Printer Friendly

The Xiongnu settlements of Egiin Gol, Mongolia.

'[W]andering from place to place pasturing their animals. The animals they raise consist mainly of horses, cows and sheep ... They move about in search of water and pasture and have no walled cities or fixed dwellings, nor do they engage in any kind of agriculture ... It is their custom to herd their flocks in times of peace and make their living by hunting, but in periods of crisis they take up arms and go off on plundering and marauding expeditions. This seems their inborn nature' (Shiji 110, Watson 1961: 155-6).

These oft quoted words of the historian Sima Qian (2095-2040 BP) have come to define the iconic steppe nomads of eastern Eurasia and to contrast them in every way with the settled farmers of the river valley based empire of Han China (2152-1720 BP). The people whom Sima Qian was describing were the ancestors of the Xiongnu, an ethnic group and a political formation (of 2159-1857 BP) that formed a major focus of Han imperial foreign policy and military campaigning throughout the history of both polities (Lattimore 1940; Watson 1961; Barfield 1981, 1989; Lewis 1990; Sinor 1990; Di Cosmo 2002). At its height, the Xiongnu polity is thought to have directly or indirectly controlled the entire steppe belt of north-east Asia, a region now encompassed by the nation of Mongolia, eastern Kazakhstan and the Chinese provinces of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.

The histories of the Han Dynasty provide important details on the structure of Xiongnu economic and political systems. There is little doubt from the textual sources that Xiongnu subsistence and culture was centred on mobile pastoralism. However, as has been emphasised by Di Cosmo and others, the historical sources also mention agricultural production and storage, specialised craft industries, and the presence of large-scale settlements among the Xiongnu (Di Cosmo 1994). Unfortunately, the historical sources provide only scant means by which to discern how pastoralism, mobility, agriculture and sedentism might have been articulated on the landscape and organisationally inter-woven into a regional political economy. Finally, based on archaeology, ethnographic analogy and historical accounts, the Xiongnu are traditionally described as pastoral nomads much like the historic and modern pastoral nomads in north-east Asia (Ishjamts 1994; Khazanov 1994).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

In this article we present data from the Egiin Gol Survey (EGS), a full coverage, intensive archaeological survey in the Lower Egiin Gol Valley of northern Mongolia (Figures 1 and 2) that offers new data on settlement patterns, residential material culture and mobility during the Xiongnu period. The Egiin Gol Survey covered a 40km stretch of the Lower Egiin Gol Valley, and intensively examined 246[km.sup.2] of valley, terraces and ridges along the river and its tributary streams. In most of the survey area, the survey was bounded by natural topographic breaks or thick forest and stretched beyond currently inhabited land. In unbounded areas, less intensive survey methods where used to explore the limits of cultural landscapes (Honeychurch et al. 2007). In total the EGS recorded 572 sites from the Upper Palaeolithic to the early twentieth century, materials and sites from the Xiongnu period were among the most common remains recorded (Turbat et al. 2003; Honeychurch 2004; Wright 2006; Honeychurch & Amartuvshin 2006).

Our work allows us to assess the historical and ethnographical constructs used to describe the historical Xiongnu, their identity as iconic nomads that the long standing focus on mortuary archaeology has reified, and the contrasting view of Xiongnu as pastoral-agriculturalists. These topics form the necessary foundations for a discussion of the economic and political nature and organisation of the Xiongnu polity.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Xiongnu archaeology

To date, the vast majority of archaeological work on the Xiongnu period has been the excavation of burial sites, and it is mortuary data that provide evidence of the scale and complexity of the Xiongnu polity as well as establishing their place in history as pastoral nomads (Kozlov 1927; Trever 1932; Voskresenskii & Tikhonov 1932; Erdelyi et al. 1967; Tian & Li 1980; Martynova 1988; Minyaev 1990; Wu 1990; Ishjamts 1994; Davydova 1996; Murail et al. 2000; Allard et al. 2002). Based on geographical and chronological placement and descriptive features, a 'Xiongnu' material culture, though somewhat variable, can be found distributed across Inner Mongolia, Mongolia, and southern Siberia (Trever 1932; Dorjsuren 1961; Perlee 1961; Rudenko 1962; Davydova 1968, 1995; Wu 1990). Radiocarbon dates of mortuary and non-mortuary sites have continued to solidify these previous identifications--by dating old and new finds within the historically recorded dates of the Xiongnu confederation (Tian & Li 1980; Hall et al. 1999b; Turbat et al. 2003).

The non-mortuary sites of the Xiongnu are much less well known than their cemeteries. Only two such sites have been intensively studied and published (Davydova 1968, 1995). Several other smaller settlement sites spread over a large area in the Selenga drainage of northern central Mongolia and southern Siberia have been examined (Perlee 1961; Martynova 1988; Minyaev 1988; Batsaikhan & Baatarbileg 2002). These are for the most part, ditched enclosures a few hectares in size, some with traces of pit dwellings and ceramics akin to those found in Xiongnu burials.

