Tribe and State Relations: the Inner Asian Perspective

Thomas J. Barfield

The debate about the nature of tribe-state relations in the Middle East has often generated dispute because it is assumed that all Islamic tribal peoples are fundamentally similar. It has been argued in this essay that two types of tribal cultural traditions with different styles of political organization were present in the region: the egalitarian-lineage groups, associated with regional states in Arabia and North Africa; and the Turco-Mongolian tribal confederation, associated with imperial states on the Iranian and Anatolian plateaus. The dynamic of tribe-state relations depended largely on what type of tribe and what type of state. Turco-Mongolian tribes founded dynasties and formed large confederations having predatory relationships with their neighbors. Arabian tribes established more-symbiotic relationships with regional states with whom they shared a common cultural background. Regional states rarely faced large tribal confederations, for if they were nearby, so was an empire that devoured regional states. Egalitarian tribes succeeded in maintaining their autonomy to the extent that their territory was defensible. The Turco-Mongolian confederation was restricted to the grassland plateau areas and so posed no threat to desert tribes. Sedentary tribes successfully fended off attacks by both tribal confederations and imperial states when located in mountain regions.

Keywords: tribal confederations, egalitarian lineages, egalitarian (Arabian) tribal model, hierarchical (Inner Asian) tribal model, imperial states, nomads, Turco-Mongolian peoples, ‘asabiyya, supratribal organization, segmentary opposition, conical clan.

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 Special Section

Towns and Settlements in Xiongnu Empire

Editors Foreword

N.N. Kradin, A.L. Ivliev, L. Erdenebold

In “Editors foreword” a short information about urbanization in the Nomadic empires of Inner Asia is given. Sources of urbanization date back to the times of the Xiongnu empire. There were four different types of settlements, fortres, and towns in the Xiongnu society: (1) fortified settlements with agrarian and kraftmen as a Ivolga. This fortress can be considered a town; (2) large and small settlements without fortifications; (3) small fortresses with dwellings as a Bayan Under; (4) fortresses with platforms, however, these sites do not contain any cultural layer and artifacts. Apparently, life here was not too intensive. Scholars are trying to find out what they were: seasonal administrative residences, religious hubs or memorial building for important leaders of the Xiongnu Empire.

Keywords: Xiongnu, urbanization, nomadic empire, sedenterization.

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Terelzhin Durvulzhin and Others Fortress of Xiongnu in Mongolia: Peculiarities of Functional Interpretation

N.N. Kradin, A.L. Ivliev, S.A. Vasyutin, E.V. Kovychev, A.V. Kharinsky, L. Erdenebold

The article deals with Terelzhin Durvulzhin materials and other similar sites with earthworks and platforms of Xiongnu period. The introduction characterizes written sources information about settled population, fortress, and settlements in Xiongnu Empire. To a limited extent, the development of arable farming is only possible near large rivers such as Selenga, Orkhon, Tuul. According to rough estimation, between 166 and 60 BCE, the Xiongnu captured about 150 thousand people as prisoners. The example of Xiongnu settlement is Boroo in Northern Mongolia. The main part of the article discusses the researches materials of the Russian-Mongolian mission to Terelzhin Durvulzhin in 2015—2016, describes construction peculiarities of the analyzed construction on the platform No 4. Roof tiles are main archaeological material obtained by excavation. The decoration of tiles reflects both Han traditions and topics specific for Xiongnu. Similarly, Han methods are combined with traits of Xiongnu pottery in technology of tile discs’ production. An absence of traces of using the cloth covered mould is important peculiarity of the technology of Terelzhin Durvulzhin tiles’ production. In China such technology of tile production without mould went out of use since middle of 2nd — 1st century B.C. All these facts enable us to date tiles of Terelzhin Durvulzhin to III—I centuries B.C. The Conclusion shows the functions of fortress in the Mongolian territory. As in Terelzhin Durvulzhin, there one can see hills — the remains of tiled buildings on platforms. In addition, gates and walls in the shape of a gallery were examined in the fortress of Gua Dov. However, these sites do not contain any cultural layer and artifacts. Apparently, life here was not too intensive. Scholars are trying to find out what they were: seasonal administrative residences, religious hubs or funeral structures? This mystery is waiting for its answer. We think it was a memorial building for important leaders of the Xiongnu Empire (as memorial complexes of Turkic khaganates).

Keywords: archaeology, Xiongnu, Mongolia, Terelzhin Durvulzhin, settlement, city.

