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Francis Allard1 & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar2
The khirigsuurs are large and complex ritual sites that are major features in the landscape of Bronze Age Mongolia and represent considerable investment. The authors present recently investigated examples of this important class of monument, describe their attributes and offer preliminary deductions of the kind of society they imply – and whether it was truly nomadic. Keywords: Bronze Age, Mongolia, nomadism, ritual monuments
Spanning thousands of years, the broad emergence of mobile pastoralism across the vast Eurasian steppes encompassed the domestication, harnessing and consumption of the horse, the adoption of wheeled vehicles, animal sacriﬁce and burial, as well as the practice of inhumation under tumuli or kurgans (Khazanov 1994: 90-7; Anthony 1998; Levine 1999; Anthony & Brown 2000; Kuzmina 2000, 2003). Although marked by regional variation and still disputed on points of ultimate causes and chronology, this process is generally recognized as having been preceded by a settled and agricultural mode of life. Archaeological surveys and excavations have helped reveal the gradual expansion of forms of mobile pastoralism across Eurasia. By the early ﬁrst millennium BC, much of the steppes appears to have been occupied by nomadic herding societies whose armed horsemen and migratory populations helped spread technological and stylistic innovations over large distances. Explanations for the transition to greater residential mobility have included increasingly arid conditions, population pressure from settled groups, and the demand for the products of a specialised pastoralist economy (Cribb 1991: 12-4; Khazanov 1994: 85-90). In its focus on the origin and transmission of cultural and economic features, the sweeping perspective favoured by studies of Eurasian steppe prehistory has until recently been inimical to the more detailed charting of developments at the regional level. Furthermore, although cross-regional studies often include discussions of developments in southern Siberia’s Minusinsk Basin, Tuva and Gorno-Altai regions, they typically do not extend further east to take into account Mongolia’s vast grasslands, an omission partly justiﬁed by the scarcity of accessible published research. Recent work in Mongolia by local and foreign archaeologists has helped bring into sharper focus the broad outline of its prehistory, revealing in the process the existence of regional trajectories within the territory itself. Neolithic sites in eastern and southern Mongolia have yielded ceramics as well as evidence
Department of Anthropology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA. (Email: email@example.com) Institute of History, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Mongolia (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Received: 25 July 2003; Accepted: 2 February 2004; Revised: 14 June 2004 antiquity 79 (2005): 547–563
battle-picks) hanging from what appear to be belts. Visible settlement traces have not been detected in association with this Bronze Age landscape. slab burials and deer stones have been identiﬁed at a number of single sites (e. ceramics (mostly vessel sherds). axes. hunting implements. the importance of animals in ritual. the landscape is marked by a profusion of stone built sites. graves and stelae that are found in large numbers along the valley bottoms. neither within the perimeter of the sites nor in association with them. there is as yet no clear indication of agricultural settlements predating the establishment of a fully nomadic pastoralist economy in that area. these assemblages point to the emerging martial nature of society. Possibly. Erdenebaatar 2002: 207. In contrast.5m high. Some believe that deer stones and their designs represent tattooed humans. skulls. Often organized into horizontal bands. Erdenebaatar 2002: 151-203. The so-called ‘slab burials’ are constructed of large vertical stone slabs whose protruding sections above the ground surface deﬁne the burial’s perimeter. bows and various objects (knives. selected bones of livestock (e. weapons. Together. with agriculture playing little or no role (Volkov 1995: 320). as one archaeologist has suggested. 239-52. these designs include circles (interpreted as a sun symbol or earrings). although the remains of domesticated horse. which generally consist of a central stone mound.g. stone artefacts (tools and ornaments). What the archaeological record of Mongolia does make abundantly clear is the dramatic cultural transformation of much of the territory by the mid-late second millennium BC. archaeologists have yet to clarify the 548 . daggers. a few full-ﬁgured faces facing east. as well as the possibility that they were built and used by mobile populations who left only ephemeral traces of their settlements behind. namely the highly distinctive ‘khirigsuurs’.