Penetration of Seima-Turbino Tradition in China and Development of Tin Alloying Technology

S.A. Grigoriev

The metallurgy of the Shang Civilization of the Yellow River Basin is distinguished by advanced technologies of bronze casting. It is assumed that its formation was stimulated by the Seima-Turbino impulses from southern Siberia through Xinjiang and Gansu. However, most of the items cited as evidence of this belong to the late Shang period. Earlier, the occasional use of tin was known in China, but alloying apparently took place at the stage of ore smelting. The technologies of complex casting and alloying with tin into metal were indeed introduced by the Seima-Turbino tribes by the beginning of Erlitou III stage, but the spread of these technologies did not go from the west, but from the north, through Shanxi and Liaoning, where the types of spearheads are closest to the Seima prototype both in terms of morphology and in terms of the used alloys. Evidence for this is limited to a small number of knives, daggers, and socketed spearheads. Most of the other types were of local origins. At the same time, these objects were formed on the Seima-Turbino basis, but they have original forms and were made in China. This coincided with the widespread occurrence of tin alloying in the Yellow River Basin. In terms of radiocarbon chronology, this is dated to the second half of the 17th century BC, and within the Chinese historical chronology to the middle of the 16th century BC, coinciding with the beginning of the Shang Dynasty. However, the rapid development of Shang metallurgy was not based on this impulse, but on the local socio-economic development. The appearance of the socketed spearheads in Primorye and stone replicas of spearheads and daggers is associated not with the Seima-Turbino bronzes proper, but with a later interaction with the Shang periphery.

Keywords: Seima-Turbino, China, Shang civilization, socketed spearheads, tin alloys.

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Shichanggou Burial Site in Hualin-Zhen Village of Mudanjiang City District, Heilongjiang Province

Institute of cultural relics and archaeology of Heilongjiang Province

The paper analyzes the results of the study of the Shichanggou burial site, discovered in the suburban area of Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province, on the southern slope of a mountain gorge. 18 burials were excavated in three independent zones of the site. There are four categories of tombs with stone chambers and an earthen mound found on the site: burials with an entrance and a corridor; with an entrance and without a corridor; with chambers without the entrance and the corridor; burials of a specific form. The use of three types of funeral rites — cremation, primary and secondary burials — were fixed at the burial site. The structure of the graves, the remains of human bones discovered during the research, and the burial equipment are described. The discovered artifacts are represented by ceramic dishes; iron household items, tools and weapons; bronze, silver and stone jewelry. According to the analysis of materials it is concluded that Shichanggou is a clan burial site, formed by several family cemeteries of the residents of the nearby Nanchengzi town site, founded at the end of the VII century B.C. — the mid of VIII century A.D., according to “Kai-yuan tongbao” coin, which was found during the excavations. The burial site and the settlement have features of the Bohai and Mohe cultures. Since the structure of the tombs and the unearthed artifacts are mostly similar to the burials of some previously explored cemeteries (Liudingshan, Beida, etc.), it is suggested that perhaps the people who left these sites were a new group formed as a result of mutual assimilation of Heishui mohe and Bohai.

Keywords: Shichanggou burial site, burial, burial chamber, items accompanying the burial, the early middle ages, North-East China.

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The Bugut Stele: the History of Interpretation of Its Symbolism

D.V. Rukhliadev

This article examines the polemics in research literature around the symbolism of carved images on the Bugut stele — the oldest inscribed monument of the Turks. The author reviews a number of hypotheses regarding the subject and meaning of the images on the stele. The earliest one, which was widely accepted ever since, conjectured that the head of the stele contained an image of a she-wolf and a boy beneath it (as a reference to the Turkic genealogical myth). Some scholars added that the she-wolf was suckling the boy, while others speculated that it was depicted as a “dragon”. Later on, this hypothesis was strongly criticized. A detailed investigation of the top of the stele, along with new imaging and the discovery of its additional fragments, allowed scholars to conclude that the carved image depicted either two dragons or two wolves imitating dragons on Chinese stelae. At present, two points of view are considered relevant, first, that the stele depicts two wolves turned away from each other, and second, that there are two dragons reproducing the standard Chinese pattern. In this latter case, the unusual appearance of the dragons is apparently due to the low-skilled local craftsmanship in stone carving and insufficient knowledge of the Chinese iconographical canon.

