/  /   / 

.. .   .  1:  . /   . . 1. .:  , 1995...

.

1: .

/ . . 1.

// .: , 1995. 94 .+188 .+.
ISBN 5-88066-001-

 

Summery [Summary]

 

The archaeological monuments of the Hsiung-nu. Issue I.

 

A. Davydova.

 

The Ivolga Archaeological Complex.

 

Volume I. The Ivolga Fortress.

 

The Ivolga fortress (Russian archaeological name for sites of this type is gorodishche, fortified settlement) became known to science in the twenties of our century, after G.P. Sosnovsky had discovered there three dwellings in 1928 and published the results of his excavations. In 1949 and 1950 a group specially organised for the investigation of the gorodishche under the direction of V.P. Shilov started systematic archaeological research on this site. From 1955 the group has been headed by the author of the present paper.

 

All works connected with the gorodishche were conducted by the Buryat Complex Scientific Research Institute of the Siberian Section of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. As a result of eight seasons of excavation a voluminous archaeological material was accumulated, and the present paper is dedicated to its illumination.

 

The Ivolga gorodishche is situated at a distance of 16 km from the town Ulan-Ude (Buryat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) on the left terrace above the flooded area of the old bed of the Selenga river. The region in the area of the gorodishche is a narrow valley extending from the north to the south, with a width of 5 to 7 km, in the west closed down by a chain of elevations, and in the east bordered by a low flooded area with a width of 1.5 to 2 km, passing over the present bed of the Selenga river. North of the gorodishche, 0.4 km from it, in the bottom of the valley from the west to the east flows the Ivolga river, left tributary of the Selenga. Along the bank of the Ivolga also a cemetery synchronous with the gorodishche is situated.

 

The surface of the valley is almost plain, with small elevations and depressions which in the spring and in the rainy season are filled with water. The region is excellently suitable for bread-grain production and the grazing of cattle. The ground-plan of the gorodishche has an irregular oblong form stretched from the north to the south along the old bed of the Selenga river. Its dimensions are: from the north to the south 348 m, and from the west to the east 194 to 216 m. The eastern side of the gorodishche is bordered by the steep bank of the inundation area, which gradually mouldering and scattering, spoils the cultivated layer in this part of the gorodishche. Its surface is an almost plain space, somewhat elevated to the west and the north. There are elevations scattered on it (over 80), with a height of up to 10-15 cm, on which sometimes rows of vertically set slabs of stone were traced. In the southern part of the gorodishche, near its centre, there were two mound-like elevations of quadrangular form (their dimensions were: 33 m by 33 m at the base and 1.65 m high, and 25 m by 25 m at the base and 90 cm high, the distance between the mounds was 22.5 m).

 

The surface of the gorodishche was slightly grown over with grass. It was ploughed up several times, the ploughing was especially intensive in the northern part of the settlement, where in the ploughed soil slabs of stone, pieces of coal, bones, fragments of ceramics, and other objects (arrowheads, ornaments) were found. Excavation material was found in the whole area of the gorodishche.

(68/69)

 

The settlement is situated on an even steppe region, and it had natural protection only on its eastern side, where a steep slope goes down to the bed of an old branch which previously had been filled by the water of the Selenga river. On the other three sides at present indistinct lines of four ramparts and three moats are visible (in the transversal direction with a breadth of 35 to 38 m). The ramparts were preserved best on the southern side, their edges are shelvingly linked with the hardly discernible depressions of the moats, and the outer rampart without a sharp inclination, continuously goes over to the level of the surface of a steppe plateau. The distance between the tops of the different ramparts is 7 to 8 m. The lowest rampart is the innermost one which rises only to 80 cm above the surface of the inner moat. The outer (fourth) rampart is the highest, it is by 50 cm higher, than the surface of the outer moat. The outer side of the ramparts is steeper than their inner side.

 

For a study of these monuments through their southern line two trenches were dug which revealed the presence of a whole system of artificial defensive lines, surrounding the gorodishche, and the technics of their construction. From the first inner line of the fortifications three holes of posts with remainders of wood were preserved, which are situated in one line, parallel with the direction of the southern ramparts . Beside this the three moats were dug out, the contents of which were used for the banking up of the ramparts, the ridges of the ramparts and partly their slopes were strengthened with stones. The cleaned moats (the earth by which they had been filled, consisted of dark sandy loam, mixed with a layer of virgin soil, of burnt layers and stones) had a depth 1.80 m (the inner), 1.25 m (the middle), and 1.33 m (the outer).

 

The data received render possible to reconstruct the defensive structures, surrounding the gorodishche from three sides. The first inner defensive line was obviously a wooden stockade, and outside it four ramparts with three moats between them. If we presume that in the course of the over two-thousand years which have elapsed since the time of the destruction of the gorodishche, a layer of earth with a thickness of only 50 cm has mouldered down from the tops of the ramparts, then in this case the following difference in the heights will be received. The depth of the moats in the middle and at the outer side will increase to 2 m, and at the inner side to 2.5 m. The burnt intermediate layers in the earth filling the moats are obviously the remainders of a burnt wooden fencing, which had stood on the tops of the ramparts.

 

Obviously, this obstacle was insurmountable for cavalry, horses could not jump over it. Consequently the horsemen were compelled to dismount and attack the fortifications on foot. Thus the data received enable us to presume that the gorodishche was transformed into a fortification, the capture of which was very difficult.

 

Inside the gorodishche was densely built up with structures for living and economic purposes. Fundamentally the excavations were made in the southern part of the gorodishche where the excavated area represented about 7 000 square m . Here 51 dwelling places (besides the three discovered by G.P. Sosnovsky in 1928) and 565 pits were investigated, the majority of which were left behind from the various economic structures.

