoralists may encourage this diversity in adaptation through selective breeding, or a flock may gradually express different adaptations through attrition. Kazakhstan presents a wealth of discrete archaeological pastoral assemblages, with a documented history of a wide variety of nomadic pastoralism ranging from vertical transhumance to long distance nomadism. Using geometric morphometric techniques on these zooarchaeological collections, it is possible to differentiate sheep breeds and hence to reveal which breeds of sheep lived in different environments in ancient times, revealing previously unstudied relationships between people, animals and land.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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