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An interdisciplinary investigation of the longterm provencal and alpine livestock management: the intersection of bioarchaeology, palaeoecology and cultural archaeology

Abstract : From ritual, commercial to pastoral activities, domestic animals have played a major role in the use and trajectories of mountain landscapes over the last seven millennia in the Alps. However, for two decades, alpine archaeological research has rarely moved beyond the simple identification of past human activities, rather than their characterisation and the concomitant assessment of practices and techniques. The reasons for this are many; perhaps most significant is the relative dearth of archaeological and zooarchaeological evidence in the high-altitude zones. The European research project PATHWAy (A*MIDEX-France and ARHC-UK) focuses on studying the diversity of past livestock management strategies and their impacts on landscapes from the Iron Age to medieval times, from the Western Alps to the Provençal plains. In this interdisciplinary study, the intersection of bioarchaeological (studies of fauna, isotope analyses) and paleoenvironmental (sedDNA, palynology) methods, combined with cultural archaeology, aims to highlight: (1) the animal resources exploited, (2) the mobility patterns of domesticated species (3) the high altitude areas exploited as mountain pastures and the responses (e.g. degradation, resilience, resistance, adaptation) of the vegetation communities and erosion dynamics in these grazing areas and finally, (4) the farming techniques and practices of the agro-pastoral communities of transalpine Gaul to the societies of Medieval times. This communication will present our analytical and integrative frameworks and the first results obtained, with a view to contributing to the history of Alpine pastoralism; a productive strategy that is a significant keystone agricultural undertaking of central importance not only for the Alps but for abutting European regions.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 7:10:46 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 4:06:09 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-03450136, version 1

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Juliette Knockaert, Katharina Dulias, Charline Giguet-Covex, Delphine Isoardi, Alistair Pike, et al.. An interdisciplinary investigation of the longterm provencal and alpine livestock management: the intersection of bioarchaeology, palaeoecology and cultural archaeology. 27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), Christian-Albrechts - Universität zu Kiel, Sep 2021, Kiel (Virtual), Germany. ⟨hal-03450136⟩

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