 

In the gorodishche simultaneously three types of dwelling places existed, viz. houses sank into the virgin soil, houses half sank into the virgin soil, and houses built on the surface of the virgin soil. The majority of the dwelling places studied belonged to the type of houses sank into the virgin soil . A characteristic feature of these is the base of oblong form, sank into the virgin soil, the sides of which are orientated towards the cardinal points and are coated with a layer of clay. The holes have the following dimensions: those of the smaller houses 2.80 m by 3.20 m, and those of the largest ones 6.85 m by 6.65 m, with a depth of 0.55 m to 1.10 m.

 

In the north-eastern corner was the fireplace, constructed of slabs of stone with their mouth directed towards the south-western corner of the dwelling place. On both sides of the fireplaces remains of virgin soil were left. From the fireplace along the northern and western walls smoke pipes were conducted, which at the same time served also as heating tubes. These were constructed, just like the

(69/70)

fireplace, of slabs of quartz porphyry. The slabs of irregular form, fitted to each other rather roughly, stood on their edges, and the gaps between them were filled up with small stones. In certain cases the virgin soil wall of the base of the dwelling place served as one of the walls of the smoke pipe. Such pipes were closed above with small stones. In the southern wall, near to the south-eastern corner, was the entrance to the dwelling place with a breadth of 60 cm to 1.30 m, and the length of its passage leading down was up to 1.80 m.

 

In the floor of the dwelling places along the walls, in the middle, and on both sides of the entrance holes of posts were discovered (their ground-plan was usually circular, and seldom longish). At the eastern wall, between the fireplace and the entrance sometimes holes of small posts were traced in the floor. It is not impossible, that here was the pen for the small livestock, for the young animals or the poultry, which spent the winter together with the proprietors. Near the fireplace in the floor there were dents for the earthen vessels to be put in them. In the floor also cellars were dug.

 

In two cases (in dwelling places 87 and 41) the floor was cut through by grave pits, in which burials of infants in earthen vessels were found. These graves, just like all holes inside the dwelling places, were sunk into the subsoil. In the dwelling places destroyed by fire (and these are in majority), on the floor remains of the burnt and fallen in roofs were preserved. We could state that the roof consisted of several layers. The lowest layer consisted of rafters with a diameter of up to 20 cm, and these were linked together by transversal beams. The rafters and beams formed the ceiling of the dwelling place, covered with a layer of clay plaster (fragments of rafters and beams with clay plaster were found on the floor), upon this a layer of thin sticks or twigs, and above these bark of birch, straw, and probably ashes were laid, and all this was covered with sods.

 

Thus from the pit-dwellings only their base sunk in the subsoil was preserved, while from all other parts of these dwelling places the walls, the roofs, the supports on which they rested we have only single fragments which render difficult the reconstruction of the Ivolga pit-dwellings. Determining for them are two factors, viz.: the base sunk into the subsoil, and the roof covered with sods. In fact, turning to the ethnographic parallels in the regions of Eastern Siberia, we find that the most widely spread dwelling place there was the pit-dwelling of different types. Thus the Nivkhi excavated for the pit-dwellings a hole of a depth of 1.25 m, above which they placed a frame made of thin beams and from the outside they covered it with earth 2. The pit-dwelling of the Nanai was also very near to this type 3.

 

The most natural form of covering of the pit-dwelling is the span roof, and apparently this form was used also in the case of our pit-dwellings. The entrance to the pit-dwelling was observed in the southern wall, consequently the ridge of the roof could be only placed in N-S direction. Furthermore we have to presume the presence of walls on the northern and southern side of the pit, and this assumption is supported by the remains of the southern wall, discovered in dwellings 7, 26, 38, 42 and 49, as well as by the ruins of such walls, found in the earth filling up almost all dwellings. Such walls were constructed of clay and small wooden posts, which served as a frame, supporting the raw mass of the wall. On the ridge of the roof rafters were laid, and on these covering layers, the remains of which were traced on the floor of the dwellings.

 

For the reconstruction of these pit-dwellings the question is not without interest, where lay the endings of the rafters. One of them was laid on the ridge of the roof, and the other on the edge of the pit. Passing along the northern and western walls the smoke pipes served at the same time also as heating tubes, near which the berths were set up. A roof lying immediately on the edge of the pit would have limited the heat capacity supplying of the smoke pipes and would have disturbed their repair, while the discovery of significant quantities of burnt bones of domestic animals shows that they were repaired and rebuild several times. We can, therefore, presume that the rafters of the western slope of the roof rested not on the edge of the pit, but at a certain distance from it, and thus along the western edge over the smoke pipe ledge was formed. Very likely the rafters of the eastern slope of the roof rested on the edge of the pit, and here this circumstance was not disturbed by anything.

(70/71)

 

Thus we think that the dwelling was covered with a span roof which rested a ridge, supporting beams on the southern and northern sides, and on the layer of soil around the excavated base of the dwelling, and we have to presume the presence of ledge at the western and northern borders of the pit. It is not excluded that at the excavation of the pit the earth dug out from it was partly placed on the western and northern side, increasing thus the depth of the pit. Such an assumption is entirely obvious, if we take into consideration the comparatively limited depth (from 55 cm to 1.10 m) of the pits of the Ivolga dwellings.

 

The long entrance has also ethnographic parallels. Such corridor-like entrances were in the pit-dwellings of the Nivkhi. Thus, for the majority of the Ivolga dwellings the reconstruction as pit-dwelling with span roofs is convincing. On Fig. 86 the reconstruction of dwelling 42 is given which represents a dwelling of the type described. We have to remark also another circumstance, viz.: in the filling ground and on the floor of certain dwellings small pieces of mica were found. It is not excluded that with this mica the openings in the walls serving for the illumination of the premises were closed. Together with such pit-dwellings coexisted a somewhat different type of pit-dwellings half sunk in the ground. Especially interesting material for the reconstruction of the dwellings of this type is rendered by dwelling 28 which regarding the main characteristics the base slightly sunk in the subsoil, orientated towards the cardinal points, the presence of a fireplace built of slabs of quartz porphyry, in the northeastern corner, and the smoke pipe along the northern and western walls does not differ from those constructive characters which were observed in the pit-dwellings.