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Constructive Features of the Xiongnu Town Gua Dov

G. Eregzen

The article is devoted to the research of the Xiongnu site Gua Dov, located on the Kherlen River in Mongolia. The first studies of the site were carried out by H. Perlee in 1952, who made the plan for the site, carried out tested excavations and determined the location of the central building. Based on the data obtained, H. Perlee suggested that Gua Dov was a ritual place for the Xiongnu. In 2013—2015 within the framework of the Mongol-Korean project, the Gua Dov site was researched. In the process of work, unmanned aerial vehicles were used, geophysical, geomagnetic and electromagnetic studies were carried out. The central building was examined, its dimensions, the area of the settlement and the length of the walls were determined more accurately in comparison with the studies in the XX c. One of the excavation area included the remains of the gate with columns on granite bases; in the process of excavation of the gate their design features were revealed, also tiles of the roof of the gate structures were collected. The tile discs bear similarities to Han decors and have local features. In another area of the site, the western part of the town wall was explored; that allowed reconstructing the general appearance of it. The wall was a corridor with a tile roof, and each of the four walls had the gate. New research of Gua Dov allowed making a conclusion that the site was a summer residence of one of the high-ranking officials of Xiongnu Empire. The palace complex was surrounded by walls with tiled roof, it had four gates, an auxiliary building, and an artificial pond in the southeastern corner of the courtyard. There were various structures outside the walls.

Keywords: Mongolia, Xiongnu, Gua Dov site, palace complex, town wall, gate.

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Newly Discovered Monuments of Worship of Xiongnu

A. Ochir, Chen Yongzhi, B. Saranbileg, Cheng Pengfei, B. Ankhbayar

The paper introduces series of sites which as the authors suppose are associated with religious rituals of Xiongnu. Authors note that such sites as Talyn Gurvan Kherem in Ugiinuur soum, of Arkhangai Province, Khugdiin Talyn Balgas and Bor Azargyn Kherem of Battsengel soum of the same Province and Ulaan Kherem in Bayannuur soum of Bulgan Province have unified shape and layout, also their common feature is absence of any findings of architectural items. All of them are surrounded by earthen wall, square in shape; they have large earthen platform of the central structure and a group of three smaller structures located to south-west from it. Also, all of them have small platform in the south from the central platform connected with the latter by earthen path. Results of the excavation of Talyn Gurvan Kherem site made by joint Mongol-Chinese expedition are presented in this paper. The research has revealed a structure of the constructions on earthen platforms, of the gate in surrounding site earthen wall and of the path which connects central and south platforms. Radiocarbon dating and found artifacts to date this site to II c. B.C. — beginning of the I c. A.D., i.e. to the time of Xiongnu Empire. Basing on historical records and on the data obtained in the process of excavation the authors come to conclusion about ritual purpose of the researched sites.

Keywords: Xiongnu, monuments of worship, Talyn Gurvan Kherem, Mongolia.

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Mangirtuy Settlement and Emergence of Sedentary Complexes at Xiongnu in Western Transbaikalia

D.A. Miyagashev, B.A. Bazarov

The paper is devoted to the preliminary results of the study of the Mangirtuy Xiongnu settlement in Western Transbaikalia. Three semi-subterranean dwellings and 14 pits were researched at the site. The dwellings have common features with the dwellings of the Ivolga Fortress and the settlement of Dureny in Western Transbaikalia and the settlement of Boroo gol in Mongolia. The architecture of the dwelling 2 is distinguished by the presence of a wooden walls preserved along the perimeter of the dwelling pit. The pits are of different shapes and sizes, large rectangular pits with rounded corners are identified as utility pits.

Analysis of material and archaeozoological collection allows us to draw some conclusions on the main directions of economic activity of the population. The direct evidence of agriculture were not found. The archaeozoological collection includes 6 types of domestic animals: dog, horse, pig, cattle, sheep and goat; three game species: hare, roe deer and red deer. Bones of birds and fish are rare. Cattle ranks second in the bone spectrum, but in terms of slaughter weight, it is dominant. The find of a piece of a crutch in dwelling 1 indicates that they were engaged in metalworking. Finds of animal bones with traces of processing indicate the presence of bone carving craft.

Determination of the chronology of the settlement at this stage of the study is difficult, because the available radiocarbon dates are loosely placed in the chronological frames of the Xiongnu culture in Western Transbaikalia. A bronze buckle in the shape of a head of a cat predator from a household pit 8 has analogies with a find in Mongolia dating back to the I century B.C. — I century A.D.

There is reason to believe that the appearance of settlements in the Xiongnu Empire was the result of the concentration in the steppe of a large number of immigrants from China. Children’s burials in the vessels of the Ivolga complex and the Dureny settlement are one of the evidence in favor of this assumption.