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs of sedentary occupation. and the existence of long-distance contacts that would have brought exotic materials to Mongolia. animal domestication (Derevyanko & Dorj 1992: 172-81). This article focuses on a third type of structure. bone artefacts. 226). while various lines of evidence point to the ritual and funerary nature of the sites. Although khirigsuurs. The head of the deceased is typically aligned between north-east and south-east. a period that is the focus of this article and that roughly corresponds to the region’s developed Bronze Age. highly stylised deer with bird-like beaks and backward-ﬂowing antlers. cowries and mother-of-pearl (Ishjamts 1994: 151-2. From this time until the mid-ﬁrst millennium BC. sheep and cattle have been recovered from third and second millennia BC campsites and burials in north and north-west Mongolia.g. With some reaching 2. 2004). hill slopes and hill tops. ornaments and horse riding bits). Monuments of the Mongolian Bronze Age Mongolian archaeologists generally recognise three distinct types of Bronze Age structures. swords. Grave goods include a variety of bronzes (tools. Erdenebaatar 2004). Paths and other structures are also sometimes present. in the case of the Tamsagbulag culture of eastern Mongolia. whose spatial distributions overlap with one another (Volkov 1995. scapula and anklebones). ‘deer stones’ are stone stelae whose surfaces display numerous carved designs. Volkov 1995: 321. agriculture and. a square or circular ‘fence’ of surface stones. subsistence in that part of Mongolia at this early time consisted of hunting and a mobile form of cattle herding. as well as small stone mounds and circles.
a recently discovered Xiongnu (third century BC to second century AD) cemetery (Allard 2002). Partial remains of a mandible oriented to 117◦ were recovered from the smaller mound. but no artefacts. Investigating the khirigsuurs Established in 2001. with the largest mounds located in the sparse western sector. the site of Urt Bulagyn (KYR1) serves as a baseline from which to discuss Mongolia’s khirigsuurs. The khirigsuur Urt Bulagyn The focus of ongoing ﬁeld studies by the project. forthcoming). which has yet to be excavated. an objective that it is realising through excavations. the Khanuy Valley Project on Early Nomadic Pastoralism in Mongolia is centred in the valley of Khanuy River. Beyond the fence. The project aims to better understand the circumstances that surrounded the emergence and development of mobile herding as a way of life in central Mongolia. Its most prominent structure. The close proximity of the vertebrae to the skull and the fact that the vertebrae were found one against the other in correct anatomical sequence suggests that they were still held together by ligaments when placed there.2m high from their base. A rectangular ‘fence’ consisting of a single line of surface stones and four corner mounds enclose the central plaza. The project is also excavating Golmod-2. while a poorly deﬁned ‘path’ of surface stones joins the central mound to the eastern fence. and to consider the role that ritual may have played in the development of the khirigsuur phenomenon.Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar temporal and functional relationship linking the three types of structures. located to the north of the Khangay mountain range in Arkhangai aimag (Figure 1). Slab burials. as well as an ethnographic study (Allard et al. The two excavated mounds illustrated in Figure 4 reveal a feature of the site’s southern sector. oriented to 120◦ . the seven mounds excavated so far have all contained horse remains. surveys. Measuring no more than 1. The grave goods in the slab burials and the objects depicted on the deer stones at least suggest overlapping chronologies between the mid-second and mid-ﬁrst millennia BC. the identiﬁcation of campsites. The wide western sector contains 549 Research . more than 1700 satellite mounds are concentrated on the eastern and southern sides. it is the second largest khirigsuur in the research area (Figures 2 and 3). The outermost ring-shaped area (Figure 3) consists of over 1000 circles that are built of surface stones and that range in diameter from 1 to 3m. a horse’s skull and a series of ﬁve cervical vertebrae were found. This article presents the results of ﬁeldwork carried out at many of the khirigsuurs in Khanuy valley and summarises recently published information on khirigsuurs in other parts of Mongolia and surrounding regions. to investigate its possible association with mobile herding. Near the centre of the largest of these two satellite mounds. deer stones and khirigsuurs are all found in large numbers within the project’s 330km2 research area. Built entirely of unaltered stones and measuring 390 × 390m. namely the presence of smaller mounds placed to the immediate south-west of larger ones. Horse skulls and/or cervical vertebrae were found in all ﬁve other mounds excavated at the site. is its 5m tall central mound. It provides an opportunity to describe this little known type of monument to the wider archaeological public.
