Preface Xiongnu Archaeology between 100th and 125th Anniversaries

N.N. Kradin

This article is an introduction to the reports of the conference dedicated to the 125th anniversary of Xiongnu archeology. It was held in December 2021 in Ulan-Ude. Well-known foreign researchers from the USA, Mongolia, Japan, South Korea and leading Russian scholars from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita and Vladivostok took part in it. Due to the spread of the infection COVID-19, the symposium was held online. A total of 33 people participated. 11 presentation are submitted for publication. The current state of Xiongnu archeology, the most striking discoveries of recent years are discussed, and the prospects for further study of Xiongnu sites and burials are shown.

Keywords: Xiongnu, Xiongnu Empire, Iron Age, archaeology, Mongolia, Transbaikalia.

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Specificity of Animal Style in Xiongnu Art

Eregzen G.

The article discusses the features of the animal style of the Xiongnu. Xiongnu products in the animal style can be divided into two types: with figures of real animals and with images of mythical creatures. Domestic animals include horses, cattle, yaks, and camels. From wild animals — mountain goats, deer, mountain sheep. Often there are predators — tigers, snow leopards, bears, birds of prey (griffins) as well as mythical animals — dragons, one-horned ungulates. There is a series of stable plots. Among them are a pair of identical or different animals, galloping horses, predators tormenting their prey. Plots and form vary depending on the size of the product itself, on which they are depicted. It can be assumed that the animal style of Xiongnu art has a symbolic meaning, reflecting the system of social ranks. Images of mythical animals are present in the burials of representatives of the upper strata of Xiongnu society. The images of mythical and real horned animals may be associated with the status of the highest Xiongnu elite — the commanders of the so-called four and six horns. During the Later Han period, there were more bearers of this status (“horns”). Items with images of horned creatures are found precisely in elite burials. They were made only to meet the needs of the elite, they were distributed and only aristocrats had the right to use them. Ethnographic parallels say that among the Mongols, the tradition of calling titled persons “people with horns and hooves” has been preserved. Subsequent studies will deepen our knowledge of the animal style of the Xiongnu.

Keywords: Xiongnu, animal style, art, nomads, Mongolia.

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Otani Ikue. Chinese Artifacts as a Time Scale: in the Case of Xiongnu

Urban Planning Factors in Steppes of Inner Asia and Hun Way Urbanization

S.A. Vasyutin

The article deals with the main factors of urban planning in Inner Asia steppes and tries to outline the meaning of Hun archaeological sites which looked like fortified settlements (earthworks with fences, platforms, tiled roofed constructions, “paths”, etc.). To find urbanization factors in nomadic units of Inner Asia, researches of a range of periphery and semi-periphery territories in Eurasia have been led wherein I millinery BC — I millinery AD a large commercial settlements and early towns developed. The comparative study includes the difficulties of nomadic and settled societies with a similar level. The generalization of exogenous and endogenous processes associated with town emergence has allowed us to find specific urbanization factors in steppe societies of Inner Asia. The study of transformations in Hun society of imperial period has shown that the background for fortified settlements and towns building had existed and were partly realized. However, most found sites with ramparts and platforms of Hun period were not towns and had other heterogeneous functions. The study results of Mongolian-Korean expedition in Gua Dov allow us to suggest that it was an imitation of the Han capital and had to literally “prove” the equality of Xiongnu and Han.

Keywords: Inner Asia, Nomads, Urbanization, Xiongnu.

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Livestock in the Economy of Mangirtuy Settlement

D.A. Miyagashev

The paper is devoted to the analysis of the archaeozoological collection of the Mangirtuy settlement in Western Transbaikalia. Three semi-subterranean dwellings and 14 pits were excavated at the site. The dwellings of the settlement have common features with dwellings at other Xiongnu sites in Transbaikalia and Mongolia. The architecture of dwelling 2 is distinguished by the presence of a wooden frame, preserved along the perimeter of the dwelling pit. The pits have different shapes and sizes, large rectangular pits with rounded corners are defined as utility pits.

