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Products for grant RZ-249831-16

RZ-249831-16
Innovative Disruptions: The Archaeology of Nomadic Statehood in Eastern Mongolia
William Honeychurch, Yale University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=RZ-249831-16

The Honest Labour of Stone Mounds: Monuments of Bronze and Iron Age Mongolia as Costly Signals (Article)
Title: The Honest Labour of Stone Mounds: Monuments of Bronze and Iron Age Mongolia as Costly Signals
Author: J Wright
Abstract: During the period of the adoption and spread of nomadic pastoralism in the eastern Eurasian steppe early pastoralists were developing animal husbandry as well as forming the social networks and political systems that went along with the new needs of a food production economy. The building and modification of diverse types of stone monuments and the long-term development of monumental landscapes constituted costly signals that communicated information about the size and organization of communities and the depth and strength of the connections of their elite lineages with the increasingly farreaching social networks of this period. This information-rich monument building was a hallmark of this period and a critical tool, a critical tool in the success of early pastoralist adaptation. A costly signalling model of monument building offers explanations for re-entry into graves of this period, the reproduction of distinctive types and styles and monuments and an underlying framework for the political landscapes of emerging regional polities.
Year: 2017
Primary URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00438243.2017.1360791
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: World Archaeology
Publisher: World Archaeology

The Development of Cultural and Social Complexity in Mongolia (Book Section)
Title: The Development of Cultural and Social Complexity in Mongolia
Author: W Honeychurch
Editor: Habu, Junko
Editor: Lape, Peter V.
Editor: Olsen, John W.
Abstract: None
Year: 2017
Primary URL: https://www.springer.com/us/book/9781493965199
Access Model: Subscription & Purchase
Publisher: Springer
Book Title: Handbook of East and Southeast Asian Archaeology
ISBN: 978-1-4939-652

Innovative Disruptions: Nomadic Complexity in Mongolia and Northeast Asia (Book Section)
Title: Innovative Disruptions: Nomadic Complexity in Mongolia and Northeast Asia
Author: W Honeychurch
Editor: S. Chuluun
Abstract: None
Year: 2017
Primary URL: None
Access Model: Open access in Japan
Publisher: Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Osaka University
Book Title: Archaeological Research and Preservation in Eastern Mongolia
ISBN: Not known

Middle Bronze Age of Mongolia (Book Section)
Title: Middle Bronze Age of Mongolia
Author: Ch. Amartuvshin
Author: G. Eregzen
Editor: Kang, In Uk
Abstract: None
Year: 2018
Access Model: Open access in Korea
Publisher: Seoul
Book Title: Introduction to the Archaeology of Northern Eurasia
ISBN: Not known

Shorgooljin bulsh (Book Section)
Title: Shorgooljin bulsh
Author: Ch. Amartuvshin
Editor: U. Erdenebat
Abstract: None
Year: 2018
Primary URL: None
Access Model: Open access in Mongolia
Publisher: Mongolian Academy of Sciences
Book Title: Mongolchuud: Talyn nuudelchdiin ulamjlal
ISBN: Not known

Integrated Narratives: The Local and the Long Term in Three Archaeological Surveys (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Integrated Narratives: The Local and the Long Term in Three Archaeological Surveys
Abstract: None
Author: J Wright
Date: 10/15/2017
Location: Bonn University, Germany
Primary URL: None

Ertnii nuudelchdiin ovormots negen orshuulgyn tukhai (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Ertnii nuudelchdiin ovormots negen orshuulgyn tukhai
Author: Ch. Amartuvshin
Abstract: None
Date: 02/15/2018
Primary URL: None
Conference Name: Mongolchuudyn orshuulgyn zan uil: Erdem shinjilgeenii khural

Complexity as Integration: Pastoral Mobility and Community Building in Ancient Mongolia (Article)
Title: Complexity as Integration: Pastoral Mobility and Community Building in Ancient Mongolia
Author: Burentogtokh, J
Author: W. Honeychurch
Author: W. Gardner
Abstract: The question of complex socio-political organization among pastoral nomadic groups has long posed a theoretical challenge for anthropologists, historians, and archaeologists alike. The problems arise from a disciplinary tendency to view pastoralists within a narrow economic and ecological framework but, in addition to this, the basic conception of ‘complexity’ has itself proven problematic. The definitions of complexity built originally upon systems theory and political economy place emphasis on organizational criteria derived primarily from sedentary societies with class stratification, intensive subsistence economies, and centralized administration. In this paper we argue that these classic definitions of complexity have not provided a good fit for analyzing the kinds of political organizations constructed by pastoral nomads of the Eurasian steppe zone. For that reason, we explore new ways of conceptualizing complex organization based on processes of integration, scale, and mobility. This approach offers a better explanation for material patterns documented across two neighboring valleys in northern Mongolia and provides substantial insight to the sub-regional polities preceding the rise of the Xiongnu state during the late first millennium BCE.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: http://www.sociostudies.org/journal/articles/2343383/
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Social Evolution & History
Publisher: Social Evolution & History