 

A new element in the construction of this hut was represented by the post holes found around it in an arrangement that the line of the post holes went around at a distance of up to 1 m from the line of the edge of the pit. Some of these post holes had slabs of stone underneath. Inside dwelling 28 along the edges of the pit there are also post holes, but they are smaller than those discovered outside the borders of the pit, and have no lining of stone slabs underneath.

 

The presence of post holes outside the borders of the pit renders a basis to suppose that the roof of dwelling 28 (whose structure is analogous to the roofs of the pit-dwellings) rested on wooden supports, surrounding it from all sides and included in the raw clay walls. Since the line of the post holes passed along at a distance of 1 m from the line of the pit, thus in the dwelling a ledge (a platform) was formed, which could be used as a serviceable space for household equipment. Obviously, the beams inside the pit did not bear great weight (the post holes are smaller and are not lined with stone slabs underneath), they could be only supplementary and not the main supports of the roof. Presumably, they served for the basis of internal partition walls, dividing the dwelling into parts. Thus it can be stated that the Ivolga dwellings were pit-dwellings and huts half sunk in the ground, with span roofs.

 

For the reconstruction of the Ivolga dwellings the question about the place of the smoke pipe is of interest. The smoke pipe ended at the south-western corner of the dwelling, no kind of outlet for the smoke has been traced. In the big dwelling No. 9 in the south-western corner, where the smoke pipe ended, a vertical opening-pipe with oval cross section 35 cm in diameter was discovered, whose walls were plastered up with clay. Starting out from this circumstance, we can presume that the outlet for the smoke was conducted in the thickness of the wall and through the roof. In the dwellings of the Nanai the smoke pipe was not built into the thickness of the wall, but was conducted outside in the form of a narrow conduit, in the end of which a vertical smoke pipe was built.

 

On the floor and in the earth filling up the dwelling, remains of economic and every day life objects, pottery, implements made of iron, bronze and bone, as well as ornaments were found. The majority of the finds discovered in the dwellings were in fragmentary state, we only found in dwelling 36 on the floor 11 whole vessels .

 

Besides this mass of pit-dwellings and huts half sunk in the ground, two dwellings built on the surface of the soil were also found, viz. dwellings 9 and 46 A, but they are unlike except that both are built on the surface. Dwelling 46 A has neither fireplace nor heating and smoke pipe. Very likely it had

(71/72)

no independent function, but it represents a supplementary summer building to dwelling 46. Obviously, in the given case we have a so far single example of a large dwelling with two parts, a winter and a summer part. As regards its constructive characteristics surface-dwelling is similar to the pit-dwellings and the huts half sunk in the ground. It had raw clay walls and along the northern and western walls, a smoke pipe as heating conduit which started out from the fireplace, standing in the north-eastern corner of the dwelling. All this connects it with the bulk of dwellings from which it differed, however, in that feature that it was not excavated in the virgin soil, but stood on a small elevation. Its surface character is supported also by the remains of raw clay walls on all the four sides. On the basis of the central position and the dimensions of this dwelling (13 m by 11.5 m) we can ascribe to it a dominant role among all the other dwellings. Presumably, it belonged to the leader of the settlement.

 

As we have already remarked, the ground-plan of the dwellings is very uniform, but some dwellings have certain peculiarities. We mention first of all the twin dwellings Nos. 14 and 28, both of which have two fireplaces, two heating conduits, separated inside by a low wall or stove- couch.

 

Although dwellings 17 and 18, 21 and 22, 38 and 42 differ from dwellings 14 and 28 in the absence of the partition wall or stove-couch, but are in such small distance from each other (65 to 80 cm) that the presence of a common wall between them is quite obvious. In such houses very likely two families lived, linked with each other by ties of relationship.

 

The twin dwellings 14 and 28 differed from the rest of the dwellings not only in their more complicated construction, but also in the larger assortment and richness of the finds. The dimensions of the majority of the dwellings were 5 m by 4 m and 5.5 m by 4.5 m (the figures are made round). They were also characterised by approximately the same quantity and quality of finds discovered in them. Peculiar are three dwellings, viz. Nos. 10, 14 and 44. Their very small dimensions (2.80 m by 3.80 m), the onesideness and scantiness of their finds point to the possibility that they had a subordinate function. Dwellings 10 and 14 belong to the complex of the big dwelling No. 9, and occupy in it a subordinate position. Presumably they were the dwellings of servants of the chief, living in dwelling 9. Dwelling 44 situated in the southern border of the settlement, immediately at the first defensive line, could serve as a watch-house. As it is shown by the ruins of burnt wooden structures with burnt clay coating, remainders of burnt objects, slaggy earthenware, discovered both on the floor of the dwellings and in the earth filling them up, a great part of the investigated dwellings was destroyed by fire. But part of the dwellings (Nos. 26, 30, 31, 37) were destroyed by the inhabitants still during the life of the settlement and there are no traces of fire in them. They are poorly preserved and since all building materials were taken out of them, there are only single finds in them, exclusively in fragments, and, as a rule, only in the earth filling up the dwellings.

 

We have to mention cases when the dwellings (Nos. 26, 27) cut through earlier economic pits and also earlier dwellings (dwelling 32 cut through dwelling 33). This short survey of the general characteristics of the discovered dwellings only shows the circumstances, that were common for all dwelling complexes, but each of them had some individual features both in the construction and in the finds.