The circles are often arranged in rows that are roughly parallel to one another and parallel to the side of the stone fence nearest to them.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs Figure 1. and fewer than 200 from others. A total of over 33 000 such fragments was recovered from one of the circles. showing the location of Urt Bulagyn and other selected khirigsuurs. Research area. All ﬁve stone circles excavated so far have yielded whitened/bluish small bone fragments lying between 100 and 200mm below the modern ground surface. the most circles as well as many of the largest ones. 550 .
are located beyond the northern fence between the satellite mound and stone circle sectors (Figure 3). A cursory analysis of a sample of fragments suggests that they represent various livestock species. Four burials were excavated. along with a few bones of livestock animals. Fourteen slab burials.7 × 5. the radiocarbon dates available so far (1040-850 BC and 975-680 BC. human or animal remains were recovered from two of the graves. the largest burial at the site contained partial human remains. A partial excavation of the path revealed a number of large stones lying ﬂat.Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar Figure 2. Located in the same area as the burials. most of them oriented toward the north-east. The khirigsuur Urt Bulagyn. Measuring 5.0m. For example. No artefacts. work at Urt Bulagyn is providing insights into the construction process itself. it is estimated that roughly half a million stones were used to build the monument. Obtained from horse teeth found in two different satellite mounds. The slab-burials lie about 15◦ from the west-east axis. Along with helping to reveal its ritual function. while their dispersed distribution and the presence of few charcoal remains suggest that the bones were cremated at another location and the fragments later scattered freely within the circle area. a ‘northern path’ of unknown function appears as a well-deﬁned scatter of surface stones. while a third yielded only a few animal bones. The colour and appearance of the fragments indicate a long period of burning. these and later dates given at a 2σ range) suggest that the satellite mound sector may have 551 Research .
The khirigsuur type of kurgan characterised by a stone mound and a circular or four-sided enclosure is found throughout the western two-thirds of Mongolia. Volkov 1995: 324. leading to a growing acknowledgement that many khirigsuurs probably had a non-funerary function. and in regions to its northwest (Tuva and Gorno-Altai) and north (east and west of Lake Baikal). many more dates are needed to test this hypothesis and clarify whether Urt Bulagyn was built in phases. The khirigsuur phenomenon: chronology. Although some khirigsuurs were undoubtedly looted.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs Figure 3. The khirigsuur Urt Bulagyn. 2004). the cists within the central mounds rarely contain grave goods or inhumations. expanded outward over a period of a few hundred years. variability and function Research in Mongolia and Russia is helping to clarify the chronology and structural features of the khirigsuur phenomenon (Askarov et al. Built of stone slabs. However. 1992: 466-7. the apparent 552 . Erdenebaatar 2002: 126-47.
structural integrity of some of the mounds and central cists suggests they were undisturbed. Two excavated satellite mounds at Urt Bulagyn. When present. Aside from the previously mentioned radiocarbon dates for Urt Bulagyn. interred individuals are usually positioned with their head pointing to the west or north-west. When complemented by typological analysis. these dates and the few others available for Mongolia suggest that khirigsuurs were built between the mid-late second millennium BC and the seventh century BC.Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar Figure 4. Figure 9) to 930-785 BC. 553 Research . the project has dated one small khirigsuur (KYR57) in our research area to 1390-910 BC and a much larger one (KYR 119.
