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Seller: Top-Rated Seller ancientgifts (4,635) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 382142482097 ”Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan” by Sören Stark (Editor), Karen S. Rubinson (Editor), Zainolla Samashev (Editor), Jennifer Y. Chi (Editor). NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: Princeton University (2012). Pages: 200. Size: 12¼ x 8¾ x 1 inch; 3¼ pounds. Summary: The catalogue for the groundbreaking exhibition at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, “Nomads and Networks” presents an unparalleled overview of the sophisticated culture of pastoral nomadic populations who lived on the territory of present-day Kazakhstan from roughly the middle of the first millennium BC to the early centuries AD. Focusing on material from the Altai and Tianshan regions, “Nomads and Networks” explores the specific conditions of mobile lifeways that resulted from particular ecological conditions in the steppes and high valleys of Inner Eurasia. Highlights of the exhibition are grave goods from the burial mounds at the site of Berel and gold mortuary ornaments from Shilikty, Zhalauli, and Kargaly. Attesting to a sophisticated decorative art flourishing among these nomadic populations, the objects skillfully combine older iconographic traditions of animal style in the steppe with more recent influences from foreign cultures--most notably Persia and China. Contributors include Nursan Alimbai, Nikolay A. Bokovenko, Claudia Chang, Bryan K. Hanks, Sagynbay Myrgabayev, Karen S. Rubinson, Zainolla S. Samashev, Sören Stark, and Abdesh T. Toleubaev. CONDITION: NEW. New hardcover w/dustjacket. Princeton University (2012) 200 pages. Unblemished except for very mild shelfwear to dustjacket. Pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. The shelfwear to the dustjacket is in the form of a few thin scratches to the back side of the dustjacket. Dustjacket is black, and so shows scuffing or scratching very easily, even merely from being shelved between other books. Scratches are very fine, and not very prominent, but we would of course disclose any such blemish, even if merely superficial and cosmetic in nature. Condition is entirely consistent with new stock from a bookstore environment wherein new books might show minor signs of shelfwear, consequence of simply being shelved and re-shelved. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #8970d. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Soren Stark is assistant professor of Central Asian Art and Archaeology at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Karen S. Rubinson is a research associate at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. Zainolla S. Samashev is director of excavations at Berel and head of the Astana branch of the A. Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Jennifer Y. Chi is exhibitions director and chief curator at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. TABLE OF CONTENTS: The Roots of Iron Age Pastoral Nomadic Culture by Nikolay A. Bokovenko and Zainolla S. Samashev. The Berel Kurgans: Some Results of Investigation by Zainolla S. Samashev. Results of Multidisciplinary Studies and Reconstructions of Materials from the Baigetobe Kurgan at Shilikty by Abdesh T. Toleubaev, Al-Farabi Kazakh. Some questions regarding the rock art of Kazakhstan by Sagynbay Myrgabayev Burial Practices and Social Roles of Iron Age Mobile Pastoralists by Karen S. Rubinson. Mounted Warfare and its Sociopolitical Implications by Bryan K. Hanks. Nomads and their Networks: Elites and their Connections to the Outside World by Sören Stark. Cycles of Iron Age Mobility and Sedentism: Climate, Landscape, and Material culture in Southeastern Kazakhstan by Claudia Chang. Society and Culture of the Nomads of Central Asia through Time by Nursan Alimbai. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: With beautiful illustrations and a well-assembled set of essays, this valuable and informative catalogue summarizes some of the most recent discussions and discoveries concerning the ancient nomads of Kazakhstan and beyond. The essays present new information and provide, in different ways, sufficient background to inform the general public and specialists about the objects in the exhibition. [Nicola Di Cosmo, Institute for Advanced Study]. REVIEW: Spectacular gold objects and monumental gilded horns dating from the first millennium BCE were excavated in recent years from burial mounds (kurgans) in the vast grasslands and steppes of Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia. These finds, many never before shown in the United States, constitute a brilliant introduction to the nomadic and settlement cultures of the ancient peoples in Kazakhstan. On view are more than 150 objects that reveal a powerful and highly sophisticated culture with strategic migratory routes and active networks of communication and exchange. The exhibition also explores a form of Eurasian nomadism centered around an elite culture of horseback warfare, as well as illuminate the central role of horses in Pazyryk culture. REVIEW: When one thinks of historic Kazakhstan, a vision of rough-riding, nomadic, gypsy-like people on horseback, traversing a vast, flat, steppe-like landscape, comes to mind. The ancient cultural and artistic achievements of this people might surprise you, however. Their civilization was in fact far from being a cultural desert, as a new exhibit opening in New York City will testify. The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University (ISAW) will present the first U.S. exhibition with a comprehensive overview of the unique nomadic culture of ancient Kazakhstan. On view from March 7 through June 3, 2012, Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan focuses on the peoples of the Altai and Tianshan regions (located in the eastern part of the country) from the eighth to first centuries B.C.E. With nearly 250 objects on loan from Kazakhstan's four national museums, the exhibition provides a compelling portrait of nomadic culture, challenging the traditional view of these societies as less developed than their sedentary counterparts. Artifacts on view include bronze openwork offering-stands, superbly decorated with animal and human figures; petroglyphs marking important places in the landscape; and sophisticated gold adornments that marked the social status of those who wore them. A highlight is recently excavated, never-displayed material from a fourth–third century cemetery near the Russian/Chinese border, where permafrost conditions enabled the preservation of organic materials. Included here are such objects as saddles and expertly carved horse trappings that display hybrid mythical animals, among a variety of other artifacts. See the pictorial below for examples of artifacts exhibited. Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, and archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in this region. In fact, before Russian colonization, the Kazakhs had developed a complex culture based on a nomadic pastoral economy, with livestock at the center of their lifestyle. Indeed, in Kazakh society, it was traditional and appropriate that a person ask first about the health of a person's livestock upon greeting and only afterward inquire about the human aspects of their lives, such as family. Horse-riding defined the center of their activities, and to this day, equestrianism and horse-racing is a national passion. REVIEW: "Nomads and Networks" Presents the Artistic Side of Iron Age Nomadic Life. First U.S. Exhibition of Ancient Kazakhstan Nomadic Culture Highlights Recent Achievements in Archaeology. The first U.S. exhibition devoted entirely to the nomadic culture of ancient Kazakhstan makes its Washington, D.C., debut Aug. 11 at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan,” on view through Nov. 12, dispels the notion that nomadic societies were less developed than sedentary ones. More than 150 objects of gold, horn, precious gems, and organic materials, most excavated within the past 15 years, reveal a powerful and highly sophisticated culture with strategic migratory routes and active networks of communication and exchange. “The topic of nomads and ‘networkers’ has special relevance to Washington, D.C.,” said Alexander Nagel, curator of Ancient Near Eastern art at the Freer|Sackler. “Washingtonians are by nature nomads who are travelling through the city for a limited period of time, giving the exhibition a unique connection to D.C.” For more than three millennia, nomadic society shaped the cultural landscape of the Eurasian steppe. In southern and eastern Kazakhstan, carefully determined migratory routes traced paths between lowland pastures, used in the winter, and alpine highlands, occupied in the summer. “Nomads and Networks” explores a form of Eurasian nomadism centered around an elite culture of horseback warfare. While not fully developed until the Iron Age, this unique way of life spread quickly across the Eurasian steppe, yielding the magnificent objects on display in the exhibition. On loan from Kazakhstan’s four national museums, the exhibition offers insight into the lives of the people of the Altai and Tianshan Mountain regions in the eastern part of the country from roughly the eighth to the first centuries BC. “The works on display represent the highlights and great achievements of Kazakh archaeology,” said Nagel.“The increasing frequency and sophistication of scientific excavations in the area allow archaeologists to reconstruct nomadic life in far greater detail than ever before. Still, we are only in the beginning to understand these fascinating and complex societies.” “Nomads and Networks” presents spectacular, superbly preserved finds from Berel, an elite burial site of the Pazyryk culture located near the border with Russia, Mongolia and China, where permafrost conditions enabled the preservation of rare organic materials. Set amidst vast green grasslands in a visually stunning landscape, the burial mounds (kurgan) yielded hundreds of finds and allow insights into a long-hidden culture. Each kurgan contained at least one horse, sometimes many more, and the exhibition illuminates the central role of the animal in Pazyryk culture. Through remarkable works of art, visitors encounter a people fascinated by their encounters with nature and animals. Among the many spectacular objects are bronze stands, superbly decorated with horse and rider figures, carved stone stelai that marked important places in the landscape and dazzling gold adornments that signified the social status of those who wore them. “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan” has been organized by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University in collaboration with the Central State Museum in Almaty; the Presidential Center of Culture in Astana; the A. Kh. Margulan Institute of Archaeology in Almaty; the Museum of Archaeology in Almaty; and the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States. The exhibition has been made possible through the support of the Leon Levy Foundation. REVIEW: Out of a recently excavated cemetery on the Russian/Chinese border, dating from the third century and preserved by permafrost, a number of stunning hand-crafted artifacts now shed new light on the meaning of a nomadic lifestyle. “They change the common view about nomads,” says Soren Starke, Assistant Professor of Central Asian Art and Archaeology at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University (ISAW). “The common perception that they were aimless and wandering is not correct. They were mobile – it was essential to their way of life. They were highly adaptive to their environments. ISAW will open the first U.S. exhibition of nomadic culture of ancient Kazakhstan on from March 7 through June 3, 2012. Called “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan,” it focuses on the peoples of the Altai and Tianshan regions in the eastern part of the country, from roughly the eighth to first centuries BC. With nearly 250 objects on loan from Kazakhstan’s four national museums, the exhibition provides a compelling portrait of nomadic culture, challenging the traditional view of these societies as less developed than sedentary ones. “They moved through different environments to make use of them at different times of the year,” he says. “They moved from the lowlands to the high mountains – and their social rhythms were defined by this way of life and movement.” Artifacts on view in the exhibition range from bronze offering-stands, superbly decorated with animal and human figures, to petroglyphs marking important places in the landscape, to dazzling gold adornments that marked the social status of those who wore them. Also included are saddles and expertly carved horse trappings that display fascinating hybrid mythical animals. The artifacts were frozen almost immediately after their burial some 2,500 years ago. “Most of the materials are perishable – wood or bone or textile, but they were frozen inside the tombs in the highland areas,” he says. “We were lucky to find them.” The