An analysis of the archaeozoological collection allows us to draw some conclusions on the main areas of economic activity of the inhabitants of the settlement. The osteological collection includes 6 kinds of domestic animals: dog, horse, pig, cattle, sheep and goat; three trade species: hare, roe deer and red deer. The bones of birds and fish are rare. In the osteological spectrum, cattle ranks second, but in terms of meat consumption, it is dominant — 54.5%. Consumption of horsemeat among habitants of the Mangirtuy settlement is in second position — its share is 27.6%, pork — 9.4%, lamb/goat meat — 8.3%. Dog bones do not show traces of fine butchering.

The state of the dental system, cows, as well as horses, indicates that the animals were slaughtered at a very old age, which indicates the milk-meat direction of cows, in relation to sheep, the fur-wool-meat direction of breeding. The percentage of pig residues is quite high, reflecting the prominent role of household pig breeding among the population of the Khilok Valley. The number of chickens in the total spectrum of remains is small and does not allow us to judge the place of chickens in the economic picture of the population of the Mangirtuу settlement. The roe deer was an obvious commercial animal; its remains are the most numerous and belong to individuals of different ages. Poultry meat and fish were of secondary importance in the diet of the inhabitants.

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

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New Results of Dwellings Researches Data of the Ivolga Fortress

N.N. Kradin, S.D. Prokopets, A.I. Simukhin

The article describes the remains of three dwellings discovered by the results of archaeological studies in the Xiongnu Ivolginsky (Ivolga) fortress, located in the vicinity of Ulan-Ude. In the course of archaeological work on the fortress in 2018, the excavation revealed the depressions of three dwellings. One of the dwelling pit was clearly filled in during the life of the settlement, as indicated by the variegated filling mixed with the remains of fragments of ceramic vessels, household items, as well as the remains of animal bones. Two other dwellings were clearly abandoned by residents and eventually burned down.

Keywords: Xiongnu, Ivolga fortress, Iron Age, dwelling, stratigraphy.

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Sasada Tomotaka, Ишцэрэн Лочин. Features of Xiongnu Iron Smelting Technology (with a Focus on the Khustyn Bulag 1 Site in Mongolia)

The Bow and Arrows of the Xiongnu Era in Tuva

M.E. Kilunovskaya, P.M. Leus

The article is dedicated to the overview of arrowheads and details of a composite bows of the Xiongnu era in Tuva. The main part of the material under consideration comes from recently excavated burials of the Xiongnu era at the burial grounds of Ala-Tey 1 and Terezin, located on the shore and at the bottom of the Sayano-Shushenskoye reservoir in Central Tuva. 36 arrowheads have been found here, two of which are bronze, and the rest are made of bone. Analogies to bronze arrowheads are presented in the monuments of the Late Scythian time. Bone arrowheads differs by the type of fastening — it could be a hub or a tang, a split nozzle or clamping. Some of them are already known by different finds, from Late Scythian monuments, up to the Middle Ages. The most recent parts of the bows, are bone side plates from the endings, but there are also several middle plates. Thus, bone arrowheads demonstrate a variety of types adapted to perform a variety of tasks. A variety of side and handle bone plates confirm the spreading of a composite Hunnic type bow in the II—I centuries BC in Tuva. Bows of this type previously was unknown here.

Keywords: Hunnu, Xiongnu, Tuva, Ala-Tey, Terezin, bow, arrows.

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Xiongnu Osteology (According to the Materials of the Laboratory of Archeology, Ethnology and Anthropology)

A.I. Buraev, Ya.V. Dikiy

The article presents the results of a paleoanthropological study of postcranial materials from the Xiongnu period. The skeletons were examined, which had not previously been subjected to anthropological study. All materials are stored in the laboratory of archeology, ethnology and anthropology of the Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMBTS SB RAS) and come from burial grounds located on the territory of Buryatia. As of 2021, 24 skeletons of this historical period are stored in the laboratory’s repository. During the study of the bones, gender, age, proportions and body length, height and weight were determined. Due to poor preservation, it was not possible to measure five skeletons. From the available postcranial materials, six female and nine male and two child skeletons were identified. The average height of women was 156.5 cm, and the weight was 60.7 kg, for men it was 166.7 cm and 67.7 kg, respectively.