Davydova and her colleagues (1968, 1995) report in some detail on the excavation and the artefacts recovered from the Ivolga site in south Siberia. Ivolga was a fortified settlement on a low terrace above the floodplain of a confluence of rivers. The settlement was approximately 7ha in size, including an elaborate system of multiple ditches and a palisade. A portion of the settlement was excavated revealing dozens of dwellings and hundreds of clay lined pits and storage structures. Heating channels built of stone slabs lined the walls inside some of the dwellings.

Artefacts from the site included distinctly Xiongnu ceramics dominated by a limited number of forms: wide-mouth jars, flat-rimmed bowls, and two types of narrow-necked jars, one with wave designs on the shoulder. Less common forms included strainer jars, large fancy jars, handled beakers, close-mouthed jars and straight-sided bowls. Also found were a wide selection of other material culture including split bone arrow points, bow fragments, sickles, grinding stones and digging tools. Fragments of datable imported bronze mirrors suggest that the site was occupied around 2100 BP.

Faunal remains included sheep, goats, cows, horses, pigs, fish and dogs (Davydova 1995: 239-40). Botanical remains include barley (Hordeum vulgare) and wheat (Triticum sp.). Based on these finds and the tools recovered the excavator concludes that the site was occupied year around for many generations and was supported by a mixed agropastoralist economy.

The Xiongnu in Egiin Gol

The Xiongnu archaeological record in the Egiin Gol Valley consists of artefact scatters interpreted as habitation sites, small and large cemeteries, and a few sites that are not in either category (Figure 2). While the number of sites recorded across the survey area is relatively small, the settlement and land-use patterns are sufficient to describe the spatial organization of the valley during the Xiongnu period.

The Egiin Gol River is a tributary of the Selenga River and part of the watershed of Lake Baikal. Lake core studies show that between 2500-1500 BP the modern climate regime was in place, though it was slightly wetter and warmer than it is today (Horiuchi et al. 2000; Karabanov et al. 2000; Feng 2001; Liu et al. 2002; Peck et al. 2002; Ilyashuk & Ilyashuk 2007). An analysis of the phytoliths from excavated sediments at Xiongnu period sites in Egiin Gol parallels the regional trend of similarity to the modern climate regime though slightly wetter and warmer (Prouse 2005).

The large cemetery at Burkhan Tolgoi--which contains 97 burials--was extensively excavated between 1996 and 2000 by French, Mongolian and American excavators. The burials contain rare and imported items as well as distinctive Xiongnu ceramics, metalwork and skeletal remains of sheep, cattle and horses (Erdenebaatar et al. 1998; Murail et al. 2000; Keyser-Tracqui et al. 2003; Naran 2004; Turbat et al. 2003). Also located by the Egiin Gol Survey were 14 other small burial localities with 1 to 6 typically Xiongnu ring-shaped burials. Four of these graves were excavated and dates from those excavations fall into the later range of the Burkhan Tolgoi cemetery.

But Egiin Gol also offers a unique view of the settlement pattern of the Xiongnu. Intensive full coverage survey located 15 Xiongnu ceramic scatters ranging from above 4ha to only a few square metres, seven of these sites are larger than 1ha in size (Table 1). There is a large settlement site in the mouth of every wide, well-watered tributary valley of the Egiin Gol in the survey area. The distance between each site is 5-9km, and they are arranged mostly on the north side of the river along the main valley of the Egiin Gol (Figure 2). These sites are located on low terraces close to the Egiin Gol River usually just below bluffs or ridges and they are not in particularly defensible or visible locations. The remaining smaller sites are located either close to these larger ones or, in a few cases, in tributary valleys of the main valley. There are many small sherd scatters in the upper valleys that cannot be attributed to any time period because the sherd collections from them are small and contain no diagnostic ceramics. It is likely, however, that some of these are also Xiongnu period sites. The general settlement pattern of the Xiongnu in Egiin Gol would then be one of riverside large settlements and smaller upper valley sites. This pattern is comparable to the modern pastoral nomad's settlement pattern of dense summer sites along the riverside and a limited number of winter sites in the upper tributary valleys (Figure 3).

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Exploratory excavations were made at three of the large Xiongnu sites (EGS 036, 110 and 486). Extensive artefact collections were also made using a systematic gridded collection (EGS 036) or screened shovel tests (EGS 110, 131, 486) to gain more information about the full extent of several sites. These sites proved to be similar in sub-surface composition consisting of shallow deposits of from 40-65cm in depth, with mainly ceramic artefacts distributed throughout the soil and lacking stratigraphy. Little evidence for structural investment was found and few features were uncovered. We now briefly describe and illustrate some typical and distinctive Xiongnu period settlement sites before discussing the Xiongnu period in the Lower Egiin Gol Valley in general.