sophistication of the tribes’ handiwork contradicts any misperception of them as rootless wanderers. “They were much more constricted. They negotiated with neighbors for routes, and to use specific meadows at specific times,” he says. As late as the early 20th century, people in the region were still living that way, shepherding horses, sheep and goats, and engaged in minor agriculture. Each group was interconnected inside the steppe, and with their secondary neighbors in Persia and China. In short, the term “nomad” is incorrect. “They were more like mobile pastoralists,” he says. And fine artisans as well. REVIEW: Ancient Greeks had a word for the people who lived on the wild, arid Eurasian steppes stretching from the Black Sea to the border of China. They were nomads, which meant “roaming about for pasture.” They were wanderers and, not infrequently, fierce mounted warriors. Essentially, they were “the other” to the agricultural and increasingly urban civilizations that emerged in the first millennium B.C. As the nomads left no writing, no one knows what they called themselves. To their literate neighbors, they were the ubiquitous and mysterious Scythians or the Saka, perhaps one and the same people. In any case, these nomads were looked down on — the other often is — as an intermediate or an arrested stage in cultural evolution. They had taken a step beyond hunter-gatherers but were well short of settling down to planting and reaping, or the more socially and economically complex life in town. But archaeologists in recent years have moved beyond this mind-set by breaking through some of the vast silences of the Central Asian past. These excavations dispel notions that nomadic societies were less developed than many sedentary ones. Grave goods from as early as the eighth century B.C. show that these people were prospering through a mobile pastoral strategy, maintaining networks of cultural exchange (not always peacefully) with powerful foreign neighbors like the Persians and later the Chinese. Some of the most illuminating discoveries supporting this revised image are now coming from burial mounds, called kurgans, in the Altai Mountains of eastern Kazakhstan, near the borders with Russia and China. From the quality and workmanship of the artifacts and the number of sacrificed horses, archaeologists have concluded that these were burials of the society’s elite in the late fourth and early third centuries B.C. By gift, barter or theft, they had acquired prestige goods, and in time their artisans adapted them in their own impressive artistic repertory. Almost half of the 250 objects in a new exhibition, “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan,” are from these burials of a people known as the Pazyryk culture. The material, much of which is on public display for the first time, can be seen at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, on loan from Kazakhstan’s four national museums. Two quietly spectacular examples are 13 gold pieces of personal adornment, known as the Zhalauli treasure of fanciful animal figures; and the Wusun diadem, a gold openwork piece with inlaid semiprecious stones from a burial in the Kargaly Valley in southern Kazakhstan. The diadem blends nomad and Chinese characteristics, including composite animals in the Scytho-Siberian style and a horned dragon in an undulating cloudscape. Artifacts from recent kurgan digs include gold pieces; carved wood and horn; a leather saddle; a leather pillow for the deceased’s head; and textiles, ceramics and bronzes. Archaeologists said the abundance of prestige goods in the burials showed the strong social differentiation of nomad society. Jennifer Y. Chi, the institute’s chief curator, writes in the exhibit’s catalog, published by Princeton University Press, that the collection portrays “a world of nomadic groups that, far from being underdeveloped, fused distinct patterns of mobility with apparently sophisticated ritual practices expressive of a close connection to the natural world, to complex burial practices and to established networks and contacts with the outside world.” Walking through the exhibit, Dr. Chi pointed to nomad treasures, remarking, “The popular perception of these people as mere wanderers has not caught up with the new scholarship.” Excavation at the Altai kurgans, near the village of Berel, was begun in 1998 by a team led by Zainolla S. Samashev, director of the Margulan Institute of Archaeology, on a natural terrace above the Bukhtarma River. Some work had been done there by Russians in the 19th century. But the four long lines of kurgans, at least 70 clearly visible, invited more systematic exploration. Of the 24 Berel kurgans investigated so far, Dr. Samashev said in an interview, the two he started with were among the largest. The mounds, about 100 feet in diameter, rise about 10 to 15 feet above the surrounding surface. The pit itself is about 13 feet deep and lined with logs. At the base of Kurgan 11, he said, the arrangement of huge stones let the cold air in but not out. This and other physical aspects of the pits created permafrost, which preserved much of the organic matter in the graves — though looting long ago disturbed permafrost conditions. Still, enough survived of bones, hair, nails and some flesh to tell that some of the bodies had tattoos and had been embalmed. Hair of the buried men had been cut short and covered with wigs. The Kazakh conservator of the artifacts, Altynbekov Krym, said that remains in several kurgans were a challenge. “Everything was jumbled together, getting moldy almost immediately,” he said, and that it “took six years experimenting to create a new methodology to clean and preserve the material.” Dr. Samashev said that his international crew, which is limited by climate to summer work, had excavated at least one kurgan a year. Several were burials of lesser figures. These were usually only a man and one horse. Kurgan 11 had a man who apparently met a violent death in his 30s; a woman who died later; and 13 horses, dressed in formal regalia before they were sacrificed. So many horses, found in a separate section of the pit, affirmed the man’s lofty social status. Their leather saddles with embroidered cloth survived, as well as bridle and other tack decorated with plaques of real and mythical animals — like griffins, which had the body of a tiger or lion with wings and the head of a bird. Soren Stark, an assistant professor of Central Asian art and archaeology at the N.Y.U. institute, said networks of contacts with the outside world were crucial to the political structure of the