Iron Technology and Medieval Nomadic Communities of East Mongolia (Article)
Title: Iron Technology and Medieval Nomadic Communities of East Mongolia
Author: Park, J
Author: Honeychurch, W
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch.
Abstract: Abstract Numerous iron objects from the medieval sites in Mongolia were metallographically examined for a comparative study intending to probe indigenous and foreign impacts on the establishment of local iron tradition. The artifact assemblage includes iron and cast iron objects recovered during the recent Mongol-American joint expedition to sites in the eastern part of Mongolia. Cast iron objects, dominating the assemblage, were mostly in the form of small fragments or square bars, which would be of little value if they were to be used for casting. However, their greatly varying microstructures reveal evidence of various small-scale steelmaking processes involving cast iron. This observation suggests that most of them were prepared as a practical means to procure steel, a highly valued commodity particularly among nomadic communities. In contrast, other iron objects with microstructures characteristic of inferior bloomery products constituted only a minor part of the assemblage. We discuss the results of our analysis from a comparative perspective and propose that this unique ironworking tradition discovered in eastern Mongolia reflects the distinctive geographical and sociopolitical background of the nomadic groups and periods concerned.
Year: 2019
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11:555–565.

Novel Micro-scale Steel-making from Molten Cast Iron Practised in Medieval Nomadic Communities of East Mongolia (Article)
Title: Novel Micro-scale Steel-making from Molten Cast Iron Practised in Medieval Nomadic Communities of East Mongolia
Author: Park, J
Author: Honeychurch, W
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch
Abstract: Evidence of novel steel-making was found in a number of small cast-iron fragments recovered by the Mongolia–American archaeological survey of eastern Mongolia. These iron artefacts come from medieval period habitation and manufacturing sites and they consistently display irregular surface features characteristic of a solidification reaction from a partially molten state. Their microstructure consists of large near-spherical islands of pearlite spread on a background of fine white cast-iron eutectic. Reflected in this peculiar structure is an extremely small-scale steel-making process where one or more small pieces of cast iron were heated above the eutectic temperature for rapid decarburization in the partially molten state. We provide a detailed account of the technological aspects of this micro-scale steel-making method as observed in the microstructure and chemical composition of the objects examined. This small-scale technology was ideally suited to the pastoral nomadic way of life that characterized medieval eastern Mongolia; however, it probably would not have been appropriate for sedentary communities with access to large-scale urban manufacturing centres. Based on this observation, we discuss the role of nomadic lifeways and associated political environments that likely influenced the development of this innovative steel-making technique.
Year: 2019
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeometry 61, 1:83–98

Technologies and complexities as reflected in small cast iron fragments recovered from medieval sites in eastern Mongolia (Article)
Title: Technologies and complexities as reflected in small cast iron fragments recovered from medieval sites in eastern Mongolia
Author: Park, J
Author: Honeychurch, W
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch
Abstract: Technological innovation often occurs in unexpected places far from the origin of pertinent invention. This may be prompted by a range of factors including constrained access to human, material, or informational resources as might be expected during periods of political change and uncertainty. Such experiments in both technique and technology can be a useful way to promote multiple options and flexibility in production, especially given shifting sociopolitical settings. A clear example of this case was observed based on cast iron fragments recovered from several medieval period sites within the Delgerkhaan Uul area of eastern Mongolia. These fragments were consistently small in size and mostly irregular in shape, suggesting no specific usage of practical value in the local steppe environment. However, results from visual, microstructural, compositional, and radiocarbon analyses produced strong evidence that cast iron objects, both of medieval and earlier periods, were collected to serve as a raw material for further treatments evidently in small-scale steelmaking processes. While the production of small amounts of high-quality steel was the end goal of these treatments, significant differences visible in microstructures indicate that the process was not standardized and subject to substantial variation. These results suggest a technological environment characterized by the use of non-local cast iron materials subjected to micro-steelmaking under non-standardized processing conditions. We interpret this unique technology as an example of nomadic steppe communities innovating within the constraints of their local geographical, technological, and sociopolitical setting to maintain flexible alternatives during a period of sociopolitical transformation and uncertainty.
Year: 2020
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-01030-4.

