Campus Box 1114
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
The main focus of my research is on the dynamic strategies of pastoral nomadic societies living in the steppe region, mountains, and deserts of Central and Eastern Eurasia. My work centers primarily on pastoralism in the Bronze Age (~ 3500-1000BC), which is intricately tied to questions of social and economic interaction between regional populations across Central Asia at that time. My theoretical interests center on how social groups utilize economic and political strategies to communicate inter-regionally, and how variability in their economic and social strategies introduces opportunities for reshaping the boundaries of their social landscapes and human interactions. I am also interested in the relationships between pastoral strategies and the environment, and how the choices and ways of life of mobile groups contributed to the formation of wide reaching networks as early as 2000BC (the Mid-Bronze Age). I currently conduct field research in Eastern Kazakhstan, where I am exploring the ways by which pastoral societies employed flexible temporal and spatial patterns of mobility to negotiate ecological constraints as well as alter the political and social conditions of their landscape.
Methodologically, I specialize in spatial analysis and archaeological landscape modeling using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing. I have a strong interest in the reconstruction of paleo-ecological, geo-morphological, and land-cover changes in extreme environments (e.g. high mountains, deserts). My current work centers on modeling prehistoric rangelands of mountain and steppe regions of western and eastern Eurasia by analyzing contemporary satellite data combined with paleo-climatic regressions. Within GIS, these reconstructions are paired with data recovered from my regional archaeological survey and excavations, bringing together environmental and social components of the prehistoric context. I am also interested in questions of ecology and adaptive strategies (social and economic) of mobile societies more generally.
Although my fieldwork is primarily archaeological, I also have conducted ethnographic studies of Kazakh pastoralists, and (to a lesser extent) nomadic societies of North Africa and reindeer herders of Finland. I also have carried out research on prehistoric rock-art in the Italian Alps, Roman and Islamic landscapes in North Africa, and Neolithic hunter-gatherers in Finland.
2008 Frachetti, Michael D. Pastoralist Landscapes and Social Interaction in Bronze Age Eurasia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
2012 Frachetti, Michael and Lynne Rouse. Central Asia, the steppe and the Near East, 2500-1500 BC. In Companion to the Archaeology of the Near East, ed. D. Potts, pp. 687-705. London: Blackwell Publishers.
2012 Frachetti, Michael D. The Multi-Regional Emergence of Mobile Pastoralism and the Growth of Non-Uniform Institutional Complexity Across Eurasia. Current Anthropology. 53(1): 2-38.
2011 Frachetti, Michael D. The Migration Concept in Central Eurasian Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 40:195–21.
2010 Frachetti, Michael D., Spengler, R.S., Fritz, G. J., and A.N. Mar’yashev. Earliest Evidence of Broomcorn Millet and Wheat in the Central Eurasian Steppe Region. Antiquity 84 (326): 993-1010.
2010 Frachetti, M., Benecke, N, Mar’yashev, A. N., and P. Doumani. Eurasian Pastoralists and Their Shifting Regional Interactions at the Steppe Margin: Settlement History at Mukri, Kazakhstan. World Archaeology 42(4): 622-646.
2009 Frachetti, M.D. and N. Benecke. From Sheep to (Some) Horses: 4500 Years of Herd Structure at the Pastoralist Settlement of Begash (Southeastern Kazakhstan). Antiquity 83 (322): 1023-1037.
2009 Frachetti, Michael D. Differentiated Landscapes and Non-Uniform Complexity among Bronze Age Societies of the Eurasian Steppe. In Social Complexity in Prehistoric Eurasia: Monuments, Metals and Mobility, eds. Bryan Hanks And Kathryn Linduff, 19-46. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2008 Frachetti, Michael D. Variability and Dynamic Landscapes of Mobile Pastoralism in Ethnography and Prehistory. In The Archaeology of Mobility: Nomads in the Old and in the New World, eds. H. Barnard and W. Wendrich, 366-96. Cotsen Advanced Seminar Series 4. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA.
2007 Frachetti, Michael D. and Alexei N. Mar’yashev. Long-term Occupation and Seasonal Settlement of Eastern Eurasian Pastoralists at Begash, Kazakhstan. Journal of Field Archaeology 32(3): 221-42
From Country to Heavy Metal: Ancient Civilizations of the Old World (L48 3122)
Landscape and Archaeology (L48 4803)