Professor Alan Outram

Fieldwork

I regularly undertake fieldwork in both Kazakhstan and South Dakota, USA.

The fieldwork in Kazakhstan has been ongoing for about 18 years and relates to my research into horse domestication and early pastoral societies in Central Asia. This work has included excavation and geophysical survey of Eneolithic and Bronze sites, but the current focuss is the famous Eneolithic site of Botai in Northern Kazakhstan (dates to c. 3,500 BC). This site is the source of the best current evidence for early domestic horses. Working with the site's longterm director, Professor Victor Zaibert, we have carried out large scale geophysical survey and have been investigation features not previously targeted by research, including a potential enclosure or corral. I frequently take a small number of students with me to work at the site.

Over the last 14 years, the excavations in South Dakota have formed one of the Department's main fieldschools for students between their 1st and 2nd year of study. Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is an Initial Middle Missouri culture village (c. AD 1050) that represents the early colonization of the Northern Plains by agriculturalists who had been working their way up the river systems ever since the domestication of maize in Central America. The villagers lived from their gardens of maize, beans and squash and from the hunting of bison. The site is exceptionally well preserved and contains very deep and rich deposits. A particularly interesting part of the site is covered by a unigue structure, the Archeodome, that provides air conditioned protection from the elements as well as onsite laboratories for finds processing work. The site and facility produces a world class opportunity for research and student training, and is also open to the public along with a museum nearby. The annual excavations are in collaboration with Dr Adrien Hannus of Augustana University, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.