people throughout the Altai and Tianshan Mountains. On the most basic level, they moved with the seasons by horse and camel, tending the flocks of sheep and goats that gave them the meat, milk, wool and hides of their pastoral economy. To make the most out of grasslands that were only seasonally productive, they went in small family groups into the highland meadows for summer grazing and returned to the lowlands in winter. They crossed broad plains to avoid overgrazing any one marginal pasture. At their late autumn and winter campsites, herders assembled in large groups and engaged in tribal hunts and rituals. The exhibition includes bronze caldrons, presumably for preparing communal feasts, and several bronze stands, including one with a seated man holding a cup and facing a horse, that have the experts puzzled. Equally enigmatic are the symbols on rock faces that perhaps mark sacred places. From the camps, parties of mounted warriors set out to raid settlements, both to supplement their meager resources and to obtain luxury goods coveted by their leaders. Dr. Stark said the nomad elite considered such goods necessities to be displayed and distributed to key followers “to build up and sustain their political power.” As their networks widened, foreign influences, notably Persian, began to appear in nomadic artifacts from the sixth to the fourth centuries B.C. The griffin, for example, originated in the West by way of the Persian Empire, centered in what is now Iran; the nomads modified it to have two heads of birds of prey topped by elk horns. Beginning in the third century B.C., Chinese luxury items, like the Wusun diadem, appeared in nomad burials, mainly associated with Han dynasty. According to Chinese accounts, the Wusun nomads may have furthered contacts between Central Asian nomads and Han China, at the time expanding westward and in need of horses in its campaign against borderland rivals. For all their networking, the nomads of the first millennium B.C. never failed to apply imaginative touches to the foreign artifacts they acquired. Dr. Chi, the curator, said the nomads transformed others’ fantastic animals into even more fantastic versions: boars curled in teardrop shapes and griffins that seemed to change their parts in a single image. By these enigmatic symbols, a prewriting culture communicated its worldview from a vast and ungenerous land that it could never fully tame — any more than these people of the horse were ever ready to settle down. REVIEW: If you fly nonstop from New York to Tokyo, you fly over the Arctic Circle. The view from the plane at -59 degrees is raw and beautiful – huge moving masses of white and gray clouds, water, ice and snow. It is hard to believe that there is or was human habitation in this area. And yet the steppes of Kazakhstan – the taigas, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, mountains, snow-capped mountains, and deserts – lie not so very far beneath. It is a vast wild landscape. And when you step into the exhibition areas of this new exhibit, “Nomads and Networks,” the first in North America to display objects from the nomadic cultures of Eastern Kazakhstan’s Altai and Tianshan regions, from roughly the Eighth to First Century’s B.C., the objects still retain that quality of wildness. A signature piece on exhibit of brilliant metal, gold and bronze is the enigmatic cat face over what the catalog calls the “stylized ornament” connected to horse tack. It is small but shines brilliantly in the compact museum exhibit rooms. The eye is drawn to it and stays there. Somehow not what one would expect of a wild nomad far from civilization. The exhibit features over 250 items, most of which are small, even tiny figurines furiously ornate, carefully worked, and require the viewer to pay close attention in order to see. Objects which one might think of as workaday cooking pots are decorated with the delicately realized legs of horned sheep. The exactly named “round tray on conical stand” is embellished with the minute figures of two wolves and two ravens around an ibex with sixteen snow leopards around the rim. No doubt it is functional; it is also airy and delicate. An object which appears to be strictly ornamental but which also resembles its working cousin with the leopards around the rim is a tray on a conical stand with a mounted archer in the center and fifteen horned animals around the rim. The mounted archer with a conical cap and drawn bow, luxuriously garbed, very tiny, is also exquisitely worked as is his horse. I stayed by that piece for a long time—it was worth the attention. So, the objects on display are functional; decorative; and one in particular below seems to have the sense of the numinous. These petroglyph- stylized images of masked people, carved on rocks, are reminiscent of the caves at Lascaux. They also make it clear that this was a society “with a sense of beauty and complexity and one which might have depicted the sacred as well as the mundane.” I would be remiss if I failed to note objects which may provide another form of the numinous: a pipe for smoking hemp, with eight pebbles. Religious? Recreation? Hallucination? Both? “Nomads and Networks” has been installed according to the narrative themes of the Environment, Society and Ritual, Networks, and the Site of Berel. I am indebted to the catalog for the very precise description of the qualities of the objects on display. REVIEW: For me, Kazakhstan is first of all a beautiful and stunning landscape: wide open, green grasslands; glittering, crystal-blue rivers and lakes; and high mountains in the east and the Caspian Sea in the west. A country four times bigger than Texas and almost the size of India, Kazakhstan is rich with history and home to wild tulips, oil, nomads who still hunt with golden eagles, and more than one hundred nationalities. Bordering Russia to the north and China to the east, Kazakhstan is today the world’s ninth largest country and has emerged as one of the most fascinating places in Central Asia. "Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan", on view in the Sackler from August 11 through November 12, 2012, features spectacular finds from recent excavations that provide a unique window into the archaeology and cultures of Kazakhstan. The exhibition invites viewers to think about the ways nomadic and more sedentary cultures lived together. How did members of the elite represent themselves through burials of their leaders? Why was the horse so elaborately dressed and valued as a friend and partner? The exhibition was conceptualized, developed, and organized