Signiﬁcantly. If this event was the setting or rising of a particular celestial body above the horizon at a certain time of the year. or of the lessening of such rules by the end of the period. an association. in the southern sector. a path joining the central mound to the eastern fence. a concentric outer area of stone circles arranged in rows. the western fence). between large and smaller satellite mounds arranged along a roughly south-west-north-east axis. At the very least. the determination of the body in question will need to await further ﬁeld observations since mountain ranges on both sides of the valley would have interrupted 554 . the fences may have been carefully measured at the time of construction (since such a small difference is difﬁcult to estimate visually). Without additional chronological data. and the presence of a long path and slab burials between the stone circle and satellite mound areas in the northern sector of the sites. the few detailed plans published to date of khirigsuurs located in northern Mongolia permit us to note a similar structural plan to that described above. six of which are illustrated in Figure 5. of the early stages of rule systematisation. As illustrated in Figures 7 and 8 (top). One unexpected ﬁnding.e. A determination of the sites’ intended orientation (i. Here again. as illustrated by the unusually shaped site KYR10. it is difﬁcult to determine whether this is evidence of more relaxed rules of construction at smaller sites. Although certain elements are missing at some of the sites (especially the smaller ones).g. reveals that the eastern fence is often 10-15 per cent longer than the western fence.g. although circular fences may have been more common outside Khanuy valley. the east fence) longer than the one closest to them (i. the path on the east side and the ‘opening’ in the satellite mound sector on the west side). which lacks a number of elements (Figure 5). a satellite mound area whose western sector contains few mounds or may be absent altogether. the khirigsuurs in the research area display a relatively consistent orientation along a west/north-west-east/south-east axis. toward west/north-west or east/southeast) is hampered by the presence of prominent elements on both sides of the khirigsuurs (e. Interestingly. Second. although the orientation of the few recorded inhumations toward the west or northwest may be an important clue. we may be witnessing the ‘keystone effect’.e. a fence with corner mounds.e. A comparison of overall site plans reveals an impressive number of noticeable and less evident features present at most of the research area’s khirigsuurs. resulting in a shape that was in some way meaningful. the smallest sites (in black on Figure 6) display the greatest variability (e. four large satellite mounds placed next to the eastern fence. Other small khirigsuurs lack a fence altogether. KYR 10 in Figure 5). the structural vocabulary is generally consistent with that identiﬁed at Urt Bulagyn: a central mound. such consistency suggests an orientation toward a feature or event in the sky rather than toward a single marker in the landscape. illustrated in Figure 6. a narrow range within which other Mongolian khirigsuurs for which a site plan is available also fall. in which the builders of the sites faced east and inadvertently made the side furthest to them (i. We suggest two possibilities to account for this result. with variation in fence length ratios signiﬁcantly reduced once these small sites are removed from the analysis.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs The results of ﬁeldwork conducted by our team at 27 khirigsuurs in Khanuy valley and by others in other parts of Mongolia permit us to address the issue of structural and behavioural variability more systematically than has been attempted until now. the smallest khirigsuurs also tend to be the most structurally variable. First.
Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar Figure 5. 555 Research . Selected khirigsuurs in the research area.
bottom). while a few yielded nothing at all. more work is needed to determine the celestial feature used to orient the horse skulls. However. Khirigsuur fence length statistics. its path as it rose or set. the killing of horses for meat is also done at this time of the year. One possibility being considered is that the sites were oriented toward the setting of the sun or Venus in the western sky during the spring–summer months or toward their rise in the eastern sky during the autumn–winter months. khirigsuurs. namely that the horses were sacriﬁced during the late autumn months as offerings to the rising sun. when the fat content is the greatest. one mound contained cervical vertebrae. Excavations of satellite mounds at khirigsuurs located in and outside the research area have revealed further consistency in the orientation of horse heads. 556 .Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs Figure 6. and within. Also signiﬁcant is the extent of variation in the treatment of horse remains among. It is worth noting that in present-day Khanuy valley. most of which point to the east or south-east (Figure 8. As in the case of site orientation. but no other skull elements. the orientation and skeletal data available so far on the age of the horse at the time of death does point to an intriguing possibility. At Urt Bulagyn itself. front teeth. Some of the excavated satellite mounds in the research area contained only scattered fragments of horse teeth.
showing the location and orientation of khirigsuurs. Full coverage survey area.Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar Figure 7. 557 Research .
