A Death in the Imperial Frontier: A biocultural analysis of mobility and origins of a foreigner buried at Oğlanqala, Azerbaijan. Open Access

Nugent, Selin Elizabeth (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/j098zb85s?locale=en


During the late 1st c. BCE and early 1st c. CE, the Caucasus became a focus of attention for the Roman and Parthian Empires as tension rose between the powers over political influence in the region. Yet, archaeological evidence, particularly human remains, of their physical involvement in the Caucasus is sparse. At the site of Oğlanqala in Naxçivan, Azerbaijan, a pithos burial found containing an individual buried with artifacts of the Roman cultural sphere from the period may be a representative of the foreign presence attested by texts. In this project, I aim to assess the mobility and origins of the individual found buried in a pithos at Oğlanqala in a two-fold approach to the biological and material remains of an individual preserved in the archaeological record. Biochemical techniques are the primary methods used to determine locality as well as narrow the possible regions of origin. These results are then supported and elaborated though discussion of burial artifacts and textual history of the Caucasus. I hypothesize that the individual's skeletal remains and burial artifacts are of European origin and suggest possible reasons for his or her presence in the region.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Historical Background
    • 2.2 War, Revenge and Defeat: Early Roman involvement in the East
    • 2.3 Diplomacy and Bargaining: Rome and the East under Caesar Augustus
  3. Assessing Mobility in the Ancient Caucasus
    • 3.1 Methods of Assessing Movement in Antiquity
    • 3.2 Oxygen Isotopes as Evidence for Locality
    • 3.3 Materials and Methods
  4. Bioarchaeological Data
    • 4.1 Bone
    • 4.2 Dentition
    • 4.3 Oxygen Isotope Analysis
  5. Archaeological Data
    • 5.1 Ceramics
    • 5.2 Coins
    • 5.3 Finger Rings
    • 5.4 Glass
  6. Synthesis & Conclusions
  7. Bibliography

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