Kazakh Variations for Herders and Animals in the Mongolian Altai: Methodological Contributions to the Study of Nomadic Pastoralism

Marchina, Charlotte; Zazzo, Antoine; Lazzerini, Nicolas; Coulon, Aurélie; Lepetz, Sébastien; Bayarkhuu, Noost; Turbat, Tsagaan; Noûs, Camille. 2022. “Kazakh Variations for Herders and Animals in the Mongolian Altai: Methodological Contributions to the Study of Nomadic Pastoralism”. in Nomadic Peoples, Vol. 26, N°1, Mars 2022, pp.33-60

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“Kazakh herders of the Mongolian Altai practice a form of nomadism characterised by high altitudinal amplitude and more frequent movements than in other regions of Mongolia. This paper proposes a local scale study of nomadic practices using an original multidisciplinary methodological approach combining anthropological surveys and several years’ GPS data tracking of five herder families’ herds. The dialogue between geo-localised and qualitative data over several consecutive years makes it possible to better understand the environmental, economic, social and individual factors that determine nomadic routes and calendars. It also highlights the ways in which herders cope with interannual variations. In particular, this new methodology reveals the importance of temporary herd separations and re-evaluates the frequency of nomadic movements, which might have been underestimated by the classical anthropological approach.” (source : ingentaconnect.com)

Charlotte Marchina est maître de conférence et anthropologue à l’Inalco

Nomadic Pastoralism among the Mongol Herders

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Nomadic Pastoralism among the Mongol Herders: Multispecies and Spatial Ethnography in Mongolia and Transbaikalia is based on anthropological research carried out by the author between 2008 and 2016 and addresses the spatial features of nomadic pastoralism among the Mongol herders of Mongolia and Southern Siberia from a cross-comparative perspective. In addition to classical methods of survey, Charlotte Marchina innovatively used GPS recordings to analyze the ways in which pastoralists envision and concretely occupy the landscape, which they share with their animals and invisible entities. The data, represented in abundant and original cartography, provides a better understanding of the mutual adaptations of both herders and animals in the common use of unfenced pastures, not only between different herders but between different species. The author also highlights the herders’ adaptive strategies at a time of rapid sociopolitical and environmental changes in this area of the world. (source : Amesterdam University Press)

Charlotte Marchina is an anthropologist and Associate Professor in Mongolian Studies at Inalco, Paris. Her research on nomadic pastoralism in Mongolia and Southern Siberia bridges social and environmental sciences and explores multimodal ways of producing and transferring knowledge on human-animal relations (multispecies ethnography, GPS tracking, photography).

The isotope record (δ13C, δ18O) of vertical mobility in incremental tissues (tooth enamel, hair) of modern livestock: A reference set from the Mongolian Altai

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2021 : N. Lazzerini, A. Coulon, L. Simon, C. Marchina, D. Fiorillo, Ts. Turbat, N. Bayarkhuu, C. Noûs, S. Lepetz, A. Zazzo, «
The isotope record (δ13C, δ18O) of vertical mobility in incremental tissues (tooth enamel, hair) of modern livestock : A reference set from the Mongolian Altai », Quaternary International, doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2021.04.008.

Identifying the isotopic signatures of vertical mobility and alpine meadows exploitation in the teeth of domesticated animals can be a key to understanding the subsistence strategies used by pastoral communities through history. Indeed, the oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotopic composition of sequentially sampled tooth enamel, used alone or in combination have been commonly employed to investigate altitudinal mobility and alpine exploitation. However, conflicting interpretations of the outcomes of these analyses exist, due in part to the paucity of modern reference datasets. In this study, we propose a new reference set, composed of GPS monitored sheep, goats and horses from the Mongolian Altai, to investigate the influence of vertical mobility and mean grazing altitude, on the C and O isotopic compositions of sequentially sampled tooth enamel and on the C isotopic composition of horse tail hair. We found that δ13C values were negatively correlated with the mean grazing altitude and time of residency of alpine meadows. Although no correlation was found between the average δ18O values of tooth enamel and mean grazing altitude, vertically mobile livestock had a higher intra-tooth range in δ18O values than vertically immobile livestock, possibly reflecting the ingestion of isotopically more diverse sources of water. Moreover, the coefficient of the correlation between δ13C and δ18O values of tooth enamel was – although weakly – negatively correlated with the standard deviation of the animal mean grazing altitude (i.e. reflecting the frequency of altitudinal mobility). These results confirm that δ13C and δ18O analyses of tooth enamel and tail hair can be used to infer animal mobility and land use in modern and ancient times. (source : ScienceDirect)