 

The construction of the investigated dwellings is in general clear, although many questions have still to be solved in the course of further excavations. A full analogy of the Ivolga dwellings is rendered by the dwellings of the Hsiung-nu settlement excavated by G.F. Debets in the Trans-Baikal region at the village Dureny along the river Chikoy. Are the similar construction methods the invention of the Ivolga people or were they borrowed?

 

From the population preceding them in the given territory only graves made of huge stone slabs have been preserved, their settlements are unknown so far, and there is no basis to speak about the borrowing of the construction technics from them. The heating of dwellings with the help of heating tubes or smoke pipes appeared in the given territory together with the population which left behind the settlements at Dureny and Ivolga. In the territory of Siberia heating tubes are known to a series of

(72/73)

peoples of the Amur region, e.g. to the Tungus, the Nivkhi, etc. With the Nivkhi beside the tube also wooden berths were set up. We have a basis to think that such heating tubes existed with the peoples of the Amur region from ancient times.

 

The fireplaces of the Ivolga dwellings are similar to the Han kitchen fireplaces, models of which have been preserved in a large quantity. It can be seen on them that the pots were placed in specially made openings above and not into the fireplaces. It is quite clear that the preparation of food in the Ivolga fireplaces could only be done in their front parts, and the height of this part was seldom over 30 cm. The smallest kitchen vessels, covered with soot and scale, have a height of 20 to 25 cm, their base is not broad and they are not very firm. It was impossible to prepare food in them by putting them inside the fireplace. Obviously they were placed above, in specially prepared holes, like in the Han fireplaces, although we must, of course, bear in mind that not a single undamaged fireplace was found at Ivolga.

 

Thus it can be stated that several constructive characteristics of the Ivolga dwellings were borrowed from the peoples of the Far East, but the type of the pit-dwelling with raw clay walls, its covering with twigs, straw, ashes, and sods is obviously of local origin.

 

In this connection the materials of the settlements from the Hsiung-nu time in the territory of Mongolia are of great interest. Unfortunately photographs and drawings of the discovered objects are missing even from the latest publications. In the Hsiung-nu settlements of Mongolia a large quantity of tiles is reported in which they differ considerably from the Ivolga gorodishche, where during the 8 seasons of excavation not a single fragment of tile was found. The finds of tiles in Mongolia point to some other type of dwellings, different from those of the Ivolga gorodishche.

 

Before the publication of drawings on the discovered structures by the Mongolian scientists, it will be difficult to draw any parallel between the Ivolga gorodishche and the Hsiung-nu settlements in the territory of Mongolia. Summing up the facts mentioned above, we can say that the Ivolga dwellings arose on local basis, but with the application of a series of constructive characteristics which were borrowed from the peoples of the Far Fast. Possibly their appearance differs from those dwellings which were built considerably more to the south from here, in the primordial Hsiung-nu territory, but it has to be taken into consideration that the Ivolga gorodishche was separated from the centres of the Hsiung-nu Empire which is the reason of its more peculiar local appearance.

 

Beside the dwellings a large number (565) of remains of different structures with economic-purposes was investigated. The discovery of economic structures considerably completes the material relating to the dwellings, it helps to reveal considerably more completely the life and the way of living of the population of the gorodishche, all the more, as economic buildings are discovered for the first time in the settlements of these times. Their character renders great difficulties, first of all on account of the fact that in their situation and orientation no definite regularity can be observed, moreover, because they existed in different periods (an evidence for this is the cutting through of the pits by each other in several occasions)

 

From among all these structures only the pits excavated into the sub-soil have been preserved, which are filled up with humified soil. In many of them traces of fire can be observed in the form of burnt wood, ashes. Objects of everyday life and economic character are also found.

 

More than half of the discovered pits are of small dimensions (45 cm by 46 cm, and 50 cm by 70 cm, with a depth of 37 to 70 cm), and, apparently, if they were used as cellars, it was sufficient to cover them above with a simple roofing. It must also be taken into consideration that the inhabitants of the gorodishche used clay in large quantities for the construction of houses as well as for the continuous renovation of the clay walls and floors of the dwellings, and, definitely, part of these pits could arise as a result of the excavation of clay for economic purposes after which the pits thus received were filled up with ashes, coal and other remains. Thus the excavated area was levelled off and the inhabitants got rid of the rubbish useless for them. Such pits cannot be regarded as remains of economic buildings.

(73/74)

 

As remains of economic structures can be regarded only the pits of large dimensions with more or less regular outlines, which had to be covered not with a simple roofing, but with a regular roof. The varied forms of these pits indicates not only the different forms of these buildings, but also their different purposes.

 

A great part of these pits have an oblong form with rounded off corners (the largest dimensions are 2 m by 2.5 m, with a depth of 1.2 m; cf. pits 124, 125, 142, 120, etc.), or a circular form (their largest dimensions are 2.80 m by 2.50 m, with a depth of 1.50 m: cf. pits 2, 20, 10, 70, 279, etc.). The walls of these pits are as a rule vertical, their bottom is even, beaten. Fragments of birch bark are frequently found on the bottom and it was possibly used for the lining of the bottom of these buildings. In pit No. 20 at the northern and southern walls small holes were discovered, apparently left behind by the posts, on which the roof rested. In our opinion these pits represent remains of cellars.

 

The group of pits 81, 82 and 83 is of peculiar interest. Attention is drawn to them by their fixed orientation, the uniformity of their oblong form with rounded off corners, and their large dimensions (5 m by 2 m; 4.5 m by 1.5 m; 5.60 m by 2.7 m). Their walls are sloping and they join the bottom under rounded off angles. In the bottom of pit 83 four small holes of posts can be observed, consequently they were covered above. Surely these pits were roomy storage places for the supplies.

