Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Folk Studies and Anthropology

Document Type



Fuel (wood, bone, dung and coal) and the selection of it has always been an integral part in the lifeways of nomadic pastoralists. Certainly, the gathering of fuel, the storage of it, and its eventual use represents a large part of daily culture. Yet, it remains an understudied aspect of ancient household economies. This is unfortunate since understanding fuel selection and use can also serve to evaluate specific cultural practices and human-­‐environment relationships since there is often a close link between specific types of available fuel and local environmental conditions. Through ethnoarchaeological research in the Altai region of western Mongolia, information about local use of fuel in a domestic setting was gained. Based on current archaeological research it is believed that present-­‐day inhabitants in the Altai region share a similar nomadic pastoralist mode of subsistence with the people living in this same region during the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age (mid-­‐Second to mid-­‐First millennia BC). Local lake core data also suggests that the Bronze and Early Iron Age environmental landscape in this region was fairly similar to that of today. These similarities allow us to infer that Bronze and Iron Age societies possibly had an overall domestic economy similar to the modern people of this region, thus allowing us to evaluate both iii past and present human-­‐environment relationships. By gaining information regarding traditional ecological knowledge and the traditional importance of dung as a fuel source in this semi-­‐arid region (largely devoid of wood) it is possible to gain insights about environmental and domestic economic sustainability.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Jean-Luc Houle



Included in

Anthropology Commons