Settlement sites (Figure 2)

Site EGS 110 is located on a low river terrace immediately beneath the bluff of Burkhan Tolgoi (site of the large Xiongnu cemetery of the same name) and is perhaps the earliest large Xiongnu habitation in the Lower Egiin Gol. Shovel tests showed that the site covered most of the remaining area of river terrace on which it stood, currently encompassing a total of 1.1ha. Contiguous excavations totalling 64[m.sup.2] were made at this site, on the whole they were shallow and through extremely compact soil. Few features were found--among them a shallow hearth--but many artefacts were recovered. Several carbonised wheat grains from the hearth were identifiable as Triticum aestivum (Trigg 2003) and one was directly dated to 2330-2150 BP (see Table 2). More than 900 sherds were recovered from the excavations. The ceramics from this site form a familiar Xiongnu assemblage--narrow-necked jars, wide-mouthed jars, flat-rimmed bowls and straight sided bowls (Figure 4).

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

Several of the sites discovered by the EGS have been used to study the local production or import of ceramics through compositional sourcing analyses (Hall et al. 1999a; Hall & Minyaev 2002; Honeychurch 2004). The evidence to date suggests that the vast majority of pottery at these Xiongnu sites is locally produced using clay sources from within the valley, with a small amount made from clay sources outside the valley. The results of the analysis at EGS 110 however, provide some evidence for the mobility of the population of these larger riverside sites. Though the site lies only 300m from the largest clay source in the valley a substantial amount of the pottery found at the site is from other sources in the valley, suggesting that people may have gathered here from other areas of the Lower Egiin Gol.

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

EGS 036 is a typical large Xiongnu sherd scatter, and most large Xionngu sites in the Lower Egiin Gol resemble EGS 036. The site is located at the edge of a high river terrace above the current floodplain of the Egiin Gol. The ancient course of the river is unclear, but today it flows 300m to the south. This terrace is under modern cultivation and is ploughed every year. The ploughing makes surface visibility superb, but has destroyed any shallow subsurface features. The maximum extent of the artefact scatter was 4ha. Surface collection yielded more than 1000 artefacts, the vast majority being ceramics. However, a Han Dynasty wuzhu coin, cast after 2068 BP, was found providing a terminus post quem date for at least one episode of the site's use.

In many ways, this site has a typical surface assemblage of Xiongnu ceramics. There are jars, both narrow-necked and wide-mouthed--including very large ones, and bowls with both rounded and almost vertical rims, as well as flat-rimmed large bowls (Figure 5). Around half the sherds, and most of the diagnostic rims, are robust grey ceramic wares. Even when we take into account the excellent surface recovery from this site and durability of these thick sherds, EGS 036 has an exceptional proportion of flat-rimmed bowl rims, far more than any other site in the survey (Table 3). These vessels are deep with a flat bottom and at EGS 036 have an average diameter of 41.6cm, significantly (t = 2.67 p = 0.015) larger than measurable examples from all other sites in the Lower Egiin Gol, where the average diameter is 33.7cm. This, along with the finds of metal fragments, the sites relatively large size and its proximity to the southern access routes into the valley suggest that EGS 036 may be an exceptional site in the Lower Egiin Gol (Honeychurch 2004).

A systematic grid collection of the site allowed us to map artefact densities across the site surface. This revealed an arrangement of clusters of artefacts separated by less dense zones. The best explanation for this pattern comes from ethno-archaeological examinations of modern campsites in the Egiin Gol Valley. The cellular clusters of debris resemble those left behind not in traditional ger campsites or by trash pits but by the cabins that are sometimes used, taken apart, moved and reassembled, by modern mobile pastoralists.

The only traces of substantial settlement infrastructure found in the Egiin Gol were found at EGS 486 and connect this site into the known tradition of larger Xiongnu settlements. The site is also located on the edge of a short ancient river terrace above the current flood plain of the Egiin Gol. This site was investigated with shovel tests and small excavations, a total of 6[m.sup.2], centred on a 'ditch-like' trash-filled pit which was 1.3m. deep with steep sloping sides. This pit was similar to examples discovered at Ivolga (Davydova 1968, 1995) and Bayan Onder (Danilov & Zhavoronkova 1995) within the settlements and forming internal divisions as well as serving as drains and garbage dumps. The excavations yielded a wide selection of ceramics, faunal remains, palaeobotanic samples and carbonised materials. Two radiocarbon samples of charred material were taken from the pit excavations at EGS 486, providing a stratigraphically higher date 2040-1820 BP, and a deeper date of 2040-1890 BP (see Table 2).

Charred palaeobotanical remains from the excavation contained charcoal from several local trees, charred Chenopodium sp. seeds, a pair of wheat grains (Triticum sp. and Triticum aestivum), and a barley grain (Hardeum sp.) (Trigg 2003). Faunal remains included sheep and goats, cattle, horses and fish. The assemblage included carnivore gnawed bone as well as the remains of butchered animals. Several sheep or goat mandibles and long bones come from lambs around 5-6 months old. In Egiin Gol today lambs and kids are born from February to March, providing an estimate of seasonal habitation at EGS 486 at least during mid to late summer (Redding pers. comm.).

The same pit that was so rich in burnt material and fauna also contained more than 800 ceramic sherds--mostly jars, including large segments of very large jars (body diameter c. 65cm, and a probable capacity of several hundred litres), but also including the typical flat-rimmed bowls and straight-sided bowls (Figure 6). This pit also contained fragments of less common forms such as tiny jars or bowls, extremely friable vessels of unknown forms, and a handled jar or beaker.