 

It must also be noted that in the first group of pits, which we described, as remains of cellars, and in the second group of pits (Nos. 81, 82 and 83) different kinds of supplies were stored, since in the opposite case it would not have been necessary to excavate pits of different forms. They could store food products, grains, meat, fish, and fodder for the cattle. Although the cattle stock was held on pastures, we have to presume the storage of some minor quantity of fodder for the young animals.

 

We have to range pits 51, 58 and 84 into a separate group (largest dimensions 6 m by 1 m), their characteristics are the lengthened form, the exact orientation (N-S or W-E), well shaped bottom and walls, joining each other roundly. The walls and the bottom of pit 53 were coated with clay plaster. Very likely the trough-like shape of these pits was the result of some economic purposes.

 

The big, ditch-like pits Nos. 76, 182, 16, 163, 205, 256, 175 and the ditch investigated in 1956 (east of dwelling 8) are especially interesting . They are characterised by the ditch-like form and the exactly fixed orientation. One group of these pits is parallel with the western border of the gorodishche while the second group is parallel with the southern line of the defensive structures. The smallest of these pits has a length of 11 m (at a breadth of 1.05 to 1.25 m, and a depth of 70 to 80 cm), and the biggest one is 28 m long, with the same breadth. We note that in this group of ditch-like pits, the most regular was pit 175, on the walls of which even traces of clay plaster coating were observed while the other ditches had uneven walls and bottom. Thus the depth of the northern part of pit 182 is 130 cm, and the southern part is 80 cm deep. Especially uneven were the walls and the bottom of pit 205. The filling up of the ditch-like pits does not differ from the filling up of the other pits, it is humified sandy loam, containing pieces of coal, sometimes fragments of burnt rafters, pellets of red clay, ashes, sandy loam mixed with ashes, with remains of culture, viz. fragments of bones of animals, fish, pottery, implements made of bone, iron, bronze, stone and ornaments.

 

The main characteristic of the ditch-like pits is the regularity of their arrangement and direction, as a result of which the open area is divided by them into oblongs. For the time being we can see only one preserved oblong . It is formed by pit 76 from the east, by pits 175 and 256 from the north, by pits 256B and 205 from the west, and by pit 149 from the south (it goes along the western border of the excavations, and, very likely, continues farther off to the west). The area of this oblong is more than 1000 sq. m (exactly 1089 sq. m). Inside it a series of buildings is situated, viz. seven dwellings (four of them Nos. 36, 41, 38, 42 were destroyed by fire, three 37, 39, 40 were destroyed during the existence of the settlement), as well as a well and a large number of pits of different forms and dimensions.

(74/75)

 

North, east, and west of this oblong further three oblongs are seen, of which the northern one is considerably larger. The regularity discovered in the situation of the long ditch-like pits is an occurrence of great interest, but at the same time very difficult to explain. Was the area divided this way to certain economic plots, or was this division caused by the relationship of the persons living in the certain areas? It is so far difficult to give a satisfactory reply on these questions, first of all on account of the fact that the whole settlement has not yet been investigated, and it is not known, whether it will be possible to follow the division to such plots also on the rest of the area. Such ditches could, of course, be made also for drainage purposes, but this explanation must also be controlled, all the more, because we do not know of any analogy for such ditches. Further excavations must by all means throw light also on this interesting, but so far unsolved question.

 

We have already noted the absence of regularity in the arrangement of the rest of the pits. But in spite of this attention has to be drawn to certain peculiarities of their arrangement. As a rule the pits are situated around the long ditch-like pits, viz.: on both sides of the long pit No. 76, on the plot surrounded by long pits Nos. 175 and 182, and dwelling 49; and in the north-western corner of the excavation, west of the long pit No. 182. On the above-mentioned plots, on the whole, there arc pits of large dimensions, in groups, either closely side by side, or intersecting each other. The north-eastern corner of the excavation, bordered by line 38 and the long pit 256, is comparatively scarcely built in. On the whole the pits are small here, and are concentrating around the long pit No. 256.

 

Besides, a certain regularity can also be observed in the circumstance that the pits of equal form are situated in line, viz.: pits 95, 107 and 108; pits 2 and 20; elongated, stretched out from the south to the north: pits 81, 82 and 83 are situated parallel with each other; pits 233, 250 and 251 have especially clearly shaped walls and floor, with rectangular form, with E-W orientation; pits 6, 7, 11, 12 with rectangular form, and uniform orientation, form a closely built in quadrangle; pits 125, 124 and 142, rectangular in form, are elongated in one line; pits 233, 250, with especially clear-cut rectangular form, and small dimensions, are orientated in the same direction, and arc separated only by 60 cm.

 

Surely the union of the similar pits is not accidental, and in spite of the fact that it is difficult to explain it, we must not pass aiong _ais occurrence. 5. Beside the already mentioned pits, attention has to be drawn to the plots (quadrangle P40-41, C40-41, and quadrangle bI49-50, 349-50), where rows of post holes are traced (their ground-plan is circular, their dimensions are not larger, than 25 by 23 centimetres, and their depth 20 centimetres). In one case (quadrangle C40-41, P40-41) 8 holes are situated behind each other, forming a right angle, and in the other (quadrangle 49-50, 40-41) the holes are arranged in two rows, parallel with each other. Obviously we have to do with the remains of surface-buildings or sheds here, but on the basis of the available data it is difficult to say anything definite about their forms and their intended purpose.

 

One of the structures discovered had an entirely definite character. This was a well, situated between dwellings 36 and 38. It represented a frame of quadrangular form, with dimensions 1.23 m by 1.25 m, in a pit (with a circular cross-section), which was over 4.5 m deep. After its cleaning on its bottom even now spring-water could be traced.

