Exploiting Climate Driven Dietary and Agricultural Change in the Late Eneolithic/Early Bronze Age Ukrainian Steppe Recorded in Ceramic Vesels
The late Eneolithic and early Bronze Age period (4500 to 2300 BC) of the Dnieper region of Ukraine is considered a key period for the understanding of the prehistoric Pontic steppe (Rassamakin, 1999). However, due to the lack of evidence and much unpublished literature, the prehistory on the North-Pontic region is poorly understood especially in relation to the subsistence economy and the extent of the exploitation of domesticates.
This project aimed to resolve these difficulties by using an interdisciplinary approach. Significantly, it was the first study of diet and subsistence practices in the North-Pontic region during the Eneolithic and Early Bronze Age, through the application of a combined archaeological, molecular and isotopic approach. Lipid extracts of >200 potsherds from 5 Ukrainian settlements were analysed (Evershed, 2008).
The carbon isotope results confirmed that the North-Pontic communities practised a various economy especially in relation to regional needs. Interestingly, the exploitation of dairy fats played a significant role only in the subsistence strategies of the steppe populations, reinforcing the idea of a full pastoral economy. In contrast, the forest-steppe sites showed a high exploitation of wild animals, horses and aquatic products. In conclusion, this research has clarified some of the aspects related to both the extent of the exploitation of domesticates and the subsistence economic strategies of prehistoric people living in the area of the North-Pontic region.
This dissertation project was successfully completed within the research group A-2 The political ecology of non-sedentary communitiesof the Excellence Cluster 264 Topoi.
[see also: http://www.topoi.org/project/a-2-1-1/ ]