by New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in collaboration with the Ministries of Culture and Information and of Science and Education, Republic of Kazakhstan, and four major national museums in Kazakhstan and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington, DC. It marks the first time that ancient artifacts from the very heart of Asia will be displayed in the nation’s capital. We will complement it with related special programming including gallery talks, lectures, a concert, ImaginAsia family programs, and films. On Bento, we will cover some of the exciting discoveries made in Kazakhstan. Claudia Chang, professor at Sweet Briar College and one of the preeminent US archaeologists working in Kazakhstan today, has been exploring the sedentary places of the ancient people living in the Talgar region since 1994. This summer, Claudia excavates at the site of Tuzusai in eastern Kazakhstan, near the old capital of Almaty. Beginning next week, she will regularly blog her experiences in the field. REVIEW: Claudia Chang, professor of archaeology at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, is director of an international field research project on the archaeology of the Iron Age in the Republic of Kazakhstan. She has been a Fulbright Teaching Fellow at Kazakh State University and wrote an article in the catalogue for Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan, on view in the Sackler August 11–November 12, 2012. Throughout the exhibition, Claudia will share her field work with us on Bento. In late May, the temperature in the region of Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, can range from the 50s in the early morning to the high 80s by noon. The winter wheat is a foot high and sways in the gentle breeze. Outside our little village 21 km (13 miles) from Almaty, large fields of soy crop have been seeded. The seedlings are about 2 inches in height. For a survey archaeologist the conditions are ideal; we can still walk between the rows of soy crop looking for ancient ceramics, sheep and cattle bones, broken river cobbles, and grinding stones. As we walk transect after transect in fields that are almost a kilometer (0.6 miles) in length, we inspect the soft, crunchy topsoil known as “loess” for ancient artifacts. Loess is wind-blown glacial mud that was deposited millennia ago and covers the gently sloping valley just below the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range, which along with the Hindu Kush, Himalayas, and Pamirs form the highest peaks in Eurasia. This thick layer of loess is pay dirt for today’s farmers as it was for the Iron Age farmers and herders of the first millennium BCE. It is rich in nutrients and in this semi-arid climate is excellent for crops or pastureland. During the Soviet period, which ended in the early 1990s, many of these fields were planted by collectives; now the land is privatized or managed by cooperatives. Soviet period and contemporary agriculture have been a boon to the survey archaeologist. Tractors used to cultivate the fields have churned up the topsoil, and buried artifacts have been plowed up and exposed to rain and the elements. We often think that the richest scatters of artifacts, 50 or more pieces of ancient bones or sherds per 10-meter (33-foot) radius, are the places where the plow has dug into an ancient settlement or burial mound. In uncultivated patches of land, it is still possible to see large Iron Age burial mounds, or kurgans, constructed of layers of earth and rocks that cover the burial pits or shafts where elite members of society were buried. In groups of 3 to 9, these burial mounds line old stream beds near the scatters of sherds and bones found on surveys. The Iron Age kurgans were treasure troves of valuable artifacts before they were robbed in antiquity and in the recent past. Today, they are visible markers of the graves of important members of Iron Age society, the aristocratic elites. Who were these elites and how did they earn their wealth and status? Many of the hundreds of kurgans located in the Talgar region where we work have been destroyed by modern development of roads, construction, and large-scale industrial agriculture. But even though it has been flattened by modern farm machinery, a destroyed kurgan can sometimes be found as a tiny rise in a plowed agriculture field, and it is possible that the grave shaft is still intact. When we find traces of kurgans or scatters of artifacts, we record their locations using a GPS device. Nowadays we can accurately pinpoint the location of a single ceramic sherd using satellite readings from our handheld GPS. When we return from six hours of field walking, these points can be plotted on Google Earth images that show the exact contours of the fields. By recording even a single grinding stone or ceramic fragment, we have traced out the boundaries of settlements that might lay buried below the plowed surfaces. The combination of field walking with the use of contemporary technology allows us to reconstruct how the ancient nomads and farmers of the Iron Age altered the natural landscapes of our study region. More than 35 years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I learned how to find sites in the American Southwest by looking for artifact scatters on the desert and mountainous terrain of Arizona. In those days each site location had to be located on US Geological Survey topographic maps, using a Brunton compass to triangulate our position by aligning it with mountain peaks or stream bends. It could sometimes take 15 minutes or longer to pinpoint an exact location. These days we can just walk along with a notebook, a GPS unit, and some collection bags. I find it astounding that new high-speed computing, satellite imagery, and good hard field work can produce excellent results that tell us more about the landscapes used by ancient people, the size of their settlements, and the nature of their ceremonial and burial practices. As an old school friend tells me, “It seems to me that doing archaeology is like solving a big puzzle that requires detective work.” After a long day of walking amongst the soy plants, there is nothing better than being able to come home, plot our artifact scatters or kurgan locations on a Google Earth map, and see the pieces fit together. REVIEW: Spectacular finds from the heart of Central Asia, from early stone petroglyphs marking important locations to gold- and bronze adorned offering stands. The focus is on the relationships between nomads and between nomads and their environment. The finest objects