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The emergence and early utilization of domestic sheep in Xinjiang

Yue You / Peng Lü
  • Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100710 China
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Jianxin Wang / Jian Ma / Meng Ren
Published Online: 2018-11-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/char-2018-0017


This paper summarizes current zooarchaeological research on the origin of domestic sheep and early sheep exploitation strategies in Xinjiang. The researchers analyze sheep bones excavated from the Shirenzigou ( 石人子沟, lit. Stone Human Statue Gully) Site using zooarchaeological methods, including using pelvises to identify sex, and confirm that the sheep at Shirenzigou were domesticated sheep. Previous discoveries and archaeological research in Xinjiang provide background for the researchers’ arguments that the main ways ancient people exploited domestic sheep during the Bronze Age to early Iron Age included: consuming and producing meat, wool, hide and milk; using sheep in rituals such as funerary practices; and making bone artifacts out of sheep bones.

Keywords: Xinjiang; Bronze Age; early Iron Age; domestic sheep; zooarchaeology


The original paper published in Kaogu 考古 (Archaeology) 2016.12:104–14 with 13 illustrations including three line drawings, 10 color plates, and four tables was coauthored by Yue You 尤悦, Peng Lü 吕鹏, Jianxin Wang 王建新, Jian Ma 马健 and Meng Ren 任萌. This abridged version is prepared by Yue You and Peng Lü and translated into English by Katherine Brunson 博凯龄.


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-13

Published in Print: 2018-11-27

Citation Information: Chinese Archaeology, Volume 18, Issue 1, Pages 172–179, ISSN (Online) 2160-5068, ISSN (Print) 2160-5025, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/char-2018-0017.

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