Charlotte Marchina est maître de conférence et anthropologue à l’Inalco

New perspectives for Mongolian studies in France

Friday 22 April, 2022

Meeting between French Mongolists and the National University of Mongolia, on the occasion of the visit to Paris of Mr. Zayabaatar, director of the National Institute of Mongolian Studies at the National University of Mongolia (MUIS).

Date: April 22, 2022, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Location: Campus Condorcet (93322 Aubervilliers – GED & Bâtiment des colloques, room 100)/online

Organisation : Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL, UMR 8582 – CNRS – EPHE – PSL), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), École pratique des hautes études (EPHE/PSL), Institut Français de Recherche sur l’Asie de l’Est (IFRAE, UMR 8043 – Inalco – Université Paris Cité – CNRS)

Connection link: https://www.gotomeet.me/IsabelleCharleux


10:00 a.m.: Opening: Mrs Nyamkhuu Ulambayar, Ambassador of Mongolia in France

Roberte Hamayon: The history of Mongol studies in France, the Center for Mongolian and Siberian
Studies (CEMS) and the journal Études mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines(EMSCAT)

Charlotte Marchina: Mongolian studies at INALCO (Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations).

Grégory Delaplace: a project of European network of Mongolian studies

Charlotte Marchina: The ANR projects MOBISTEPPE and PASTODIV.

Isabelle Charleux: The French-Korean IRN (International Research Network) project “Mongol studies at the Crossroads: Korean-French Perspectives”

Presentation of individual researches.

12:00: Visit of the Grand Equipement Documentaire (GED), Condorcet Campus.

Date of death of domestic caprines assessed by oxygen isotopic analysis of developing molars: Implications for deciphering the calendar of pastoral activities in prehistory

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N. Lazzerini, A. Zazzo, A. Coulon, Ts. Turbat, C. Marchina, S. Lepetz, « Date of death of domestic caprines assessed by oxygen isotopic analysis of developing molars : Implications for deciphering the calendar of pastoral activities in prehistory », Journal of Archaeological Science, 120

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The assessment of the date of death (DOD) of animals found in archaeological sites provides insights into the exploitation of their environment by ancient mobile and sedentary populations. In an attempt to overcome the limitations of the traditional methods, we determine the DOD of domestic caprines using sequential oxygen isotope analysis of developing tooth enamel. We built a reference set composed of developing molars from 14 modern sheep and goats from Western and Central Mongolia with known DOD. The teeth were sequentially sampled, and δ18O sequences were modelled using a cosine function in order to position the lowermost δ18O value (δf) within the annual cycle. We found that δf values are strongly linearly correlated with the DOD (R2 = 0.88), allowing the use of this regression to estimate the DOD with a precision of about ±25 d (1σ). This method was applied to determine the DOD of caprines found in two graves in the Xiongnu necropolis of Egiin Gol, Mongolia. We determined a slaughter date of late July and late September for the two graves, respectively, suggesting that burial occurred during the warm season. By combining this information with age at death assessed using tooth eruption stages and tooth wear patterns, we were also able to determine that caprine birth occurred mostly in April and was strongly controlled within this seasonal window by the herders, much like in Mongolia today. (source)

Charlotte Marchina est maître de conférence et anthropologue à l’Inalco