Subsistence economy, animal domestication, and herd management in prehistoric central Asia (Neolithic–Iron Age)
Sites of the Neolithic Jeitun Culture in southern Turkmenistan present the earliest evidence of animal husbandry, mainly based on sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus), in Central Asia. In its northern parts, subsistence economy relied on the exploitation of wild animal resources in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic. The steppes of north Kazakhstan played a prominent role in the domestication of the horse (Equus caballus) some time prior to 3000 bc. In subsequent periods, horse breeding was of great economic importance in this area. In the Bronze Age, the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) became a common livestock animal in the Eurasian dry zones. Its domestication seems to have taken place in the southwestern part of Central Asia. According to geography, vegetation, and climate, different types of animal keeping and herd management developed in the centuries of the Bronze and Iron Ages.