ISAW Research Associate Karen Rubinson Co-authored the new book Up in the Altai


Together with her colleague Katheryn M. Linduff, University of Pittsburgh, Research Associate Karen S. Rubinson wrote Pazyryk Culture Up in the Altai which was published in December 2021.

The book reconsiders the archaeology of the Pazyryk, the horse-riding people of the Altai Mountains who lived in the 4th–3rd centuries BCE, in light of recent scientific studies and excavations not only in Russia but also Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China, together with new theories of landscape. At the time of their excavation, the Pazyryk burials sparked great interest because of their wealth of organic remains, including tattooed bodies and sacrificed horses, together with superb wooden carvings and colorful textiles. In view of the new scientific research on subjects like the dyes used for the textiles and new technologies that, for example, revealed previously unseen tattoos, together with more recent excavations, the role of the Pazyryk Culture in the ancient globalized world can now be more focused and refined. In this synthetic study of the region, the Pazyryk Culture is set into the landscape using recent studies on climate, technology, human and animal DNA and local resources. It shows that this was a powerful, semi-sedentary, interdependent group with contacts in Eurasia to their west, and to their east in Mongolia and south in China.