are from burial sites in the valleys of the Altai Mountains. REVIEW: Spectacular gold objects and monumental gilded horns dating from the first millennium BCE were excavated in recent years from burial mounds (kurgans) in the vast grasslands and steppes of Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia. These finds, many never before shown in the United States, constitute a brilliant introduction to the nomadic and settlement cultures of the ancient peoples in Kazakhstan. On view are more than 150 objects that reveal a powerful and highly sophisticated culture with strategic migratory routes and active networks of communication and exchange. The exhibition also explores a form of Eurasian nomadism centered around an elite culture of horseback warfare, as well as illuminate the central role of horses in Pazyryk culture. REVIEW: “Nomads and Networks” is the first U.S. exhibition to provide a comprehensive overview of the fascinating nomadic culture of the peoples of eastern Kazakhstan’s Altai and Tianshan regions from roughly the eighth to first centuries BCE. With over 250 objects on loan from Kazakhstan’s four national museums, the exhibition provides a compelling portrait that challenges the traditional view of these nomadic societies as less developed than sedentary ones. Artifacts on view in the exhibition range from bronze openwork offering stands, superbly decorated with animal and human figures; to petroglyphs that marked important places in the landscape; to dazzling gold adornments that signaled the social status of those who wore them. REVIEW: Spectacular finds from the very heart of Central Asia and the ancient Eurasian steppe cultures form the basis of Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan challenging traditional views of early nomadic societies. From early stone petroglyphs carved with human and animal forms to mark important locations, to offering stands made of bronze and dazzling gold adornments that affirm trade networks throughout Central Asia and beyond, these excavated objects help to place the ancient cultures of Kazakhstan within the network of the wider ancient world in the 1st millennium BC. Of particular interest are the complex relationships and networks made between nomads, more sedentary cultures and their natural environment and materials available in the landscape. Thanks to the region's permafrost conditions, burial sites have preserved rare organic materials for centuries. An elite burial site at Berel, located in the Bukhtarma River Valley of the Altai Mountains of eastern Kazakhstan, reveals insights into this long-hidden culture. One burial mound (kurgan) at Berel yielded the remains of a thirteen horses that had been interred with their owner, who must have been an important person of high status. This landmark exhibition presents some of the most significant archaeological discoveries made in Kazakhstan over the last fifteen years, with more than 150 objects on display. REVIEW: The Sackler Gallery’s exhibit Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan shows the cultural complexity of inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe about 2500 years ago. These peoples are commonly envisioned as pastoral nomads and horse-mounted warriors roaming across the steppe. The entrance to the exhibit highlights poignantly a bronze tray upon which a lone man, seated cross-legged, seems to be fixed in eye-nose communication with a bridled horse. He has a straight-backed, proud posture. At the same time, from waist up his body is pitched forward slightly toward the horse. He holds a cup ambiguously for himself or for the horse. Eurasian pastoral nomads were not just horse people. The Begash culture of southeastern Kazakhstan was herding sheep and goats about 4500 years ago. The Begash had domesticated horses from at least 4000 years ago. Yet they had few horses. Measured by animals remains found, the share of horses in their livestock remained below 6% until about 1950 years ago. Horses were not a prominent feature of the early Begash pastoral lifestyle. The bronze tray is not just a man communing with a horse. The horse has a hole in its back. The cup that the man is holding has no bottom. Rods with some other assemblages seemed to have been attached to the horse and to the man’s cup. Other similar bronze trays on display apparently were made within a culture of complex symbols and abstract ideas. For example, another tray has at its center a fallen ibex with open eyes. Two wolves arranged nearly face-to-face eat the ibex. At a right angle to the line of wolves are a line of two ravens, watching. Circling the whole scene along the circumference of the tray are sixteen snow leopards. Another tray has four winged felines also in linear-perpendicular arrangement. Given these obviously related artifacts, the man communing with the horse apparently was much more culturally complex than just a representation of affection and mutual dependence between human and horse. Nomads and Networks exhibits ancient Kazakh culture with thought-provoking subtlety. The second room of the exhibit features artifacts from a kurgan (burial mound) in Berel in eastern Kazakhstan. Buried within that kurgan was a 40-year-old man, the man’s 65-year-old mother, and thirteen horses. The horses were buried wearing lavish, intricate horse tack. That tack included a headdress giving the horses large, carved-wood, gold-plated ibex horns. This was a horse culture with a death vision of the horse transformed into a bejeweled ibex. Mobile pastoralists in the Eurasian steppe 2500 years ago connected the Achaemenid Persian Empire to the Chinese Wusun people. The third room of the exhibition shows the exquisite gold Kargaly diadem that includes Wusun dragon motifs. A monumental bronze cauldron-adornment features a pair of winged ibexes with upward-bent s-shaped wings. These are similar to figures found at the Achaeminid capital Persepolis. Most immediately impressive are massive bronze caldrons, each with three, jointed legs pitching them at a slight angle. One cauldron has on its upper leg sections figures of tigers holding in their mouths the lower legs. These do not seem like cauldrons made for washing clothes and cooking soup. They appear to have symbolic-communicative ritual motivation like that of ancient Chinese bronzes. Mobile pastoralists of the Eurasian steppe experienced a remote, majestic natural world. But they did not live only in that idyllic world. They were also connected to the mainstream of ancient civilizations’ technological and cultural developments. Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan is a superb exhibit well-worth making a special effort to see. The artifacts on display are rarely seen outside of Kazakhstan. The exhibit, which consists of only three small rooms, opens new vistas of understanding as large as the central Eurasian steppe. The exhibition is on display at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery through November 12, 2012. A book also entitled Nomads and Networks contains the exhibit catalog and related scholarly essays. REVIEW: "Nomads and Networks” accompanies a very timely exhibition which should spark increased interest in Kazakhstan, the region's art, and its role in shaping the societies of Central Asia. The book's design is excellent, the image reproductions are well done, and the introduction does a fine job tying the diverse chapters together. [Michael Frachetti, Washington University in St. Louis]. REVIEW: It is time for a pop quiz on Kazakhstani history. Going back more than 2000 years ago, the peoples who called what is present-day Kazakhstan home were: A) Blood-thirsty barbarians. B) Uncultured nomads who wandered the Steppe. C) Mainly farmers who also raised cattle and horses in year-round settlements. D) A and B. The answer may be closer to the third option (C) than previously believed, according to Claudia Chang, an archeologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, who has been conducting digs in Kazakhstan’s Semirechye region, just outside Almaty, for nearly 20 years. Recent findings suggest that the ancient nomadic societies of the Steppe operated in ways that do not bear much resemblance to the brutal and rudimentary picture of life that continues to linger in the popular imagination. Chang has published her findings, along with works by eight other specialists, in a new monograph on Iron-Age archeology in Kazakhstan. The book, titled “Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan,” was published by Princeton University Press earlier this year, in conjunction with an eponymous museum exhibition. Originally installed at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, the Nomads and Networks exhibition sought to place artifacts from the Saka, Wusun and Pazyryk cultures of the first millennium BC within the context of other nearby early cultures in Persia and China. Objects like the intricate Wusun Diadem, a golden latticework inlaid with turquoise- and coral-specked animals; and dozens of gold cat and ibex plaques from Shilikty in the Tarbagatai Mountains were selected partly to show off their similarity to Persian and Chinese imagery, influences that were shared mainly through trade. Winged creatures – half-eagle, half-deer, for instance – are among the elements that were shared between Central Asian motifs and those in Persia, according to Soeren Stark, co-curator of the Nomads and Networks exhibition and a contributor to the book. The items can be traced to China, as well. Displaying the trove of intricate golden objects made by the Steppe tribes served another function: to provide a corrective to those who, throughout history, have offered less-than-flattering portrayals of ancient Central Asian societies. “The view that nomads are uncivilized, barbaric – no,” said Stark. “This is a very developed culture, very developed arts.” "Nomadic elites were in close interaction [with other cultures],” Stark continued. “There was trade going on, they were serving in the Persian army.” Ancient chroniclers were not so kind. Among their prominent characterizations, the Saka are described by contemporary Han Chinese sources as “those blue-eyed barbarians,” Chang said. The ancient Greek chronicler Herodotus, meanwhile, detailed their sacrifice practices in a graphic, grizzly manner that likely did not endear them to later readers. And, since the Steppe tribes themselves left no known written records, studying what they left behind is doubly important, noted Stark. “Archeology becomes a very important research tool because we have to go beyond the stereotypes that we read from their secondary neighbors,” he explained. The museum exhibition appears to be part of a coordinated Kazakhstani government effort to fix Kazakhstan’s present-day international image as a modern economic and cultural hub in Central Asia that is also moving in the global mainstream. Support for the project was provided by a variety of Kazakhstani state agencies, including the embassy in Washington, Kazakhstan’s Central State Museum and the Presidential Center of Culture. After New York, the exhibition traveled to the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler galleries in Washington. At the opening there, then-ambassador, now-Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov touted the “beauty, elegance and sophistication of the work done by my Kazakh ancestors who made such a great, yet unsung contribution to the development of civilization." The comments were posted on the Kazakhstani embassy’s website. Two chapters of the “Nomads and Networks” monograph focus primarily on recent discoveries at Berel in the Altai Mountains. Dozens of kurgans, or burial mounds, have yielded a bevy of artifacts, including wool, wood, and other organic objects, preserved by a layer of permafrost. Other finds in Berel range from gilded horns and tack ornaments worn by horses to the remains of the horses themselves; and those they were meant to carry – a pair of male and female relatives, according to DNA analysis. The Berel kurgans are also hailed by some as the crowning archeological achievement in independent Kazakhstan’s short history. The picture they paint of ancient nomadic life is one that many modern-day Kazakhstanis want to see, says Chang. But, she cautioned, the kurgan excavations yielded information mainly about how members of the elite horseman class of ancient Saka society lived and died. The mounds do not reveal much about how the commoners of Saka society existed. “It’s kind of like dealing with the 1-percenters,” Chang said, comparing members of the Saka elite to today’s top earners in the United States. “The fact is, it wasn’t just people marauding with their horses. … The more we learn about nomads, the more we realize how cliché that term is. There were a variety of economic strategies.” In her part of the Nomads and Networks project, a published essay and a blog, Chang outlined her theories of Saka and Wusun life based on less flashy evidence. Searching through the remains of farming settlements and relying on work done to identify animal remains, she has concluded that regular people often stayed in one