a clan chief was sometimes both political leader and shaman (Jagchid & Hyer 1979: 171). To be sure. There is no reason to deny the possibility that kurgans and khirigsuurs were also used as powerful reminders of ancestral links to speciﬁc sectors of the landscape as well as seasonal gathering places for social and ceremonial occasions. As mentioned earlier. At some of the khirigsuurs. and fragments of a child’s skeleton in another (Erdenebaatar 2002: 211-3). some of these incorporating animals and/or the movement of celestial bodies. instances of leadership by religious specialists are not uncommon. although differences among and within khirigsuurs (e. one of the striking features of the khirigsuur phenomenon is the signiﬁcant and widespread regularity witnessed at all levels of ritual practice and space. Site and horse head orientations.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs while in another.g. and in some cases expanded for such a purpose (Mallory & Adams 1997: 651). In traditional Mongolia. archaeologists also risk ignoring their signiﬁcant potential as multifunctional components of the social and political landscape. kurgans have also been interpreted as beacons marking territorial boundaries or routes of communication (Koryakova 2000). aside from their apparent role as elite tombs and clan burials. instead of their more usual position south of it. the vertebrae were lined up along the skull’s northern side. Thus. the radiocarbon dates obtained from satellite mounds at Urt Bulagyn suggest its possible outward growth over a period of a few centuries. while the stone circle areas are seen to interdigitate in and among islands of previously constructed satellite mounds. there is evidence for an extended period of growth and use. Thus. some of the 13 mounds contained various combinations of head. As pointed out above. each with a slightly different orientation. Mongolian shamanism may offer further clues regarding ritual practice during the Bronze Age. Khirigsuurs were clearly important as stages for the carrying out of a range of rituals. varying practices associated with nearby satellite mounds) should not be ignored and may suggest that ritual practice was permitted to vary within certain limits at any one time. In attempting to assign single functions to monuments. At one khirigsuur in northern Mongolia. site plan indicates the presence of three paths. The large khirigsuur KYR119 in Khanuy valley presents further supporting evidence (Figure 9). including what initially appear to be minor structural and behavioural elements. while horse parts were accompanied by ceramic sherds in one mound. such consistency hints at the presence of ritual specialists and the generational transmission of ritual knowledge over centuries. neck and hoof remains. It should be noted that among nomadic pastoralists. Although no direct links are here suggested. shamanism is marked by an absence of centralised religious authority as well as by limited but real variation among individual shamans in how rituals are conducted (Sarangerel 558 . Kurgans are also known to have been reused as burial grounds over an extended period of time. The curved Figure 8.
The khirigsuur KYR119. ritual practitioners. possibly itinerant. we may consider the previously mentioned variability in ritual practice encountered at nearby satellite mounds at single khirigsuurs and wonder whether it might be evidence of the presence of different. 559 Research . In this respect.Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar Figure 9. 2000: 74).
Such mobile populations may have been herders. particularly as the skull is heavy and awkward to hold (Olsen 2003: 95). The ﬁrst proposition is that the khirigsuurs were built by mobile populations. Mobile hunter-gatherer societies typically do not build labour-intensive monuments (Bradley 1993: 1-21). including stone barrows. Arzhan nevertheless stands out as a distinctive monument (Askarov et al. the ninth-eighth century BC kurgan known as Arzhan 1 consists of a main tomb located at the centre of a large circular structure subdivided into nearly 100 compartments built of wooden logs. as is the important role that livestock animals played in ritual. Thus. since mounted herding can be done while riding bareback (Shishlina 2003) and harnesses can be made of perishable materials (Levine 1999: 14). Khazanov 1994: 90-7). with many of these compartments containing the remains of individuals and fully caparisoned horses. By the second millennium BC. it is suggested that the horses were either killed and dismembered at the khirigsuurs or that parts of the carcass were hauled to the site by horse-mounted hunters. stone slab cist burials. some of the features of the eastern steppes’ Andronovo cultures are also shared with the khirigsuur phenomenon. Khazanov maintains that although all of the pre-conditions for pastoral nomadism were in place by the mid-second 560 . with earlier pastoralist populations said to have been settled or to have practised various forms of semi-nomadic pastoralism (Askarov et al. In fact. four-sided and circular enclosures made of surface stones or vertical slabs and the internment of selected parts of livestock – for example the familiar head and hoof deposits – that accompanied human inhumations or were buried in separate pits (Kuzmina 2001). Discussion The data collected so far by the project in the Khanuy valley point to a number of possible interpretations. Although similar in some ways to Mongolia’s khirigsuurs. Field surveys in Khanuy valley and in nearby regions of Mongolia have yet to identify any visible remains of permanent dwellings associated with khirigsuurs. although poor chronological control and limited settlement data make some of these highly tentative. Ishjamts 1994. It is sometimes claimed that fully nomadic pastoralism emerged on the steppes of Eurasia no earlier than the beginning of the ﬁrst millennium BC. while preliminary testing has revealed only subsurface scatters of ceramic sherds. 1992. Burial under mounds (kurgans) is certainly a wellknown and widespread feature of this vast region. 1992). khirigsuurs share a number of such elements with sites of earlier and contemporary cultures in other parts of the Eurasian steppes. Centred in parts of southern Siberia and Mongolia.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs The more or less consistent structural and behavioural elements associated with the khirigsuur does not mean that it should be viewed as an isolated phenomenon. A circular stone fence deﬁnes the perimeter of the site. The absence of bits or other parts of the bridle at the khirigsuurs (and possibly contemporary slab burials as well) should not be taken as negative evidence of riding. the third millennium BC culture known as Afanasevo has burials that consist of mounds surrounded by stone fences (Mallory 1989: 223-6). while pedestrian hunters in such societies are not likely to have selectively carried horse heads back to camp. possibly nomadic pastoralists. Located in the nearby region of Tuva to the west of Mongolia. both scenarios implying at least some degree of horse herding and domestication.