EGS 213 is a small, upper valley site found in the type of location that would be an early spring camp among modern nomadic pastoralists, a locale used as they make their first short post-winter move to an area with the earliest new grass. It was found through surface survey and further examined through screened shovel tests. A total of 13 sherds were found with both methods combined within 20[m.sup.2] including three with distinctive Xiongnu surface treatment (the 'scrape-polish' and the 'wavy incised line'--see Figure 6) and a large proportion (10) of coarse, hard grey ware sherds.

There are a few sites in the Egiin Gol that do not immediately seem to be habitation generated artefact scatters or burial sites. EGS 131 is such a special site, a bluff top ditched enclosure (110 x 185m) with two contiguous areas defined by an earthen mound that now stands 0.5-0.7m tall and a shallow ditch 0.7-1.1m deep and 3-5m wide (Figure 7). Radiocarbon dates from the infilling of the ditch and a fragment of a diagnostic Han bronze mirror date the site's use over a long period, centred between 2150-1890 BP (Honeychurch 2004) (see Table 2). Extensive surface walking and screened shovel testing found very few artefacts in the shallow soil here, suggesting that it was not used for any long period of habitation. Given its distinctive topographical location overlooking much of the lower valley, and the site's position between the main north-west and south-east clusters of Xiongnu settlement, and the shallow cross-section of the ditch works without any evidence of a palisade, we interpret EGS 131 as a central place in use for short term events by the later Xiongnu population of the valley, not as a settlement or fortified site.

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

Discussion

Any generalisations taking all the sites into account must be treated with caution, since each excavated ceramic assemblages is drawn from a very different context: wide area excavations, distributed test pits and a midden. Table 3 summarises some attributes of the sites described above and several other larger surface scatters. The contrasts between them are visible in the numbers and weights of ceramics excavated per cubic metre. There are clear differences between excavated and non-excavated sites, less durable and smaller brown, red and black polished sherds are excavated, and because those are not the typical diagnostic grey wares the percentage of grey wares drops. Wide-mouthed jars are the most common form found on all sites. On larger surface sites where both narrow-necked and wide-mouthed jar forms are found they occur in a relatively constant ratio. The thick durable flat-rimmed bowl rims discussed above are present, but rare, at all but the smallest sites. We do not wish to discuss the possible functions of any of these vessel forms at this point, but suffice it to say that the common forms have clear similarities to vessel forms of ceramic, metal and plastic used by the modern nomadic pastoralists in the Egiin Gol Valley. In addition to the forms reported here, there are rarer ones including closemouthed jars without necks and 'steamer' bases with many small holes pierced through them, as well as variations within broader categories of jars.

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

Fauna from excavated sites, and other lines of evidence, suggest that the larger, riverside sites were not occupied year around, but were summer settlements and probably part of a seasonal movement pattern. Botanical evidence for species of plants that tend to colonise disrupted soils, such as Chenopodium, Brassica and Polygonum has been found in the burnt assemblages from EGS 486 and EGS 110. These plants are often found at the edge of permanent settlements or associated with agricultural clearing. In Egiin Gol these species are also commonly associated with the initial re-growth over campsites occupied one or more seasons earlier. Re-occupying sites, clearing this initial growth in late spring or early summer might well lead to a pattern of coloniser plant seeds occurring in cultural contexts on Egiin Gol Xiongnu sites (Trigg 2003). Finally, the significant depths of Xiongnu tombs, reaching as much as 3.7m, favour an interpretation of warm-season burial construction, since Egiin Gol soils are frozen from winter through mid-spring. The major Xiongnu cemetery in Egiin Gol is located near EGS 110 and EGS 036--two of the larger settlement sites.

The Xiongnu settlements and cemeteries of Egiin Gol were integrated into a regional system of hierarchy and political organisation. The macro-regional hierarchy of cemeteries from the huge elite sites of Noyon Uul (Trever 1932; Polosmak et al. 2007) or Gol Mod 2 (Allard et al. 2002) in the Khangai Mountains to the small grave locales of Egiin Gol form a distinctive nested hierarchy. This clear vertical sequence appears to intersect with the Xiongnu settlement system at larger settlement and special use sites, which contain reflections of the non-local connections clearly seen in many graves. These associations connect the inhabitants of those, still relatively modest, sites to a much larger system of external decision-making as well as positioning them as influential local populations.

The archaeological evidence for Xiongnu inhabitation of Egiin Gol is solidly defined and integrates well with other data known from throughout the Xiongnu heartland. It is clear that the Egiin Gol Xiongnu material--ceramics, palaeobotanical remains and fauna--are of the same types as that from Ivolga and its associated sites. What Egiin Gol offers that these previous studies do not is a documented and controlled survey of a large area of Xiongnu habitation. The patterns revealed here fit well into a model based on modern ethnographic observations (Mearns 1993; Pedersen 2003; Simukov 2007 [1934]): a pattern of short distance mobility tied to seasonal movements, choices of site location dependent again on a seasonal round, and overlapping mixed scatters of artefacts left by repeated returns to the same general area rather than specific long-term use of a single spot.

