Department Seminar Series, "High Altitude Hunting and Early Pastoralism in the Mongolian Altai: New Perspectives from Melting Ice", a talk by Will Taylor (University of Colorado-Boudler)


Thursday, December 1, 2022, 3:00pm to 4:30pm


Tozzer 203, or via Zoom

"High Altitude Hunting and Early Pastoralism in the Mongolian Altai: New Perspectives from Melting Ice"

a talk by Will Taylor

(University of Colorado-Boulder)

ABSTRACT - Although archaeological clues suggest that high mountain zones played a central role in the first emergence of mobile pastoralism in the eastern steppes of Eurasia, the region's vast expanses and fragmentary archaeological record have prevented a nuanced understanding of early lifeways in this important region. In the 21st century, ice melt driven by climate warming has begun to expose organic materials frozen within permanent snow and ice features in the Altai Mountain range of western Mongolia, revealing a rich archaeological record of mountain hunting and herding activities stretching back four millennia. These secrets of the "eternal ice" reveal new insights into early pastoral lifeways, including the importance of big game hunting and the use of key domestic taxa, like horse and yak, at high elevation. Rapid melt continues to threaten these fragile and rare archaeological discoveries as well as the viability of modern herding, as ice loss changes the hydrology and ecology of montane Inner Asia.

BIO - Dr. William Taylor is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he also serves as Curator of Archaeology for the Museum of Natural History. His research investigates the relationship between people and animals in the ancient world, with a focus on the domestication of horses and other large animals through archaeozoology and archaeological science.

Location: Tozzer 203

45 minute talk

20 minute Q&A

Start: 3:00 p.m.

If you cannot join in-person, please email prior to December 1, 2022 to request the link to Zoom if you did not receive through mailing list. Click on hyperlink at top right of webpage to subscribe to Harvard Archaeology Seminar Series.