Pastoral nomadism encompasses an array of specialized knowledge concerned with the daily rhythms and long-term tempos of caring for herd animals in order to extract subsistence livelihoods. It also embodies the relational lives of herders and the diverse ways in which herd animals structure the social and symbolic worlds of mobile pastoralists. This article reviews the latest research on ancient pastoral nomadic communities that is emerging in many parts of the world. We emphasize the importance of revolutionary advances in archaeological methods and biomolecular approaches that have made visible mobile pastoralist behaviors and decision-making processes previously concealed in the archaeological record. Archaeologists are gradually producing the high-resolution, multiscalar data sets required to link together the individual, community, and regional interactions that, over time, structured pastoral nomadic economies, social and ritual lives, and political organization.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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