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The Zaraa Uul habitation sites are the biggest in terms of lithic scatter and assemblages.

Prior to this study, knowledge of Gobi Desert prehistory was mostly limited to early and mid-20th century descriptions of undated stone tool assemblages from unanalyzed museum collections.

This research focuses on the use of extensive existing museum collections to establish a baseline chronology of technology, economy, and land-use for prehistoric Gobi Desert groups.

Results indicate that a dramatic shift in land-use after about 8000 years ago was related to a combination of widespread forestation and the increased productivity of lowland habitats during a period of high effective moisture.

Hunter-gatherers organized their movements around dune-field/wetland environments, but utilized a range of both high- and low-ranked foods such as large ungulates from adjoining plains and uplands, and seeds and/or tubers from dune-fields and wetlands.

Radiocarbon and luminescence dating is used to establish an artefact-based chronology and provide a relative age for 96 archaeological site assemblages.

Interpretations of land-use derived from lithic analysis are compared to detailed regional and local palaeoenvironmental records in order to contextualize residential mobility and subsistence.

I am a palaeoecologist interested in the relationship between hunter-gatherer land-use and ecological state shifts (both human and climatically driven).

This includes developing an understanding of how social factors, in particular trade and enhanced materialism influenced social organization during the Holocene.

Based on lithic density, we carried out two test excavations within the Zaraa Uul 2 scatter, which yielded cultural layers that contained stone tools, pottery sherds, and animal bones.

Results of radiocarbon AMS (14C) on ceramic and bone suggest that Test Unit 1 is likely associated with the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, whereas Test Unit 2 is very clearly related to the Early Neolithic.

The desert and arid steppes of Mongolia and northern China were geographically central to the spread of pastoralism and the rise of pastoralist states, but research on the organizational strategies of pre-pastoralist hunter-gatherers and the spread of herding has been extremely limited.

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