Frozen burials are found in the Altai Mountains of Central Asia (China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia). Excavations of such burials in recent years have provided unusual remains such as wood, textile and mummified corpses. They open new possibilities for a number of analytical approaches, and accurate studies of burials practices and artefacts, permitting to better understand the life of these ancient societies of pastoral nomads usually known as “Scythians”.
Among the broad questions tackled, the role and position of these nomads between: 1) the agrarian empires of Achaemenid Persia and Hellenistic Kingdoms in Central Asia and 2) the Zhou dynasties (mainly) in the East (Western China). Analyses of art representations, by technical, historical, and anthropological approaches allow enlarging the picture up to the steppes of the Southern Urals. The mobile horse-riding “Scythian” nomads seem to have behaved as borrowers and transmitters over long distances and periods. Mechanisms of transfers emerged in the history of Eurasia before the “Silk Road”, via steppes and empires, between the Black Sea and the Yellow River.
Refreshments will be served
Organized and Co-sponsored by Yale's Council on Archaeological Studies