Keywords: Bugut stele, Mongolia, bas-relief, dragons, she-wolf, boy, Turks, symbolism.

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The Establishment of the Khitan State and the Uyghur Culture

Wang Xiaofu

This article examines the legends about the birth of the founder of the Liao dynasty Yelyu Abaoji, about the ancestors of the Khitan people, as well as important Khitan customs, it is found that their original forms and foundations can be found in the myth of the birth of Mani, as well as in the teachings of Manichaeism and its myths. The author believes that the collapse of the Uyghur Kaganate, which had Manichaeism as a state religion, in the middle of the 9th century brought a new stimulus to traditional Khitan society, provided a new spiritual weapon for the rapid development and transformation of this society. Elui Abaoji received the support of the Uyghurs through the marriage with Uyghur woman and used their Manichean myths himself, as a result of which he was able to break through the limitations of tradition, carry out a coup, found a state, introduce an imperial system and become a Khitan folk hero.

Keywords: Khitan, Uyghurs, Manichaeism.

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Archaeological Research of North Border of Bohai State

Jiang Yuke, Zhao Yongjun

The paper presents an analysis of the distribution of Bohai and heishui mohe sites and basing on archaeological point of view supposes that most northern part of Bohai real north border was south from modern Yilan County where Mudanjiang River flows into Sungari River, and in the east the border was Mulinghe River. Such location differs from the statement that according to written sources north border of Bohai reached area of modern Three Rivers Valley (Sanjiang pingyuan). The reason of such difference possibly is in the fact that Bohai in time of its prosperity conducted a policy of retention, imitating such policy in Central Plains of China of Han and Tang epochs. Such explanation can help in further studies of history, geography and archaeology of Mohe — Bohai in east part of Heilongjiang Province. At the same time, the paper presents an analysis of formation of Bohai north border and dating of the Mudanjiang River border wall.

Keywords: Bohai state, border, north border, archaeological research.

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Latest Excavation Results

Archaeological Research in Abrikosovsky Settlement in 2019—2020

< This work was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation grant No. 20-18-00081 “Archeology of the Russian Far East” (headed by Corresponding Member of the RAS N.N. Kradin).>

E.V. Astashenkova, E.I. Gel’man, Ya.E. Piskareva

The article discusses the results of field archaeological research at the Abrikosovsky settlement in 2019—2020. The site is located in the valley of the Kronovka river and dates back to the epoch of the Bohai state (698—926). New data on the formation of the cultural layer in the settlement are presented. During the excavations, the remains of two dwellings (one of them has the remains of a heating system in the form of a kang and a pipe) and several economic objects related to different stages of the existence of the site were revealed. Traces of industrial activity were found in this part of the settlement. Stratigraphic evidences has been obtained confirming the presence of at least three building horizons in the Abrikosovsky settlement. They mainly contained fragments of pottery and roof tiles. Based on the study of the technique and technology of production ceramics, the identified forms of vessels, methods of surface treatment and ornamentation, it has been established that all ceramic material corresponds to the Bohai pottery tradition. The article analyzes the production of roof tile, represented by samples of flat and semi-cylindrical tiles. All the tiles corresponded to those used for the roof of a Buddhist temple located southwest of the sloping part of the Abrikosovsky hill. The tiles were collected in all building horizons, which made it possible to come to the conclusion about the simultaneous functioning of the temple and the settlement at all stages of their existence.

Keywords: Primorsky Territory, Ussuriysky District, Bohai state, Abrikosovsky settlement, dwelling, kang, pottery, tile.

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