Keywords: Xiongnu, Western Transbaikalia, settlements, Mangirtuy settlement, Ivolga Fortress, Dureny, nomads, agriculture.

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Some Results of the Preliminary Research on the Ruins, Dov Ders

А. Оchir, Kh. Tserenbyamba

The paper presents results of archaeological researches of Dov Ders ruins situated near Orkhon River in Bulgan aimag of Mongolia in 2011—2012. The site is a rectangular walled town with earthen wall 360×400 m and big earthen platform in its central part. In the process of excavation the central platform 52×57 m was cut by test trenches in meridional and latitudinal directions; it allowed to ascertain the construction of the structure. It became clear that it is a basement 110—120 cm high built by layerwise tramping of earth. Remains of low earthen wall were found on edges of the platform. Also four stone pillars bases were unearthed on the surface of the basement. In the third and fourth phases of excavation four fragments of ceramic vessels were found over the surface of the platform. Two of these fragments were identified as wheel-made. Test trenches across small mounds scattered near walls inside the site have demonstrated their natural origin. Authors come to conclusion that the central structure of the site is remains of the mansion with walls and roof made of fur or soft material like cloth. Comparing this site with similar by lay out sites like Xiongnu walled towns Gua Dov and Tereljiin Durvuljin they note that Dov Ders is much larger. Authors suppose that this walled town could be summer or autumn mansion of Xiongnu shanyu mentioned in historical records.

Keywords: Mongolia, Xiongnu, Dov Ders ruins, basement of a mansion.

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Features of the Spatial Organization of the Bayan under Hillfort (Based on the Gpr Results)

E.A. Bessonova, B.A. Bazarov, N.V. Imenokhoev, D.A. Miyagashev

According to modern concept of dealing with archeological heritage sites, these sites are non-renewable, irreplaceable cultural source. Interdisciplinary approach we used in our research allowed to collect new data about elements of structural ingeneering in Xiongnu fortress without curtural layer destruction. The cultural layer of an archaeological site is considered as an integral part of the geological section. GPR used in contouring soil irregularities of human origin is one of the most required method in modern research practice of archeological sites. The problem of electrophysical irregularities spatial layout can be solved by 3D layer-by-layer interpretation. With various degree of reliability we found local objects whose ruins are consealed in modern geological deposits. We found local object whose construction features with some assumption are compatible to building structure type archeologically explored in north-east of site’s inner part. We identified general concept of building in domestic development and double fortification system. Based on visually located soil deformations and distance between axial sections of fortification system located by georadiolocation we reconstructed key points of fortifications structural plan project. Considering geolocation data we submit an idealized model of two-leveled fortification system spatial organization in Bayan Under hillfort which can show the new perspectives necessary not only for understanding of investigated archeological site but also for characterizing the level of xiongnu military engineering. Complexation of data obtained during archeological and geological-geophysical research provides acquisition of whole new level data necessary for expanding historical and cultural context of research object and accomplishing of historical reconstruction.

Keywords: хiongnu, Bayan Under hillfort, GPR, fortification system model.

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Latest Excavation Results

Study on Construction Techniques of Bohai Fortification: Rampart Structure of Starorechenskoye Fortress

M.A. Stoyakin, Jeong Yun-Hui, S.D. Prokopets, I.V. Belova

In 2017—2019 a joint Russian-Korean archaeological team conducted excavation at the Bohai Starorechenskoye fortress, which is located in the floodplain of the Razdolnaya River, not far from the Starorechenskoye village of Oktyabrsky District in Western Primorye. A section of earthwork was studied and the construction technique is revealed. Rampart was built by a layered-soil method (hantu method), strengthened with soil bedding and a pebble lining. This construction method distinguishes from other earthwork construction of Bohai fortresses in Primorye, usually defended by stone masonry in wall construction. The article also presents the results of analogy of fortification techniques in the adjacent territories of the China and the Korean Peninsula. On the capital cities and a few numbers of fortresses in Bohai were used a layered-soil method, but this method was not popular in Bohai, compared with China. Most of all, the rampart construction of the Starorechenskoye fortress has similar features with the ramparts of the Bohai Middle and Eastern capital in North-East China, but with some different structural characteristics. Our study explained similar and different features of fortifications in cultures neighboring to the Bohai.

Keywords: Bohai, Primorye, China, the Middle Ages, castle, fortification.

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Walking through the Cities of East Asia: Review on Monograph “Towns of Medieval Empires of the Far East”

M.A. Stoyakin

Stoyakin Maksim Alexandrovich, PhD, Researcher at the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Taejon, South Korea.

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