Evidence for both pastoral and agricultural production has been recovered for the Xiongnu period at Egiin Gol. Examination of excavated available faunal assemblages has shown the presence of common pastoralist herd species including sheep or goats, cattle and horses. No definitive evidence from habitation sites in Egiin Gol has yet been recovered for local use of wild species other than fish (at EGS 486), though deer remains have been discovered in Xiongnu period burials in the valley (Turbat et al. 2003). Given this region's recent history as the agricultural heartland of Mongolia, and the discovery of evidence for Xiongnu farming from those other larger sites, it is not surprising to find evidence for grain production in Egiin Gol during the Xiongnu period. This is not to say that pastoralist resources were sidelined in favour of farming in Egiin Gol during this period. There is far more raw evidence for pastoralism than for cultivation. Rather the preliminary evidence suggests that local subsistence was a productive mixture of agriculture and pastoralism, hunting, fishing and--if modern practice can be used as a guide, gathering wild plant resources.

Radiocarbon dating has established that the people using Xiongnu style ceramics lived in Egiin Gol for generations before the Xiongnu appear in Han histories and persisted after they ceased to be historically noteworthy, and other ethnonyms had risen to political prominence in north-east Asia. The oldest and youngest possible Xiongnu dates in the valley are 2450 BP and 1750 BP respectively, both are burials at Burkhan Tolgoi (Turbat et al. 2003; Honeychurch 2004). Dates from settlement sites also fall within this range (Table 2).

Conclusion

The Xiongnu period occupation of the Egiin Gol Valley emerges from a complex sequence of events beginning in the latter half of the first millennium BC. The evidence collected by the EGS suggests both continuity and re-organisation in the use of the valley. Absolute dating of the latest Bronze and Early Iron Age sites and the earliest Xiongnu sites shows chronological overlap (Honeychurch 2004). The spatial distribution of the earlier slab burial tradition approximates the Xiongnu period site pattern more closely than it does the preceding Early Bronze Age in the central and south-eastern portion of the valley (Honeychurch et al. in press). But on the other hand, Xiongnu period sites in Egiin Gol display substantial differences from the early organisational patterns, emphasising the transformations that took place during the Xiongnu era.

The Xiongnu of Egiin Gol were a stable population of agro-pastoralists living with long-term local continuity and connections to a larger system of trade and hierarchy. The archaeological evidence shows that semi-permanent, but still mobile, habitation sites filled the Egiin Gol Valley. Small sites filled out the landscape, but habitation remained centred around the open ground of the river and stream confluences. The people probably farmed on those terraces--as they have done in recent history--as well as herding there and in the tributary stream valleys of the Egiin Gol. Herds included cattle, sheep, goats and horses. Wild deer and fish from the river were also hunted. Monuments, cemeteries and single graves, are found intermingled with the domestic landscape of the Egiin Gol Xiongnu, but they do not dominate that landscape. Most of the cemeteries, except the large early one at Burkhan Tolgoi, are built at what could have been the edges of the pastoralist rangeland (Figure 2). They are at places that are the borders of forests, the lower edges of high ground and the places where rocky slopes begin.

The Xiongnu lived, as the people of Egiin Gol today do, among the ruins of those who came before them--the Bronze Age first nomadic pastoralists and Mesolithic foragers of the Middle Holocene. These earlier people left an ephemeral habitation record, and imposing monumental remains throughout the valley. However, the Xiongnu inhabitants did not incorporate older structures into their monuments or leave ceramics at those sites as later inhabitants of the valley did.

In summary, the data from the Egiin Gol Survey shows that the Xiongnu--the archetypical pastoral nomads of written history--have a tradition of long-term settlement, and agriculture in their heartland areas. Far from breaking down the image of Xiongnu as pastoral nomads, this demonstration of the existence of their mixed economy and organised landscape establishes those as an integral part of the prehistory of pastoral nomadism in Inner Asia.

References

ALLARD, F., D. ERDENEBAATAR, N. BATBOLD & B. MILLER. 2002. A Xiongnu cemetery found in Mongolia. Antiquity 76: 637-8.

BARFIELD, T. 1989. The perilous frontier: nomadic empires and China. Cambridge (MA): Basil Blackwell.

--1981. The Hsiung-Nu imperial confederacy: organization and foreign policy. Journal of Asian Studies 41: 45-61.

BATSAIKHAN, Z. & E. BAATARBILEG. 2002. Arkhangai aimgiin Ogiinuur Sumyn nutagt shineer oldson gurvan kherem [Three recently discovered walled sites in Ogiinuur Sum, Arkhangai province]. Arkheologi, Antropologi, Ugsaatan Sudlal 13: 36-8.

