With the introduction of significant amounts of heavy livestock (among other innovations) into the western Eurasian Steppe in the period of the Eneolithic/Early Bronze Age an increase of mobility is disputed within the scientific community.  The project addresses this question from an osteoarchaeological point of view.


The actual study is based on isotopes obtained from tooth enamel of domestic animals (cattle, sheep/goat) excavated in settlements in the steppe region of today`s contemporary Ukraine. These are used as indicator for individual mobility. So far stable oxygen and carbon isotopes data were obtained and are available for the analysis. Isotopes are used as proxy data for the mobility of stock-breeders as well as their herding strategy. For each of the two sampled taxa besides the expectable sinusoidal change of the oxygen isotopes, which resemble the seasonal change of the terrestrial temperature, two trends are detectable in the initial samples. They show a shift in the progress of the seasonal development – marking different periods of birth. This implies a non-uniform herding strategy. Nevertheless, the analysis of additional individuals is necessary due to the small sample size. With those, the further research (which will also include Strontium isotopes) might provide a fruitful contribution concerning the intensively discussed question of an increase of the level of human mobility in the Eurasian Steppe during the 4th and 3rd millennium BC.

This doctoral thesis is being written within the program “Landscape Archaeology and Architecture” (LAA) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).

  • Tracing mobility among early pastoral societies in the western Eurasian Steppe – an isotopic approach. Poster presentation at the 11. Tagung der GAPA – Gesellschaft für Archäozoologie und Prähistorische Anthropologie, Brandenburg/Havel, 10.-14.10.2016
  • Poster presentation at the Summer School Opening the Landscape – Methods in Landscape Archaeology (Topoi/BAK), Berlin, 29.08.-03.09.2016
  • Osteology and mobility in the North Pontic Steppe – The significance of isotope analysis of the domestic faunal record from the 4th and 3rd millennium BC
    part of: LAA at guest, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 09.12.2016