Uighur and Mongol periods. archaeological and textual evidence points to highly centralised power structures that oversaw the construction of sites. For example. the presence of kurgan burials out in the open steppes. the third millennium BC Yamnaya Culture (located between the Black Sea and Ural River) is marked in some areas by an absence of dwellings and agricultural implements. In contrast. in part due to low population densities and the natural tendency of mobile pastoralists to disperse (Irons 1979. Khazanov 1994: 152-64). a process that he believes was linked to the onset of very arid conditions. and the fact that the domesticated species (cattle. One further distinctive feature of the Bronze Age appears to be an absence of long-lived primary political and demographic centres.Francis Allard & Diimaajav Erdenebaatar millennium BC. It has been noted that the centralisation of power in nomadic pastoralist societies is an inherently difﬁcult process. the use of wheeled vehicles. the large number and impressive scale of the khirigsuurs in Khanuy valley also suggest some degree of residential stability associated with the building of the sites and/or their use over an extended period of time. However. Many anthropologists have remarked on the fact that the control of ritual practice and its setting offers an important pathway to power (Bloch 1992).g. the absence of substantial settlements should not be construed as irrefutable evidence of a fully nomadic migratory pattern. Shishlina 2001).g. cemeteries. For the Xiongnu. instances of signiﬁcant demographic recruitment did on occasion occur in Mongolia. deer stones and slab burials that dot Mongolia’s steppes at this time points to a highly fragmented and possibly shifting geopolitical landscape. or of the operation of large-scale military and trade operations. Khar Balgas during the Uighur period and Kharkhorum during the Mongol period).g. Nevertheless. the widespread distribution of the numerous khirigsuurs. demographic recruitment and substantial labour investment during Mongolia’s Bronze Age appears to have been mostly focused on the ritual sphere. Some archaeologists point to features of earlier steppe cultures that suggest some degree of residential mobility. In fact. as well as large-scale military operations that reached beyond the borders of present-day Mongolia (e. it is not until the beginning of the next millennium that the transformation was complete. While a monumental backdrop and arcane 561 Research . sheep and horse) were well suited to the steppe environment (Mallory & Adams 1997: 652-3. whether in the construction of the khirigsuurs or in the transport and erection of the deer stones. either in Yamnaya Culture or in the Mongolian Bronze Age. These included not only the khirigsuur phenomenon of the Bronze Age. Xiongnu burial grounds such as Golmod-2 in Khanuy valley). Instead. elite cemeteries (e. Conclusion Although better chronological control is required to further address this issue. it is possible that the earliest khirigsuurs were constructed and used prior to the appearance of mounted warriors at the beginning of the ﬁrst millennium BC. but also provided real – but limited – opportunities for self-aggrandizement. but also the many later walled towns and political capitals (e. as well as the operation of trade and military activities. the Xiongnu military campaigns into China and the Mongol advances through the Eurasian continent during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD). we may still suggest that ritual in Mongolia’s Bronze Age served not only an important integrative role. Even if that is not the case. Anthony 1998.
