Echoes of nomadic production


“The past isn’t disappearing. It is even not past”

Activity is forming personality. If it repeating in basic shapes from century to century, then it is leaving a footprint on genetic level. In genotype of the most of Kazakhstani population nomadic method of production is very powerful part. Many typical things is being reproduced in modern eclectic living of the country, where fragments of nomadic cattle breeding are braided into industrial and post-industrial worldview.

2009 10 02 NomadezThe majority of authoritative historians are united in opinion that producing economy was brought by Indo-Europeans on modern Kazakhstani territory, first tribes of which started to expand here from west of Volga in 3000BC. In the first half of 2000BC production economy has shaped everywhere on local landscaped.

In early Bronze Age typical settlement for Kazakhstan were enforced villages on shores of Steppe Rivers. Life then was restless because of permanent raids of warriors on chariots. Because chariots have been on service of all, area of development outside of villages was small. In floodplains wheat and millet were seeded, cattle breeding had over-the-house type (including housing), so that in case of danger it could be covered above the pit with wooden stakes.

Archeological examples are witnessing that 90 per cent of cattle bones in those period are belong to bovine cattle (cows). Cheese was made out of cow milk besides of everything else. However, main activity in typical villages was farming. In settlements of metallurgists on the first place were copper and tin mining. Exploration of Arkaim, city of Early Bronze Age, is leading to the conclusion, that its main economical activity was pottery. Ceramics were exchanged with local agricultural settlements.

In the Middle Bronze Age the threat of military invasion in steppe had notably decreased. Perhaps, restless gene was removed from population in huge amounts for the time of internecine feuds. Nevertheless, archeology shows presence of vulnerable settlements. Houses became bigger; each building was belonging to a large family, few generations of relatives. Men and youth went to different spring, summer, and autumn pastries for the whole year, coming back to village in winter. Women, children and elders stayed in villages on the shores of rivers for the whole year. They were engaged in farming and were looking after the cattle.

Structure of flock has also changed. Now horses, sheep and goats were prevailing in it, and cow share has substantially decreased. In some regions major share in flocks was obtained by double-humped camels, the Bactrian. Massive cattle slaughtering was carried out in autumn. People spent entire winter together. Appearance of light movable framed tents made out of sticks is falling on Middle Bronze Age, which were covered with mats. In those time the area of steppe territories, which were included in pastries, became times bi

In the Late Bronze Age situation generally stayed the same, only settlements became lesser, and houses in them – bigger. Dwelling sites of late Bronze Age with square over 500 square meters were, biggest in Eurasia, were discovered in Central Kazakhstan.

Closer to the middle of 1 millennium BC, military threats in steppe was increased dramatically again. An army of horsed archers came on historical scenery. Actually, horse in human households was well-known for a long time. First it was used for meat, then learned to milk and rope it, use as baggage animal; and in the beginning of early Iron Age it was saddled up.

Returning to fortified settlements, as it was in early Bronze Age, was not realistic. Demographic situation couldn’t allow decreasing land resources for farming utilization. The answer to a new challenge was nomadic mode of production. Then all settlement travelled in full strength. For that purpose the dwelling was modified – pavilion and then yurt, covered in felt. Number of tilt carts was increased. In structure of flock percentage of horses, sheep, goats and camels has been increased, and cow share decreased.

Nomadic mode of production meant bigger percentage of cattle on amortization. Agricultural share comparing to late Bronze Age decreased even more, but it didn’t disappeared – crops cultivation in floodplains and near lake shores continued. From the appearance of nomadic mode of production the entire territory of Kazakhstan was included in domestic turnover. It was most perfect mode of production on arid lands, i.e. territories, where mean annual rainfall is lower than evaporation. By terms of labor contribution return it leaved behind even irrigated cropping.

Nomad historians are concluding the coefficient, according to which 18 generations needed to establish nomadic mode of production on landscape conditions of Kazakhstan. Taking in account that since early Iron such economic tradition was never interrupted, it can be stated about incessant succession of economic life.

Only certain modifications happened. For instance, in Great transmigration of people era Hun brought along cow breed, which could graze for entire year. The thing is, that common cow unable to pick up food from under the snow, as opposed to horses and sheep. This Kazakh cow breed is not exactly independent in this question, but with horses cooperation this question is solving by it. Turkic epoch also included in Kazakhstan life stapes, triple-feathered arrows and complicated bow with higher efficiency and accuracy.

Nomads are successors of those, who lost competition in struggle for more qualitative natural resources; but, giving birth to army of horsed archers and horsed archery on arid lands, nomads started to take advantage over more wealthy settled nations; raids, wars, attachments, and tributes. Specifics of nomadic mode of production are putting it on more dependant position over the trade relation, then settled agricultural regions. That’s why, obviously, that in Genghis Khan and his successor’s era they generally patronized trade.