place, contributing food, and perhaps manpower, to the warrior elite’s armies. “The way that it has been put to me [by my Kazakh friends] is ‘we are a nomadic civilization,’” says Chang. “But for a historian, that’s almost like a contradiction in terms.” A curator at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler galleries, Alexander Nagel, took a stab at how artifacts in the exhibition can align with Chang's theory. "When you imagine how many artists took part on this production, you also get the idea of what kind of life it was," he said. "Who were the artists? The whole community took part in the construction of these kurgans." REVIEW: Claudia Chang, professor of archaeology at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, is director of an international field research project on the archaeology of the Iron Age in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Throughout the exhibition Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan, on view in the Sackler until November 12, 2012, Claudia will share tales from her ongoing fieldwork with us on Bento. Tuzusai, the little village in Kazakhstan where our team is researching Iron Age burial sites, flourished this summer. The fruit trees were full with ripening cherries, both sour early cherries and sweet late cherries. Wild and domesticated apricots, raspberries, black and red currants, and gooseberries were all ready to be picked; a high school student told us he planned to lay the apricots out to dry on the tin roof of his dacha. Our young neighbor Lyuba stopped by one day after work with two freshwater fish she had just caught in Lake Kapchigai. The wheat turned yellow and the soy plants reached almost a foot tall. The bounty of today’s Kazakhstan is a reminder of how rich and fertile the Talgar region must have been more than two thousand years ago. Rob Spengler, a paleo-ethnobotanist, has taken soil samples from trash pits, pit house fill (remains after the pit house dwelling collapsed), and ancient hearths at the site of Tuzusai. In 2008, 2009, and 2010 he washed these soil samples using a method called flotation, where the light particles of ancient carbonized seeds are separated from the soil matrix. He has found millet, barley, wheat, and even grape pips. The idea that the Saka and Wusun people of the first millennia BCE grew cereal crops, as well as kept sheep, goats, cattle, and horses, has changed our perspective on early nomadic cultures. There is subtle evidence that the diets of ancient people of Kazakhstan were highly variable, including plants, fish, birds, and other wild animals, as well as the meat and milk of their livestock. In our area, the Ili River runs for hundreds of miles from western China and empties into Lake Balkhash. Fish and other river and marsh resources must have been important in ancient times. During one of our digs, we found some broken pieces of spindle whorls, small ceramic disks with perforated centers. (When I couldn’t think of the word in Russian for “spindle whorl,” I made the motion of using a drop spindle for spinning wool into thread. Lyuba immediately understood.) Finds of such domestic objects remind us that nomads were members of household groups. How important were women to the basic economy? Did they spin the hair and wool fibers for the clothing worn by an entire household, as the ancient Mayan women apparently did? Who made the large storage vessels, sometimes dripping them with red slip and glaze? Sometimes the elite burial sites, with their magnificent inventories of gold and silver ornamentation, can cloud our visions of the everyday lives of the commoners. But during the bountiful months of the summer, planting gardens, tending to livestock, fishing, gathering berries and wild fruit, putting up stores for the winter, and repairing their mud-brick houses must have been the average Iron Age person’s main concerns. Our work at Tuzusai, often hot, tiring, and dusty, reminds us again of a simple life. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: The book is a collection of academic papers mixed together with quite a lot of good full color photographs of archaeological artifacts from Kazakhstan. Having read a few similar books I was very pleased with these photographs as it was actually possible to make out what you are looking at and many objects looked very impressive. Another aspect I found pleasing was the quality of the location maps provided, again an aspect that books of this type have tended to neglect, but not here, it was always possible to see accurately what region a particular item was found in and to thus develop a picture of the spatial distribution of various features and associated cultures. The academic articles are written by both western and local writers and this highlighted the contrast in what is regarded as scholarship in different academic cultures. The western authors tending to pull their reports down into a tedious mire of academic references. The Russian/Asian authors just writing concise descriptions and having the confidence to give an opinion without feeling the need to put this opinion into a framework of previous opinions. Despite the western academic style of some contributors, and the main editor, the book did educate as the quality photographs did fascinate. REVIEW: Nomads and Networks is a very timely book on a subject covered all too rarely by English speaking archaeologists. The essays are very well written, and the photography is quite wonderful for those pieces actually printed full page. There are a number of photos of excavations in progress that are really exceptional as well. All in all it's a good book. If you have an interest in the archaeology of Central Asian nomadic cultures, it's a good find. REVIEW: A great book on Animal Style Art of Kazakhstan and the research there for the past two decades. REVIEW: Five stars! Superb! I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $12.99 to $33.99 for an insuredshipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). However this book is quite heavy, and it is too large to fit into a flat rate mailer. Therefore the shipping costs are somewhat higher than what is otherwise ordinary. There is a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." TRANSLATE Arabic Chinese French German Greek Indonesian Italian Hindi Japanese Korean Swedish Portuguese Russian Spanish Condition: NEW albeit with very mild shelfwear to dustjacket. See detailed description below., Material: Paper, Pages: 200 pages, Provenance: Ancient Steppes Kazakhstan

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