Mongolian “Neolithic” and Early Bronze Age ground stone tools from the northern edge of the Gobi Desert

  • Joan S. Schneider California State Parks (retired)
  • Tserendagva Yadmaa Mongolian Academy of Sciences
  • Thomas C. Hart University of Texas at Austin
  • Arlene M. Rosen University of Texas at Austin
  • Annelise Spiro Freelance Researcher
Keywords: ground stone tools, Mongolia, Neolithic, milling stones, Bronze Age, ancient plant residues

Abstract


The transition from the Mongolian Neolithic to the Bronze Age is not well understood. Within Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, over a period of five years, we identified a number of sites with dense surface artefact scatters and features that seem to represent this transition period. Evident in those concentrations are characteristic microblade cores, microblades, “thumbnail" flake scrapers, projectile points, ground stone tools, and stone features of unknown function. Between 2012 and 2014 we collected ground stone artefacts from four sites and sediment samples from three sites. With permission of Mongolian authorities, the artefacts from one site and sediment samples from three sites were sent for botanical analyses to the University of Texas, Austin, Environmental Archaeology Laboratory. Preliminary results indicate that plant remains are present on the ground stone artefacts: dendritic long-cells from a deep pore of one artefact and starch grains from the pores of six of the seven artefacts. These data present the first opportunity to understand what resources “Neolithic” people were processing with ground stone tools in this area and further our opportunity to better understand the little-known “Neolithic”-Early Bronze Age transition period in Central Asia. This paper describes the ground stone artefacts and further explores the results of data retrieved from some of these artefacts.

Author Biographies

Joan S. Schneider, California State Parks (retired)

Retired Associate State Archaeologist (retired)
California State Parks, Colorado Desert District
6595 Hawarden Drive
Riverside, CA, USA 

Consulting Archaeologist
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Earthwatch Institute Principal Investigator
Earthwatch Institute, Inc.

Tserendagva Yadmaa, Mongolian Academy of Sciences

Center for Archaeological Study
Institute of History and Archaeology
Mongolian Academy of Sciences
Ulaanbaatar-51
Mongolia.

Thomas C. Hart, University of Texas at Austin

Environmental Archaeology Laboratory
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
2201 Speedway Stop C3200, Austin, TX 78712
USA

Arlene M. Rosen, University of Texas at Austin

Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
2201 Speedway Stop C3200, Austin TX 78712
USA

Annelise Spiro, Freelance Researcher

Freelance Researcher
Limmatalstr.11, 8049 Zurich
Switzerland

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Published
31-Oct-2016
How to Cite
Schneider, J., Yadmaa, T., Hart, T., Rosen, A., & Spiro, A. (2016). Mongolian “Neolithic” and Early Bronze Age ground stone tools from the northern edge of the Gobi Desert. Journal of Lithic Studies, 3(3), 479-497. https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.v3i3.1641
Section
Papers Presented at the 1st Meeting of the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research