 

Besides, in 1950 the remains of a workshop with a well preserved smelting furnace for the smelting of iron were discovered in the gorodishche. Thus we observed the existence of a whole series of economic structures: wells, small pits covered above with a roofing, cellars of different forms for the storage of supplies grains, meat, fish, forage for the cattle above which roofs were constructed; structures built on the surface of the ground, or sheds, of which only post holes remained, a workshop with a furnace for iron smelting, and long ditch-like pits, the purpose of which is so far unclarified. Their base was excavated in the ground. The discovery of such a large number of economic buildings completes our conception about the gorodishche considerably. There are, of course, many unclear points, caused by the circumstance that the main part of the gorodishche has not yet been opened up, and by the fact that there exists no material for comparison, since it happened now the first time that economic buildings have been discovered in similar monuments.

(75/76)

 

Their further investigation has a great importance for the solution of a series of complicated problems regarding the social organization of the inhabitants of the Ivolga region. Attention should be drawn to the following circumstance: small cellars were found both inside and outside the dwellings. The cellars inside the dwellings were as a rule small, it was only in dwelling 47 that the large pit 5 was discovered. The bulk of the stores were situated outside the dwellings. The supplies stored in the small household cellars belonged to the family living in the given dwelling, but who was the owner of the supplies, kept in the numerous large and small cellars outside the dwellings? Of course, it could be easier to answer this question, if among the chaotic arrangement we could separate certain groups of pits, or single pits, connected with definite dwellings, and thus we could reconstruct the complex of dwellings and pits belonging to them. But for the time being we do not have such a possibility. This should be indicated by a further study of the design of the structures inside the gorodishche which would enable us to solve the questions regarding the social structure of the community of the Ivolga people, their property status, and the means of acquiring the goods produced by them.

 

Thus, already now, as a result of the investigation of only part of the monument, it is clear that it represented a permanent settlement, densely built in with dwellings and economic buildings. Of course, structures of other character and other degree of building activity may also occur in the part of the settlement not yet excavated. Perhaps we shall discover an enclosure for the cattle in the northern part of the gorodishche, because for the time being it is not clear, where the Ivolga people kept their cattle. But it seems, that we shall not find there sharp differences from the southern, excavated part. This is indicated among other things also by the fact that four dwellings (Nos. 11 and 12, and two excavated by G.P. Sosnovsky in 1928) and a series of pits in section No. 26 have the same character as those discovered in the southern part of the gorodishche. At any rate this fact does not at all exclude the possibility that they could be arranged in some other order while leaving space for some other buildings, not known from the southern part.

 

At present we can speak with a certain degree of surety of a planning of the settlement only in its southern part. The area of the gorodishche was of regular rectangular form, situated along the bank of the river. Obviously, its construction must have been done to a certain degree in accordance with the form of the settlement itself and in fact the main lines of the construction are parallel with the southern border of the relic.

 

Several such lines can be observed. In the first line we range dwellings 20, 19, 28, 35, 18, 17, 43, 1, 16, in the second one dwellings 36, 37, 41, 47, 13, in the third one dwellings 32, 29, 21, 22, 30, 38, 42, 46, 45. In the fourth line dwellings 27, 34, 23, the ditch-like pit 176, dwelling 39, the ditch-like pit 256 A, and dwellings 7 and 2, in the fifth one dwellings 49, 8 and 4 are to be arranged. Here, of course, it is difficult to speak of a strict planning, there is only a certain order of construction, kept within the framework of some regularity. The dwellings situated north of row five were not ranged in the outlined rows, but here only single objects have been excavated, therefore, we have no possibility to speak about the planning of this part of the settlement so far. But even within the described area there are deviations from the outlined system, viz. dwelling 26 is situated farther to the south than the ones of the 3rd line, and dwellings 31 and 40 lie farther to the south than the 4th line. The fact must also be borne in mind that the remains excavated did not exist at the same time, and e.g. dwellings 26, 31 and 40, mentioned above, were still destroyed during the existence of the settlement. In these there are no traces of fire, on account of which the main bulk of dwellings perished.

 

Thus we can state that the gorodishche was built in according to a certain plan, with more or less strictly designed rows of dwellings, parallel with the southern line of the defensive structures. Further we have to notice a certain degree of regularity in the arrangement and orientation of the long ditch-like pits, which divide the excavated area to rectangular quadrangles, the sides of which are orientated towards the borders of the settlement. Such are the most general observations as regards the planning of the discovered objects.

(76/77)

 

An even more complicated problem is to define the chronological periods of building activity at the gorodishche. On the basis of the archaeological material the initial and final dates comprising over two centuries so far existence of the gorodishche have been determined. It would be interesting to clarify the original appearance of the gorodishche, the process of its building in, whether the planning observed appeared at once, what changes did it undergo, and to what chronological phases can they be related. It is difficult, however, to answer these questions, because the stratigraphic data are very scanty, and the archaeological material is one-sided. For the time being the earliest part of the settlement can be regarded those dwellings, in which there was no burnt layer, and which were still abandoned by their owners during the existence of the settlement.

 

The archaeological material found during the excavations is immense. The most bulky material is that of the pottery. Their investigation shows that the forms of the pottery and the method of its preparation did not change during the whole existence of the gorodishche. All the pots, with the exception of an insignificant number of fragments and a whole pot from dwelling 9, were turned on a primitive potters wheel. Their colour is mostly grab, and sometimes red. The whole variation of the pottery is represented essentially by four forms.

