Michael Frachetti

VRS 2012-13

Michael Frachetti earned his M.Phil in Archaeology from Cambridge University (1999), and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania (2004). He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis. His research centers around the development of complex economic and social systems in Central and Inner Asia during the Bronze and Iron Ages, especially among nomadic pastoralists and their neighbors. His first book, Pastoralist Landscapes and Social Interaction in Bronze Age Eurasia (2008, U. California Press) dealt with the ecology and regional interactions of mobile pastoralist societies living in the mountains of Inner Asia and their cultural and economic relationships with other communities across the Eurasian steppe from the 3rd to 1st millennia BC. Since 2002 he has co-directed the Dzhungar Mountains Archaeology project, studying nomadic sites in the Semirech'ye region of Kazakhstan. In 2008 he expanded his field work as the co-director of the MALGUZAAR project in south eastern Uzbekistan, studying the development of nomadic adaptations in the mountainous regions of southern Central Asia from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period.

While at ISAW, he will be writing a book entitled Ancient Inner Asia, to be published by Cambridge University Press. As part of the established monograph series "Case Studies in Early Societes", Ancient Inner Asia will present a synthetic view of the dynamic rise of complex civilization across Inner Asia, starting over 8000 years ago and ending at the dawn of the historical era (ca. 200 BC). The geographic coverage of this research spans from Turkmenistan in the southwest to the Altai mountains in the northeast, and will provide a comprehensive view of the major prehistoric developments from Central Asia to Western China, and many points in between. The focus of this work is the connecting communities that occupied the vast territory of the mountains, deserts, and steppelands of Inner Asia and their influence on the rise of complex economies and social institutions in the prehistoric period.