DANILOV, S.V. & T.V. ZHAVORONKOVA. 1995. Gorodiche Bayan Onder--Nov'ii Pamiatnik Khunnu V. Zabaikal'e, in P.B. Konovalov (ed.) Kultury i pami'atniki bronzovogo i rannego zheleznogo vekov Zabaikalia i Mongolii [Cultures and sites of the Bronze and Early Iron Ages in Zabaikalye and Mongolia]. Ulan-Ude: Russian Academy of Sciences Siberian Division Buryat Institute of Social Sciences.

DAVYDOVA, A.V. 1968. The Ivolga Gorodishche (A monument of the Hiung-Nu culture in the Trans-Baikal region). Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarium Hungaricae 20: 209-45.

--1995. Ivolginskoe gorodishche [The Ivolga fortress]. Saint Petersburg: Asiatic Fund.

--1996. The Ivolga archaeological complex. Part 2: the Ivolga cemetery. Saint Petersburg: Asiatic Fund.

DI COSMO, N. 1994. Ancient Inner Asian nomads: their economic basis and its significance in Chinese history. The Journal of Asian Studies 53: 1092-126.

--2002. Ancient China and its enemies: the rise of nomadic power in East Asian history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

DORJSUREN, T. 1961. Umard Khunnu [The northern Khunnu]. Ulaanbaatar: Academy of Sciences.

ERDELYI, I., T. DORJSUREN & D. NAVAN. 1967. Mongol-Hungarian 1961-1964 report. Acta Archaeologica 19: 335-70.

ERDENEBAATAR, D., U. ERDENEBAT, T. TORBAT, E. CRUBEZY, P. MAUREILLE & L. HAYE. 1998. Burkhan Tolgoin khunnu bulshny sudalgaa [Research on the Xiongnu burials of Burkhan Tolgoi]. Arkheologiin Sudlal 18: 92-107.

FENG, Z.-D. 2001. Gobi dynamics in the northern Mongolian plateau during the past 20,000+yr: preliminary results. Quaternary International 76/77: 77-83.

HALL, M. & S. MINYAEV. 2002. Chemical analyses of Xiong-nu pottery: a preliminary study of exchange and trade on the Inner Asian steppe. Journal of Archaeological Science 29: 135-44.

HALL, M., W. HONEYCHURCH, J. WRIGHT, Z. BATSAIKHAN & L. BILEGT. 1999a. Chemical analysis of prehistoric Mongolian pottery. Arctic Anthropology 36: 133-50.

HALL, M., Z. BATSAIKHAN & W. HONEYCHURCH. 1999b. Radiocarbon dates from northern Mongolia. Radiocarbon 41: 103-10.

HONEYCHURCH, W. 2004. Inner Asian warriors and Khans: a regional spatial analysis of nomadic political organization and interaction. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Michigan.

HONEYCHURCH, W. & C. AMARTUVSHIN. 2006. States on horseback: the rise of Inner Asian confederations and empires, in M. Stark (ed.) Archaeology of Asia. Malden (MA) & Oxford: Blackwell.

HONEYCHURCH, W., J. WRIGHT & C. AMARTUVSHIN. 2007. A nested approach to survey in the Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia. Journal of Field Archaeology 32: 339-52.

--In press. Re-writing monumental landscapes as Inner Asian political process, in B. Hanks & K. Linduff (ed.) Monuments, metals, and mobility: trajectories of complexity in the late prehistory of the Eurasian Steppe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

HORIUCHI, K., K. MINOURA, K. HOSHINO, T. ODA, T. NAKAMURA & T. KAWAI. 2000. Palaeoenvironmental history of Lake Baikal during the last 23 000 years. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 157: 95-108.

ILYASHUK, B.P. & E.A. ILYASHUK. 2007. Chironomid record of Late Quaternary climatic and environmental changes from two sites in Central Asia (Tuva Republic, Russia)--local, regional or global causes? Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 705-31.

ISHJAMTS, N. 1994. Nomads in eastern Central Asia, in J. Harmatta, B.N. Puri & G.F. Etemadi (ed.) History of civilizations of Central Asia, the development of sedentary and nomadic civilization 700 BC to AD 250. Paris: Unesco.

KARABANOV, E.B., A.A. PROKOPENKO, D.F. WILLIAMS & G.K. KHURSEVICH. 2000. A new record of Holocene climate change from the bottom sediments of Lake Baikal. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 156: 211-24.

KEYSER-TRACQUI, C., E. CRUBEZY & B. LUDES. 2003. Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analysis of a 2000-year-old necropolis in the Egyin Gol Valley of Mongolia. American Journal of Human Genetics 73: 247-60.

KHAZANOV, A. 1994. Nomads and the outside world. Madison (WI): The Univsersity of Wisconsin Press.

KOZLOV, P.K.M. 1927. Discoveries in Mongolia. Palacio 23: 604-5.

LATTIMORE, O. 1940. Inner Asian frontiers of China. New York (NY): American Geographical Society.

LEWIS, M.E. 1990. Sanctioned violence in early China. New York (NY): SUNY Press.

LIU, H., L. XU & H. CUI. 2002. Holocene history of desertification along the woodland-steppe border in northern China. Quaternary Research 57(2): 259-70.