Keywords: paleoanthropology, archeology, osteometry, Buryatia, Transbaikalia, Xiongnu.

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Petroglyphs of the Ancient Xiongnu of Mongoli


The rock petrogliphs of the Xiongnu period are included some of the animal style of the primitive nomads, they nevertheless became more realistic, less stylized and simplified. Petroglyphs consider the period, on the one hand, in varying degrees of coverage with the animal style, but on the other hand, they can be called the ancestors of the ancient Turkic pictures. That is why some monuments are difficult to date to the Xiongnu or Turkic period.

Keywords: Xiongnu, archaeology, ancient art, Mongolia, nomads.

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Excavations of the Xiongnu Burial Ground Zyyn Salaa on the Territory of Ulaanbaatar


On the territory of Zyyn Salaa, Bayankhoshuu, Songino Khairkhansky district in February 2012, archaeologists of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology discovered several burials. After the discovery, we registered 30 burials and performed CRM (cultural research management). The universitys archaeologists identified the burial complex as burials of the lower class of Xiongnu. The university expedition carried out CRM between 2013 and 2015 with financial support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Most of the graves were destroyed, as they are located near the road. Some of them were in the family’s yard, so the burials were crowded with the house or the family’s garbage. Many burials were destroyed from 30% to 90%, with the exception of a few. During the excavations of the graves, we found quite artifacts collections. This report includes an archaeological record of the burial complex of the Xiongnu period on the territory of 23rd street, Zyyn Salaa. The excavations were the first urban archeology CRM in the capital Ulaanbaatar during the development of archeology in Mongolia. We are also pioneers in the use of geophysical methods for archaeological excavations in the city.

Keywords: Xiongnu, burial ground, cultural research management.

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Ritual-Cult Using of the Tugnui Valley (Western Transbaikal) in Bronze and Early Iron Ages

V.I. Tashak, Yu.E. Antonova

The right side of the Tugnui Valley mouth in the Western Transbaikalia represents more than two dozen archaeological sites concentrated on the slopes of the Tsagan-Daban Mountains’ ridges and at their foot. These sites functioned in different times: from the Palaeolithic till the Middle Ages. The most sites are dated back to the Bronze and early Iron Ages. These sites are the burial mounds, ritual-cult sites and rock arts. Large settlements and camps of this time in the indicated territory are not reported. The purpose of this research is the considering the character of the using limited area in the western part of the Tugnui Valley and empowering it with the sacral role by the population in Bronze and early Iron Ages. Ritual-cult sites in this area represented by the sites in the form of areas on the mountain tops where surface archaeological materials have been reported (sanctuaries on the Ger-Shuluun Rocks and Shara-Tebseg). Artifacts uncovered in the course of excavations at the sanctuary Ger-Shuluun-1 confirm the ritual-cult using of this area and together with the obtained radiocarbon date designate the sanctuary as of the Late Bronze — Early Iron Ages. We revealed four localities at the Ger-Shuluun Rock similar to the sanctuaries Ger-Shuluun-1. At the foot of the mountains, which tops are the places for the sanctuaries, there are situated burial grounds of different periods: khirigsuur mounds and slab graves of the Bronze Age — on the open southern slopes; circular stone burials of the xiongnu — in the deep of the ravines and the small valleys. Some of the numerous rocks are covered by rock arts made with ochre. On the base of technology and content these rock arts refer to the Bronze Age. Taking into account the concentration of the archaeological sites of definite type in the small valleys between south-western offshoots of the Tsagan-Daban mountain range — burial grounds, sanctuaries and rock arts, and the absence of the settlement sites, we conclude the outermost south-western offshoots were considered as a sacral territory in the Bronze — Early Iron Ages.

Keywords: Archaeology, Bronze Age, Iron Age, burial grounds of the Bronze and Iron Ages, sacral territory, Western Transbaikalia.

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