Kuzmina. Derevyanko. For a good portion of Mongolia’s prehistory and history. Koryakova & L.W. Dani & V. Forthcoming.N. Antiquity 76: 637-8. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.P. Davis-Kimball. 1992. The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age peoples of eastern Central Asia. Some notes about the material culture of Eurasian nomads.. dating and mapping of settlements. Yablonsky (ed. in V. vol 1: Archaeology. in A. Burial materials related to the history of the Bronze Age in the territory of Mongolia. R. Washington: Institute for the Study of Man Inc. Askarov. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2000. Pastoral production and society: 361-74. in J. The distribution of khirigsuurs and other Bronze Age sites throughout Mongolia suggests a decentralised geopolitical landscape in which no single individual controlled the entire region. Volkov & N. the ritual subtext itself serves to reiterate the status quo’s guiding principles. Kurgans. Houle. Future work on the social structure of early Mongolia and the role of nomadism will beneﬁt from the ﬁnding. R. Harmatta. Khazanov..).M. 2000. Erdenebaatar. D. in J. Anthony. Altering the earth. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Oxford: Archaeopress. F. ritual and riding. migration and nomadism. Davis-Kimball. Tsetskhladze (ed. Boulder: Westview Press. L. Koryakova. vol 1: The dawn of civilization: earliest times to 700 BC: 459-72. Pastoral and nomadic tribes at the beginning of the ﬁrst millennium B. ritual sites. –2004.F. vol 1: The dawn of civilization: earliest times to 700 BC: 169-89. Recent archaeological research in the Khanuy River valley. E. UlaanBaatar: Mongolian Academy of Sciences. Irons. A Xiongnu cemetery found in Mongolia. Central Mongolia. Institute of History (in Mongolian). Beyond the steppe and the sown: integrating local and global visions. vol 2: The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 BC to AD 250: 151-69. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002. 1992. Ser-Odjav. The opening of the Eurasian steppe at 2000 BCE. 1991. History of civilizations of Central Asia. Puri & G.M. Yablonsky (ed..M. Leiden: Brill. in K. Our project is initiating a systematic settlement pattern study that will help clarify population levels and the distribution of occupation in the valley. 2nd edn. in J. Mair (ed.). E. Murphy. 562 . With this in mind. & D. D.W.). Dani & V. & P. Paris: Unesco Publishing. Cribb.). D. 1992. we may inquire as to the opportunities that a highly regulated ritual programme such as that performed at the khirigsuurs would have provided to ambitious individuals.C. The Eurasian steppes: the transition from early urbanism to Nomadism. Bradley. A. History of civilization of Central Asia. and settlements: Eurasian Bronze and Iron age (BAR International Series 890): 13-8. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.M. linguistics: 94-113. M. Nomads and the outside world. Nomads in eastern Central Asia.). Linduff (ed. 1979. Metallurgy in ancient eastern Eurasia from the Urals to the Yellow River.). S.T. History of civilization of Central Asia. Prey into hunter: the politics of religious experience.R. 2000. Allard. Political stratiﬁcation among pastoral nomads.T.L. in G. Paris: Unesco Publishing.). E.H. W. N. as well as temporary campsites that are difﬁcult to locate (and which have until recently generated little interest on the part of archaeologists). Antiquity 74: 75-86. F. Murphy. Kurgans. Neolithic tribes in northern parts of Central Asia. Masson (ed.H. Masson (ed. Koryakova & L. one is faced with a highly diffuse archaeological landscape characterised by small stone-built tombs and ritual sites.R. in L’´ equipe e ´cologie et anthropologie des soci´ et´ es pastorales (ed. Anthony. Ishjamts. V. 1993. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press. Bloch. A. Proceedings of the University of Chicago Eurasian Archaeology Conference. Mongolia’s culture and society. & D. Brown. B. Erdenebaatar & J. that forms an important objective of the next stage of the project. Oxford: Archaeopress. 1998. Jagchid.Bronze Age Mongolian khirigsuurs ceremonies can effectively impress upon followers the powers of the religious leadership. Hyer.M. 1994. L. The four sided grave and khirigsuur cultures of Mongolia.). 1979. in A. Dorj. L. References Allard. Eneolithic horse exploitation in the Eurasian steppes: diet. D. ritual sites. and settlements: Eurasian Bronze and Iron age (BAR International Series 890): 118-25.H. 1994.M. Nomads in archaeology. Etemadi (ed. A.). Paris: Unesco Publishing. 2002.
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