Where are the slab burials? Survey and excavation at Delgerkhaan Uul, Sukhbaatar aimag (Book Section)
Title: Where are the slab burials? Survey and excavation at Delgerkhaan Uul, Sukhbaatar aimag
Author: Honeychurch, W
Abstract: Current anthropological models for ancient states in Mongolia are relatively few in number. At the same time, the very unique circumstances under which Mongolian states and empires formed (i.e., pastoral nomadic lifeways, high mobility, low population density, spatially extensive regions) make these early “nomadic states” extremely important case studies for anthropological archaeologists interested in the nature of statehood generally (Honeychurch 2014). Traditionally, archaic states have been associated with intensive agriculture, sedentary lifeways, urbanism, political hierarchy, and administrative centralization but the concept of “the ancient state” has been changing as archaeologists explore diverse parts of the world with different lifeway traditions. As a result, the range of early polities discussed as “ancient states” has grown to include substantial organizational variety. This is clearly reflected in the names for what might be called alternative kinds of states such as city states, segmentary states, theater states, galactic polities, opportunistic states, etc. (e.g., Chapman 2003). Mongolian archaeology is perfectly situated to add substantially to this anthropological discussion over ancient states.
Year: 2019
Publisher: International Association for Mongol Studies
Book Title: International Association for Mongol Studies: Proceedings of the Third Asian Conference (Seoul, Korea) 2019

Long-wall construction in the Mongolian steppe during the Medieval Period (11th to the 13th centuries CE). (Article)
Title: Long-wall construction in the Mongolian steppe during the Medieval Period (11th to the 13th centuries CE).
Author: Shelach, G
Author: Wachtel, I
Author: Golan, D
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch
Author: Ellenblum, R
Author: Honeychurch, W
Abstract: The long walls of China and the Eurasian Steppe are considered to have functioned as either defensive structures against aggressive nomadic tribes, or as elements to control the movement of local nomadic groups following imperialist expansion. This article focuses on a hitherto understudied 737km-long medieval wall running from northern China into north-eastern Mongolia. Built by either the Liao or Jin Dynasties, the wall features numerous auxiliary structures that hint at its function. In research relevant to interpreting other Eurasian and global wallbuilding episodes, the authors employ extensive archaeological survey and GIS analysis to understand better the reasons behind the wall’s construction, as well as its various possible functions.
Year: 2020
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Antiquity 94: 724–741.

Does extra-large equal extra-ordinary? The “Wall of Chinggis Khan” from a multidimensional perspective (Article)
Title: Does extra-large equal extra-ordinary? The “Wall of Chinggis Khan” from a multidimensional perspective
Author: Shelach, G
Author: Honeychurch, W
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch
Abstract: This paper focuses on a hitherto little-known long (or “Great”) wall that stretches along 737 km from northern Inner Mongolia in China, through Siberia into northeastern Mongolia. The wall was constructed during the late medieval period (10th to 13th century CE) but is commonly called the “Wall of Chinggis Khan” (or ‘Chingisiin Dalan’ in Mongolian). It includes, in addition to the long-wall itself, a ditch feature and numerous associated fortifications. By way of an analysis of this impressive construction we seek to better understand the concept of monumentality and in turn shed light on the wall’s structure, function and possible reasons for its erection. We pose the interesting question of whether any construction that is very large and labor intensive should be defined as a “monument”, and if so, what that definition of monumentality actually entails and whether such a concept is useful as a tool for research. Our discussion is relevant to the theme of this collection of papers in that it addresses the concept of the ‘extraordinary’ as conceived by archeologists. Following our analysis and discussion, we conclude that although size and expenditure of energy are important attributes of many monuments, monumentality (i.e., expression of the extraordinary) is not a binary “either-or” concept. Rather than ask whether the “Wall of Chinggis Khan” was or was not a monument per se, our analysis reveals aspects in which it was indeed monumental and extraordinary, and others in which it was not extraordinary, but rather an ordinary utilitarian artifact.
Year: 2020
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Humanities & Social Sciences Communications. doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-0524-2.

