CAS Luncheon Series
Thursday, April 16 at 12:30pm
CASE Building, room W311
with Will Taylor, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

From early human dispersals to the rise of Genghis Khan, Mongolia's high mountains have played a key role in some of humanity's most  important social and environmental transitions. However, a coherent understanding of the region's past is hampered by the scarcity of the archaeological record, which has been worn thin through millennia of grazing and active geology. High altitude permanent snow and ice accumulations, known as ice patches, are a rare exception - preserving unique insights into the environmental and cultural history of Mongolia's alpine areas. Here, we present results from 2019 archaeological survey at glaciers and ice patches in western Mongolia.  Discoveries demonstrate millenia of use of mountain zones for both hunting and herding. Analysis of recovered materials provides some of the first direct evidence for big game hunting across at least 3000 years, including the animal and plant species selected as raw materials, their method of manufacture, ambush strategies, and associated ritual practices. Extreme summer melting from climate change threatens to exhume and destroy these organic materials and cultural heritage a startling pace – simultaneously endangering modern pastoral lifeways.

A light lunch will be provided.

William Taylor is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Archaeology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.