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06-Jun-2017 09:11

We conclude that an oasis-based adaptation was contemporaneous with the expansion of forests and wetlands and persisted throughout the early stages of herding.A major decline in these economies occurs after 1000 BC, in conjunction with continuing trends towards heightened aridity and major societal changes across Northeast Asia.The lack of stratified sites and a relative absence of organic remains in surface assemblages hinders our ability to date sites, create local chronologies, and contextualize technological and socio-economic change.

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Direct dating also allows for the identification and sorting of mixed-age assemblages.

This article introduces a wealth of new site-specific and interpretive data, drawing on English-language sources as well as Russian-and Mongolian-language publications to create a synthesis for the prehistory of the Gobi Desert from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum to the adoption of herding.

Special emphasis is placed on the relationship between a major shift in desert ecosystems, comparable to the 'greening of the Sahara', the establishment of an oasis-based broad-spectrum foraging strategy, and progressive desertification and deforestation after 2000 BC.

The persistent coexistence of Bronze Age burials and microblade-based habitation sites around oases, as well as similarities in material culture, suggest that these groups overlapped geographically or were the same entity.

Increasing diet breadth, a distinguishing characteristic of human foraging strategies at the end of the Pleistocene and in the early Holocene, is known to be a key development contributing to domestication and the spread of agriculture and pastoralism.I use mixed methods of analysis to understand these relationships, in particular lithic analysis (esp.reduction strategies), palaeoecological modelling (predictive models and faunal/floral identification), and distribution analyses.This study shows how broad spectrum foraging, increased human population density, and the shift toward food production should be considered by-products of major environmental changes that created an ecological setting ideal for enhanced human reproduction.