Where are the slab burials? Survey and excavation at Delgerkhaan Uul, Sukhbaatar aimag (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Where are the slab burials? Survey and excavation at Delgerkhaan Uul, Sukhbaatar aimag
Author: Honeychurch, W
Abstract: The emergence on the Inner Asian steppe of regional confederacies, states, and empires of pastoral nomads has figured prominently in the early historical records of China. To date, more than eighty years of systematic research on pastoral nomads has produced a substantial amount of data for understanding these mobile societies. Although this effort on the part of historians and prehistorians represents an impressive body of knowledge, relatively little attention has been devoted to anthropological models for complex socio-political organization among pastoral nomadic groups, despite the clear significance of nomadic peoples to civilizations in both the Old and New Worlds. In paper, I present a hypothesis-based research design to advance the understanding of regional nomadic complexity using as a case study the archaeology of Mongolia’s first nomadic state, the Xiongnu polity (c. 3rd century BC). Employing the results of recent archaeological studies in 3 different areas of Mongolia, our research evaluates current competing models for the process of political integration that articulated central and local powerholders in the earliest phases of state building. Our research assesses hypotheses for decentralized and centralized state expansion derived from the historical and archaeological records. We argue that what was, at first, a core polity based on distributed authority became more centralized through the experience of integrating outlying communities. These two foundational formats of authority provided the mature Xiongnu state with the capacity to shift between more and less centralized leadership allowing for a more flexible form of regional polity. The Dornod Mongol Survey project (DMS) proposes to evaluate these ideas using regional pedestrian survey and excavation over a three year period at the site of Avargyn Ovoo in the southeastern Gobi desert of Mongolia.
Date: 10/20/2019
Conference Name: Invited paper presented at the “International Association for Mongol Studies Third Asian Conference.” National Museum of Korea, Seoul, Korea.

The earliest herders of East Asia: Examining Afanasievo entry to central Mongolia (Article)
Title: The earliest herders of East Asia: Examining Afanasievo entry to central Mongolia
Author: Honeychurch, W
Author: Rogers, L.,
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch
Author: Diimaajav, E.
Author: Erdene-Ochir, N-O.
Author: Hall, M.E.
Author: Hrivnyak, M.
Abstract: Abstract: The Afanasievo world reportedly overlaps the borders of five nations including two countries of East Asia: Mongolia and China. Across these several regions, the first appearance of domestic herd animals (sheep, goat, cattle) and the initial practice of copper and bronze metallurgy are associated with Afanasievo communities. Since mobile pastoralism has long been a significant part of the Mongolian cultural tradition the question of when, where, and how Afanasievo groups entered Mongolia is of extreme interest to archaeologists. Over the past 50 years several important sites have been reported and analyzed but these are still little known among Western scholars. In this study we provide a brief overview of Afanasievo archaeology, its peripheries, and its recent analytical breakthroughs and then develop a unique perspective on the Afanasievo world from its farthest eastern edge in central Mongolia. We assess the different roles of migration and diffusion in the process of herd animal introduction and present two current hypotheses explaining the intensification of pastoralism in this region during the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. We argue that the impact of Afanasievo entry into East Asia was a transformative process but must be understood in the context of significant innovations made by East Asian indigenous communities, eventually leading to a unique form of eastern steppe pastoralism in Mongolia.
Year: 2021
Primary URL: Forthcoming
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Archaeological Research in Asia

The Technological and Chronological Implication of 14C Concentrations in Carbon Samples extracted from Mongolian Cast Iron Artifacts (Article)
Title: The Technological and Chronological Implication of 14C Concentrations in Carbon Samples extracted from Mongolian Cast Iron Artifacts
Author: Park, J.S.
Author: Honeychurch, W.
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch.
Abstract: Cast iron objects recovered primarily in eastern Mongolia, spanning the Xiongnu through the Early Historic periods (ca. 3rd BC–AD 17th century), were examined for their radiocarbon (14C) concentration and microstructure. Most of the samples examined were found to have originated from charcoal-based smelting with a few exceptions that were made using a mineral coal-based technique. A comparison of 14C dates with dates derived from artifact typology allowed the charcoal-smelted objects to be classified into two groups, based on whether the radiometric and typological periodization are in agreement or not. In addition, those with differing 14C and typological dates can be divided into two subgroups with and without evidence for a melt treatment applied after original casting. These conflicting dating results are confusing and would seem to provoke skepticism about the use of 14C measurements for dating iron artifacts. We demonstrate however that 14C analysis, when combined with metallographic examination and other lines of chronological evidence, can clarify the history of a given iron object and its multiple users, often separated in time by more than a millennium.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: http://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/radiocarbon/article/technological-and-chronological-implication-of-14c-concentrations-in-carbon-samples-extracted-from-mongolian-cast-iron-artifacts/949FE72CB0FC596DF3047B2A0645C3BF
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Radiocarbon