MARTYNOVA, G.S. 1988. Beginning of the Hunnic epoch in south Siberia. Arctic Anthropology 25: 61-83.

MEARNS, R. 1993. Territoriality and land tenure among Mongolian pastoralists: variation, continuity and change. Nomadic peoples 33: 73-103.

MINYAEV, S. 1990. Niche grave burials of the Xiong-Nu period in Central Asia. Information Bulletin of the International Association for the Study of Cultures in Central Asia 17:91-113.

--1988. Dureni II--Mnogocloinoe Poselenie V Zapadnom Zabaikal'e. Sovetskaia Arkheologiia 2: 228-33.

MURAIL, P., E. CRUBEZY, H. MARTIN, L. HAYE, J. BRUZEK, P.H. GISCARD, T. TURBAT & D. ERDENEBAATAR. 2000. The man, the woman, and the hyoid bone: from archaeology of the burial practices of the Xiongnu people (Egyin Gol Valley, Mongolia). Antiquity 74: 531-6.

NARAN, B. 2004. Pathological cases of the Hunnu period in Mongolia. Paper presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 14-17 April 2004, Tempe, AZ.

PECK, J.A., P. KHOSBAYAR, S.J. FOWELL, R.B. PEARCE, S. ARIUNBILEG, B.C.S. HANSEN & N. SONINKHISHIG. 2002. Mid to Late Holocene climate change in north central Mongolia as recorded in the sediments of Lake Telmen. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 183: 135-53.

PEDERSEN, M.A. 2003. Networking and the nomadic landscape: place, power and decision making in northern Mongolia, in A. Roepstorff, N. Bubandt & K. Kull (ed.) Imagining nature: practices of cosmology and identity. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

PERLEE, K. 1961. Mongol Ard Ulsyn ert, dundad ueiin khot suuriny tovchoon [A brief history of ancient and medieval period settlements in the Mongolian People's Republic]. Ulaanbaatar: Academy of Sciences.

POLOSMAK, N.L., E. BOGDANOV & N. ERDENE-OCHIR. 2007. Excavation of Tomb No. 20 from Noyon Uul. Paper presented at the 1st International Conference of Archaeological Research in Mongolia, 19-23 August 2007 Ulaanbaatar.

PROUSE, T. 2005. Mongol-American Egiin Gol-Selenge valley survey report: phytolith analysis of sediments. Unpublished MA dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

RUDENKO, S.I. 1962. Kul'tura khunnov i Noinulinskie kurgany [Khunnu culture and the Kurgans of Noin Ula]. Moscow: Nauka.

SIMUKOV, A.D. 2007 [1934]. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Works about Mongolia and for Mongolia]. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology.

SINOR, D. (ed.) 1990. The Cambridge history of early Inner Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

TIAN, G. & Z. LI. 1980. Neimenggu Aluchaideng Faxian de Xiongnu Yiwu [Discoveries of Xiongnu artefacts in Aluchaideng, Inner Mongolia]. Kaogu 4: 333-8.

TREVER, K.C. 1932. Excavations in northern Mongolia. Leningrad: Nauka.

TRIGG, H. 2003. Report on flotation and wood samples from Mongolia. Unpublished Preliminary Report.

TURBAT, T., C. AMARTUVSHIN & U. ERDENBAT. 2003. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Archaeological Monuments of Egiin Gol Valley]. Ulaanbataar: Mongolian Academy of Science, Institute of Archaeology.

VOSKRESENSKII, A.A. & N.P. TIKHONOV (ed.). 1932. Tekhnologicheskoe izuchenie materialov kurgannykh pogrebenii Noin-Ula [Technological study of materials found in the tumuli Noin-Ula]. Leningrad: Nauka.

WATSON, B. 1961. Records of the grand historian of China, translated from the Shih Chi of Ssu-ma Chi'en. New York (NY): Columbia University Press.

WRIGHT, J. 2006. The adoption of pastoralism north-east Asia: monumental transformation in the Egiin Gol Valley, Mongolia. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Harvard University.

WU, E. 1990. Lun Xiongnu kaogu yanjiu zhong de jige wenti [Some questions on the archaeological study of the Xiongnu]. Kaogu Xuebao 4: 409-37.

Joshua Wright (1), William Honeychurch (2) & Chunag Amartuvshin (3)

(1) Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA (Email: (jwright3@stanford.edu)

(2) Department of Anthropology, Yale University, 10 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA

(3) Institute of Archaeology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar-11, Jukov Street-77, Mongolia

Received: 15 April 2008; Accepted: 1 September 2008; Revised: 10 September 2008
Table 1. Summary of Xiongnu sites found in the Lower Egiin Gol.