 

Form 1 is the most widely spread one. These pots have slightly expressed shoulders, the variants of this type differ from each other by the greater, or smaller bulging of the body, the presence of arched , or circular pasted handles. On some pots of this group the shoulders are missing, the rim passes over to the rounded body. The pots of this group are uniform also with regard to their purpose, viz. they were used for the cooking of food, their surface is as a rule covered by soot and its sediment. The pots with holes in their bottom whose form does not differ from the other pots of this group, served for the preparation of dairy products and cheese. Form 2 . These are jug-shaped pots, differing from each other only in the size and form of the rim. As regards their use the pots of form 2 can be divided into two subgroups. One of the sub-groups has no holes in the bottom, and the outer and inner surface of these pots are frequently covered with ornamentation. The pots belonging to the other sub-group, with holes in their bottom, served for the preparation of dairy products. It is difficult to establish the quantitative proportion between the two sub-groups, as the finds consisted mostly of fragments. Form 3 is represented by jug-like pots of different sizes. Form 4 differs from the pots of form 3 only in the dimensions. The pots of this group attain a height of 1.09 m. A very characteristic feature of the pots of the given group is represented by the decoration composed of small rolls laid on the shoulders. Obviously, in these pithos-shaped pots products were stored, and some of them with holes in their wall at the base, as it is presumed by G.P. Sosnovsky, were used for the preparation of alcoholic beverages of rice.

 

The forms of the pottery shown on are considerably less spread. They are dishes, vases with spout or dripping, small pots with holes in their bottom, and vases with handles. Single specimens are: a small glass-shaped vase, and a small open cup with a low turned in rim. Apparently vases with lids too existed. As an example for this can serve the rim of a dish, discovered in pit 179; and the fragments of vases, the forms of which have so far not been clarified. A series of fragments render for the time being no clear conception about the form of the vase. Thus we have surveyed all pottery forms, discovered in the Ivolga gorodishche. Four of them, the most widely spread ones, obviously represented the necessary equipment of each dwelling. But, in spite of the numerous finds of pottery, we cannot be convinced that all forms of vases are already known, since part of them have not yet been defined. Very likely further excavations will unveil new forms of pottery. While the forms of vases are very scanty, their decoration excels with a great diversity. With the exception of the already mentioned hand-formed pot from dwelling 9, all vases are decorated. The most favourite decorative elements are as follows: band-like glazing, either with vertical, or with somewhat oblique bands as compared with the axis of the vessel, they frequently form a pattern of intersecting, or arched lines , circular volutes , triangles, filled with glaze, lines arranged at angles to each other. Relief bands, vertical or slightly oblique, put up with a shaping shovel on the raw clay, crossed out lines of waves, double, and even triple, frequently enclosed between two parallel horizontal lines.

(77/78)

 

Horizontal bands marked with lines. Straight, wavy, or S-shaped small pasted rolls, triangular in cross-section, now and then decorated with pinchings.

 

Decorative belts composed of small triangular and crescent-shaped dents, drop-shaped dents, arranged within figures, bordered with crossed out lines. Ornament, made with a stamp, the base of which is composed of quadrangles of different sizes. The diverse and practically inexhaustible combinations of these decorative elements form complicated patterns which are sometimes elegant, but in certain cases the excessive application of such combinations leads to clumsiness and overcrowdedness.

 

The Ivolga pottery has analogies in all the Hsiung-nu sites known so far. In the territory of Siberia there is no similar pottery.

 

A certain similarity can only be observed with the pottery found in graves made of slabs, and this similarity is expressed in the presence of wavy line decoration in the pottery of both cultures. The wavy lines are the favourite and most popular decorative elements on the Ivolga pots. It is not excluded that this motif of decoration has been taken over from the population, which left behind the graves made of stone slabs.

 

Analogies of the Ivolga pottery are also found in the Han pottery in which a considerable part of the forms and certain methods regarding the finishing of the surface and decoration of the vases recur The described pottery is especially peculiar, it is only found in the Hsiung-nu sites.

 

Comprising in their ranks different ethnic elements, the Hsiung-nu, a moving nomad people definitely used the cultural achievements of those peoples, with which they got in contact. This is why the pottery of the Hsiung-nu reflected both the influence of the local traditions and the ones coming from outside This combination endows it with such a peculiar character.

 

Articles made of bone and horn were also found in great number. They excel with a great variety of forms, objects of armament and everyday life, ornaments; a significant group is represented by the implements of work , but the purpose of many articles is difficult to establish so far. This mass of very peculiar objects of bone and horn is characteristic of the culture of the Hsiung-nu.

 

The forms of a series of articles have analogies in the bone products of nomad peoples. The preparation of arrow-heads of bone with split setting continues the local tradition, because arrows with such setting are noted in the Baikal region still from the Neolithic Age, they are also found in the stone slab graves of the Trans-Baikal region. Analogies of such arrow-heads were found not long ago at the village Kamenka on the middle course of tile Yenisei.

 

A series of products of art are characterized by features of the animal style, typical of the Siberian nomads, and some have analogies in the culture of the Far East. Thus we can trace roots of different cultures even here, although the bone carving craft in its basis definitely an aboriginal craftsmanship.

 

The use of iron was wide-spread at this time. They made implements, equipments, and items of armament of iron. The iron products discovered in the Ivolga gorodishche are of local manufacture, what is supported by the finds of an iron smelting furnace and slag.

 

The forms of the products have analogues in the East as well as in the West. Celts and axes, similar to those of the Ivolga specimens, were discovered by Japanese archaeologists in the vicinity of Port-Arthur. Sickles and shovels, analogous to those of the Ivolga region, are found in the material of the Han period.

 

The knifes of the Ivolga gorodishche are very peculiar and with the exception of the knifes with ring-like hilt-ends they have no analogies. Such knifes were found in the Tagar-Tashtyk sites of the Minusinsk basin, in the upper course of the Ob, in Bliznie Elbany, in the sites of the Beresovka phase and they are dated by M.P. Gryaznov to the II-I centuries B.C.

