Why Pots (Don’t) Matter: Complexity in Bronze Age Eurasia
Paula Dupuy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Abstract: Traditionally Bronze Age archeological remains of central Eurasia were considered collectively as remnants of nomadic pastoralists of the Andronovo Culture. Since the ceramics repeat common styles over vast regions, the assumption was that the people themselves, economically and socially, were similar too. Today, however, as a consequence of scientific studies of environment and subsistence it’s now accepted that the Andronovo Culture encompasses groups of greater diversity. In turn, the significance of pottery for understanding the era is contested even though the question remains how these distinct populations are connected through their material culture. This talk demonstrates that in order not to lose sight of the actual people being studied, material culture studies are crucial. Drawing on an abundant ceramics record obtained from active fieldwork in Kazakhstan we will see how potters served their local and regional communities while also establishing some of the expansive interconnections that define the Bronze Age of Eurasia.