Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (06): 1108-1120.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0073

• Literature Reviews • Previous Articles    

Evolution of oasis agriculture and civilization exchange since the Bronze age in Transoxiana, Central Asia

CHEN Guanhan1,2,3(), ZHOU Xinying1,2,3, SHEN Hui1,2,3, Khasannov Mutalibjon4, MA Jian5, REN Meng5, Annaev Tukhtash6, WANG Jianxin5, LI Xiaoqiang1,2,3()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Institute of Archaeology, Uzbek Academy of Sciences, Samarqand 140000, Uzbekistan
    5. College of Cultural Heritage, Northwest University, Xi’an 710068, China
    6. History Department, Termez State University, Termez 190100, Uzbekistan
  • Received:2020-03-08 Revised:2020-08-20 Online:2021-12-15 Published:2020-11-25
  • Contact: LI Xiaoqiang;


Transoxiana is an ideal place for studying agriculture spread and civilization exchange as the drought local climate meaning that there is sensitivity to environmental changes and good preservation of archaeological materials. This region has always played an important role in communication between eastern and western civilizations in Eurasia. This study combines archaeobotanical and chronological methods in order to reconstruct Holocene agricultural activities and analyze human adaptations to environmental changes in Aum Darya region from 4000 BP (late Bronze Age) to the Sassanid Empire. Results show that the agriculture systems in Transoxiana were highly complexity since 4000 BP. Although different types of crops were planted in different periods, the local oasis agriculture structure composed mainly of barley and wheat, with supplementary foods including common millet, foxtail millet, beans, and fruit such as grapes. Rice and other crops were added in later periods, these foodstuffs did not impact the local agricultural structure. This study provides some details about the evolution of oasis agriculture and human response to environmental changes in Central Asia. It also give us some new perspectives for further study about agricultural spread in Eurasia.

Key words: Transoxiana, Central Asia, Archaeobotany, Agriculture, Holocene

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