Actually, the first global economy in scales of the Old World, by passes of Great Silk Road, patronized by Mongols, was killed by plague epidemic in the middle of 14th century. European population then, for instance, decreased from 70 mln people to 43 million. Recently after it (by historical measure) caravels took advantage over caravans. The era of great geographical discoveries had started, and main centers of global economy were moved on sea and ocean shores.

Nomadic mode of production kept its competitiveness for quite a long time, but massive expansion of firearms became such point, which it couldn’t take over. However, even attached to Russian empire, the majority of Kazakhstani territories were continued to be utilized under nomadic and half-nomadic cattle breeding.

Because of the mode of production there were no land of private property in Kazakh khanates, however, there was private property on cattle. The thing is that reach households horses were dominant, which gave advantages in speed of travel. By rights of first overtake reach households first reached best pastries and took them. If cattle gone on mass celebrations or died in result of famine, then place of dropped out reach household was overtaken by the other. First overtake rule was expanded on water-wells too in periods of travelling. Those who ride to watering first, those use it. And next household either waited for its turn or moved to the next.

Arid lands of Kazakhstan are quite severe environment. Only bottom-line and adequate person could survive in such conditions, who judging in his normal life and strategic planning by the optimum principle. 20th century in period of Stalin’s USSR had stricken this human material very hardly. Directives on settling nomads and collectivization without understanding nature and essence of nomadic mode of production led to colossal losses in people and cattle.

Nevertheless, giant sizes of corruption and non-husband utilization of budget finances could be observed as temporary occurrence; a kind of discord of transitional period from one condition (soviet planning) into other (market independency). And even with such negative factors Kazakhstan avoided extremities, which such regional neighbors as Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have passed. The situation in Kyrgyzstan is a bit better than in mentioned above, but there powerful part of nomadic mode of production was also represented (vertical travelling from mountains to steppes and back), which played significant stabilization role.

Genetic codes, based on nomadic mode of production are allowing Kazakhstan to pass through present day difficulties and return on rails of pragmatism and optimality. Dead ends of many excessive bends are too noticeable; that’s why those, which allowed surviving from century to century, will certainly be helpful. It is hoped on minimal expenses in process of returning of the country and society in normal, balanced and development oriented condition.


  1. Anonymous

    Козохи, с вас шизеют ВСЕ...

  2. Anonymous

    Фсе это КТО?

  3. mb


    не кажется ли вам, что кочевой образ жизни гораздо древнее?

    и уходит корнями в те времена когда человек просто следовал за стадами животных.

    вы наверно видели по телевизору сюжеты про ежегодные массовые миграции зебр, антилоп, и других травоядных в парке Серенгети.

    можно предположить что в далекие времена, и на территории Евразии наблюдались массовые перемещения животных с юга на север. (конечно, в поисках пастбищ).

    а люди просто следовали за ними, как хищники в Серенгети. 

    интересный факт, в актюбинской области, лет десять назад, были парни которые ловили сайгаков «голыми руками». правда, на мотоциклах. догнав, сидящий сзади, прыгал на ходу на животных.

    я это к тому, чтобы представить сколько было живности, две-три тысячи лет назад. 

    со временем эти ежегодные маршруты оформились в пути кочевий.

    не секрет, что казахи (особенно на западе РК), кочевали в меридиональном направлении.

    может культуру номадов вы знаете лучше, но т.н. права «первозахвата» не было.

    зимние и летние стоянки были закреплены за определенным родом, и также пути кочевий,

    по поводу колодцев,

    насколько я знаю они были в общем пользовании,

    с уважением,


    казах из Атырау

  4. Д-р Лектор

    Казахи псы войны середины средних векофф

  5. Грубый

    Статья ни о чем. Калбитня деградирует, и оправдывать это не надо.

  6. Darcy

    A kind of schoolbook article with stupid unrelated conclusion in the end. What's the actuality of it?

  7. Toshi Tanaka

    2Darcy Possibly the author is tying to express an opinion that modern Kazakhstani people should remember their roots and follow it, but not in terms of labour type, but in their approach to the business. Japan did it 50 years ago and succeed.

  8. Darcy

    Sorry, but first the Japanese were bombed and overtook by americans, who really developed your poor imperial economy and only then you came along. Maybe Kazakhstan sould suffer something like that to became successful instead of learning their roots.

  9. Toshi Tanaka

    You may not really well in histoy, Darcy. Even before the Americans we had good economic relations with the region and leaders in mining industry, despite the absense of our own natural resources. We had the largest and most powerful army in pacific.

    Still, Kazakhs are jolly happy to choose their own way. But i feel something right in your position.