The Earliest Bronze Age Culture of the Southeastern Gobi Desert, Mongolia (Article)
Title: The Earliest Bronze Age Culture of the Southeastern Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Author: Wright, J.
Author: Ganbaatar, G.
Author: Honeychurch, W.
Author: Byambatseren, B.
Author: Rosen. A.
Abstract: Studies of the Eurasian Bronze Age have tended to emphasise the homogeneity of social and political processes across the Steppe, evidenced by a common ‘package’ of practices and material culture. The Dornod Mongol Survey examines the major stone monumental forms and associated features of the Ulaanzuukh mortuary tradition of the Gobi region of Mongolia. Combining evidence for mortuary and ritual practices, ceramic traditions and new radiocarbon dates, the authors argue that the appearance of the earliest Bronze Age cultures in this region represents a disparate collection of local, regional and inter-regional expressions that challenge the established narrative of a ‘standard’ Eurasian Bronze Age.
Year: 2019
Primary URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/earliest-bronze-age-culture-of-the-southeastern-gobi-desert-mongolia/67B30B43A0D6CE444A0BE0F3736F8713
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Antiquity

Investigating the Khirigsuurs of Mongolia (Article)
Title: Investigating the Khirigsuurs of Mongolia
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch.
Author: Tselkhagarav, Ts.
Abstract: In Mongolian
Year: 2018
Access Model: open
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Studia Archaeologica

Enduring Legacies of the Mongols (Course or Curricular Materials)
Title: Enduring Legacies of the Mongols
Author: Honeychurch, W.
Abstract: Invited presentation for the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute "Global Mongol Empire: Curriculum Resources for U.S. K-12 Teachers." Temple University, Philadelphia.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: None
Audience: K - 12

Agency, Action and Architectonics (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Agency, Action and Architectonics
Author: Wright, J.
Abstract: None available
Date: 01/01/2018
Primary URL: None
Conference Name: 8th Worldwide Conference of the Society for East Asian Archaeology, Nanjing, China

Landscape, Identity and Politics on the Inner Asian Frontier: An archaeology of the Kitan-Liao empire in Mongolia and China (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Landscape, Identity and Politics on the Inner Asian Frontier: An archaeology of the Kitan-Liao empire in Mongolia and China
Author: Wright, J.
Abstract: None available
Date: 01/01/2018
Primary URL: None
Conference Name: Invited presentation, Department of Archaeology. Durham University, UK

Ritual Landscapes in Mongolia (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Ritual Landscapes in Mongolia
Author: Wright, J.
Abstract: None available
Date: 01/01/2019
Primary URL: None
Conference Name: At Stone Constructions in Eurasia Workshop. Merton College, Oxford University

Place, Making and Ephemerality (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Place, Making and Ephemerality
Author: Wright, J.
Abstract: This is an abstract from the "Crafting Culture: Thingselves, Contexts, Meanings" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. At first the two ideas of this paper’s title can seem contradictory, but as three separate words they come together. What is the valency between the hypothesised solidity of an archaeological place and the stream of events that go into making it, transforming it, and erasing it? The ephemeral nature of the archaeological sites created by mobile communities is often the first thing that is said of them and after that comes a long chain of strictures limiting what interpretations are possible. Here I propose a more positive outlook. Using case studies from the Eurasian steppe this paper will search for seemingly ephemeral places and find them as assemblages of many materials. Of primary interest to this discussion will be more mobile subjects ranging from sheep to metals and less mobile ones like stone or drainages. The subject here is not site location models, but an exploration of how places are crafted by the knowledge and action of many actors both ancient and modern.
Date: 01/04/2019
Primary URL: https://core.tdar.org/document/450995/place-making-and-ephemerality
Conference Name: 84th Society of American Archaeology Meetings, Albuquerque, NM

Эртний нүүдэлчдийн газар эзэмшилт, ашиглалтын асуудлыг хайгуул судалгааны хэрэглэгдэхүүнээр тодруулах нь (Article)
Title: Эртний нүүдэлчдийн газар эзэмшилт, ашиглалтын асуудлыг хайгуул судалгааны хэрэглэгдэхүүнээр тодруулах нь
Author: Amartuvshin, Ch.
Author: Galdan, G.
Abstract: In Mongolian
Year: 2018
Primary URL: None
Access Model: open
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Studia Archaeologica
Publisher: Mongolian Institute of Archaeology

Монгол булш, хадны оршуулгын тархалт (Article)
Title: Монгол булш, хадны оршуулгын тархалт
Author: Batsalai, B.
Abstract: In Mongolian
Year: 2018
Primary URL: None
Access Model: open
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Асta Historica Mongolica
Publisher: Mongolian Institute of History


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