 Site
Site type no. Location

Stone Feature EGS 118 Upper Valley
Ditched Enclosure EGS 131 Bluff Top
Sherd Scatter EGS 014 Sheltered valley floor
Sherd Scatter EGS 015 Open valley floor
Sherd Scatter EGS 017 Open valley floor
Sherd Scatter EGS 034 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 036 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 110 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 213 Upper Valley
Sherd Scatter EGS 297 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 298 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 299 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 301 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 455 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 463 River terrace
Sherd Scatter EGS 482 Bluffs
Sherd Scatter EGS 486 River terrace
Burial EGS 026 Ridge slopes
Burial EGS 029 Bluffs
Burial EGS 063 Open valley floor
Burial EGS 075 Ridge slopes
Burial EGS 100 Bluffs
Burial EGS 150 Upper valley
Burial EGS 196 Upper valley
Burial EGS 282 Open valley floor
Burial EGS 289 Ridge slopes
Burial EGS 300 River terrace
Burial EGS 484 River terrace
Burial EGS 532 Upper valley

 Artefact No. of
Site type scatter (ha) Examination burials

Stone Feature Excavation
Ditched Enclosure Subsurface
Sherd Scatter O.6 Excavation
Sherd Scatter 0.42 Surface
Sherd Scatter 0.5 Surface
Sherd Scatter 0.04 Surface
Sherd Scatter 4 Subsurface
Sherd Scatter 1.1 Excavation
Sherd Scatter 0.002 Subsurface
Sherd Scatter 2.8 Surface
Sherd Scatter 0.46 Surface
Sherd Scatter 1 Surface
Sherd Scatter 2.6 Surface
Sherd Scatter 2.6 Surface
Sherd Scatter 0.25 Surface
Sherd Scatter 0.015 Subsurface
Sherd Scatter 1.2 Excavation
Burial 3
Burial 1
Burial 1
Burial Excavation 1
Burial Excavation 97
Burial Excavation 6
Burial Excavation 1
Burial Excavation 5
Burial 2
Burial 6
Burial 1
Burial 1

Table 2. Radiocarbon dates from non-mortuary Xiongnu period sites
in the Lower Egiin Gol (* calibrations performed using Oxca1 4.0
online tool with IntCal 04 calibration curves).

EGS site Conventional [sup.13]C/[sup.C]
no. [sup.14]C age Ratio Material

EGS 110 2220 [+ or -] 40 -24.2 [per thousand] Charred grain
EGS 486 1970 [+ or -] 80 -25.0 [per thousand] Charred material
EGS 486 2020 [+ or -] 40 -23.4 [per thousand] Charred material
EGS 131 1750 [+ or -] 80 -25.6 [per thousand] Charred material
EGS 131 1990 [+ or -] 190 n/a Charred material
EGS 131 2060 [+ or -] 90 -24.7 [per thousand] Charred material
EGS 131 1740 [+ or -] 30 n/a Charcoal in Soil

EGS site Calibrated age
no. Context (age 2 range) Lab

EGS 110 Hearth 2340-2135 BP Beta 152047
EGS 486 Midden Pit 2120-1720 BP Beta 152046
EGS 486 Midden Pit 2060-1880 BP Beta 177580
EGS 131 Ditch Infill 1840-1400 BP Tka 11735
EGS 131 Ditch Infill 2350-1400 BP Tka 11758
EGS 131 Ditch Infill 2300-1750 BP Tka 11733
EGS 131 Ditch Infill 1720-1550 BP Beta 128623

Table 3. Ceramic collections from several
Xiongnu period sites in the Lower Egiin Gol Valley.

 Excavated Weight per
 Volume Excavated Sherds per [m.sup.3]
Site ([m.sup.3]) sherds [m.sup.3] (g)

EGS 036 0 0
EGS 110 19 957 50.37 252.6
EGS 213 0.75 10 13.33 146.7
EGS 297 0 0
EGS 299 0 0
EGS 463 0 0
EGS 486 9.8 816 83.3 319.3

 Surface
 Site Sherds from sherds per Average
 area site 100 sherd
Site (ha) surface [m.sup.2] weight

EGS 036 4 1098 2.75 11.12
EGS 110 1.1 5 0.05 5.01
EGS 213 0.002 3 15.00 11.0
EGS 297 2.8 275 0.98 11.26
EGS 299 1 70 0.70 8.29
EGS 463 0.25 49 1.96 16.33
EGS 486 1.2 7 0.06 3.83

 Grey Per cent
 ware grey Bowl
Site sherds wares rims

EGS 036 555 50.5% 9
EGS 110 311 32.5% 2
EGS 213 8 80.0%
EGS 297 149 54.2% 5
EGS 299 40 57.1%
EGS 463 36 73.5%
EGS 486 353 43.3% 5

 Wide Narrow
 Flat rimmed mouth necked
Site bowl rims jar rims jar rims

EGS 036 17 24 10
EGS 110 2 3
EGS 213
EGS 297 2 7 3
EGS 299 1 3
EGS 463 1 4
EGS 486 1 13 1
COPYRIGHT 2009 Antiquity Publications, Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Research
Author:Wright, Joshua; Honeychurch, William; Amartuvshin, Chunag
Publication:Antiquity
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9MONG
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:6509
Previous Article:Bredaror on Kivik: a monumental cairn and the history of its interpretation.
Next Article:Pottery production and Islam in south-east Spain: a social model.
Topics:

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters