How Burials Shaped Life and Death in Pazyryk Culture (4th-3rdc. BCE) in Eastern Eurasia
by Katheryn Linduff, Professor Emerita
History of Art & Architecture, University of Pittsburgh
From the perspective of an art historian and archaeologist, I hope to show how we can begin to understand the essential role that material culture played in a remote, non-literate culture such as Pazyryk located where mobile pastoral peoples lived and buried their dead in Siberia where present-day Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia come together. Exciting new finds and scientific examination of perfectly preserved goods found there in permafrost offer an opportunity to sharpen our understanding of the past and present a more credible picture of the Pazyryk people than the highly romanticized portrait of them presented by Herodotus and Sima Qian as warrior nomads who were constantly on the move raiding and terrorizing their neighbors.
Katheryn M. Linduff specializes in Eurasian and East Asian Art history and archaeology and holds appointments in both HAA and Anthropology (in Archaeology) at the University of Pittsburgh. She has written about the intersection between China and Eastern Eurasia, the rise of complex society, and the interplay of ethnic, cultural and gender identity with economic and political change. Her fieldwork in northeast Inner Mongolia and research has led to many books and papers.
The most recent: Ancient China and its Eurasian Neighbors: Artifacts, Identity and Death in the Frontier, with Sun Yan, Cao Wei, Liu Yuanqing (Cambridge University Press, 2018); Objects That Interconnect Ancient Asia: Essays in Honor of Emma C. Bunker,with Karen Rubinson (eds.), (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2018); Memory and Agency in Ancient China: Shaping the Life Histories of Objects, with Francis Allard and Sun Yan (eds.), (Cambridge University Press, 2018 in Press); Equids and Wheeled Vehicles in the Ancient World: Studies in Memory of Mary A. Littauer, with Peter Raulwing and Joost Crouwell (eds.), (Oxford: British Archaeological Review, 2019 in Press.
In progress: Ancient Pazyryk: Pastoralism and Complexity in the Altai Mountains,with Karen S. Rubinson. Abingdon, UK: Routledge Press, forthcoming.