(78/79)

 

Circular clasps with transversal pin were discovered in the kurgan at the village Tes which is dated by S.V. Kiselev to the late Tagar period, and also in the sites of the Prokhorovka culture in the IV-II centuries B.C. Phalerae and propeller-like psaliae, analogous to those of the Ivolga region, were found in a stone slab grave near Ikherik. Thus the iron products too support the diversified connections of culture of the Hsiung-nu. Bronze was used considerably less frequently than iron, and was applied for the manufacture of equipments, items of armament, horse trappings, and ornaments . The main bulk of the bronze articles was prepared in the gorodishche, which is testified by the finds of bronze slag and drops of bronze, received at the smelting. In certain cases bronze was combined with iron, viz. they fixed iron handles to the bronze arrow-heads. Analogies to the bronze products are in the East the three-edged arrow-heads with grooves on their sides, discovered in the vicinity of Port-Arthur, and they are dated between the end of the IIIrd century and the Ist century B.C. The bronze clasps are different in form, and as a rule they are decorated with delineations which appear to be stylizations of animal motifs. Especially valuable dating material has been rendered by the mirror fragments, discovered in the gorodishche. The earliest of them goes back to the IIIrd century B.C., while the latest can be dated to the Ist century B.C. The ornaments, found in the course of the excavations consist of fragments of rings, claw-like, and scale-beam-shaped, pendants made of clayey limestone, chalcedony, jasper, clayey slate; beads, pendants, made mainly of minerals and stones, characteristic of the Trans-Baikal region, viz. fluorite, cornelian stone, serpentine, and also agate, and bone. Starting out from the fact of the application of local materials, it becomes clear that the overwhelming majority of the ornaments discovered was prepared by Ivolga masters. The form of certain mostly spread items rings and claw-like pendants are characteristic of the Far East, as from the Neolithic Age. But a series of articles, as e.g. the cylindrical beads made of clayey limestone, whose analogies arc found in the slab graves, and also the peculiar beads made of bone, are definitely aboriginal also in respect of their forms.

 

Imported ornaments are few, viz. glass beads, pendants made of turquoise and cowrie shells. These tiny articles made a long and enigmatic way, until they reached the settlement. They all obviously show connections with the Near East which was also stated on the basis of finds of Greek-Bactrian textiles in the kurgans of Noin-Ula.

 

The large objective material, discovered in the Ivolga gorodishche, supports the belonging of this site to the culture of the Hsiung-nu, represented by the well-known finds from Noin-Ula, Ilmovaya Pad, and other places. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the Ivolga materials are the most complete collection of the material culture of the Hsiung-nu at present.

 

With the exception of an insignificant quantity of objects, ail this mass of diverse articles was produced in the gorodishche. The pottery, the iron and bronze articles of the most diverse purposes -implements, means of everyday life, weapons, ornaments, a large quantity of products made of bone and horn, manufactured by the inhabitants of the gorodishche with an inexhaustible fantasy and high craftsmanship, the great diversity of their intended purposes, the preparation of ornaments from local materials all this testifies the comparatively high-cultural level of the Hsiung-nu, and also proves the presence of a highly developed and multilateral economy, in which we find agriculture, animal breeding, fishing, hunting, and a considerable development of craftsmanship, viz. pottery, metal working, bone-carving, and a series of other crafts.

 

The basis of existence for such settlements, as that of the Ivolga river was agriculture and handicraft, therefore we dispose over an especially valuable material for the reconstruction of exactly these branches of economy. The written sources testify the fact of the existence agriculture with the Hsiung-nu26. Beside mentioning the cultivation of millet, they do not give any information cither on the technics of agriculture, or on the agricultural implements. The excavations of the Ivolga gorodishche have rendered valuable materials for the reconstruction of the picture of agriculture with the Hsiung-nu. We found agricultural implements such as ploughshares, shovel ends, hoes, sickles, as well as grains of millet, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and wheat (Triticum compaction, Triticum aestivum). The grinding of the grain was done on stone mills of longish and circular forms. We discovered a series of

(79/80)

pits both inside and outside the dwellings, which could entirely perform the role of barns for grains (in dwelling 47 pit 5, as well as pits 2, 10, 279, and others), their dimensions being 2.80 by 2.40 m, with a depth of 1.5 m. They have a sharply developed circular form with well discernible earthen walls, and hard bottom.

 

Thus the materials of the Ivolga gorodishche considerably complete and widen our conceptions regarding the agriculture of the Hsiung-nu about whose existence we could only speak on the basis of the rather scanty evidence rendered by the ancient chronicles so far.

 

Supported by the interesting materials of the Ivolga gorodishche, the existence of agriculture with the Hsiung-nu has a great importance for the ancient history of Central Asia. The investigations of the last few years show that its population was acquainted with agriculture from time immemorial, and these new materials change the traditional opinion on Central Asia as a region of purely nomadic life.

 

The osteological material discovered in the Ivolga gorodishche is very abundant, viz. over one half of all finds discovered in the cultural layer is represented by bones of animals, of which 92.5 per cent were bones of domestic animals and 7.5 per cent bones of wild animals. The animal stock consisted of sheep (22 per cent), horned cattle (17 per cent), hogs (15 per cent), horses (12 per cent), goats (4 per cent), camels and yaks (1 per cent) (and 29 per cent of the bones belonged to dogs).

 

The cows and bulls belonged to a type near to the Mongolian cattle. They are undersized animals well accommodated to spend the winter with scanty forage on the dry pastures. The Ivolga horse is near to the present day Buryat and Northern Yakut horses. This is an animal of medium size with short, but strong limbs, with a well developed cover of hair, excellently accommodated to life under the severe conditions of the local region. The composition of the animal stock characterizes the settled form of life of the inhabitants of the Ivolga gorodishche, inasmuch as a significant part of it (15 per cent) consisted of hogs.

 

The stock of animals was fed during the whole season of the year on pastures. The shortage of fodder did not result only in the small size of the cattle. When abundant snow falls and a thick layer of snow covered the earth in the winters, the cattle deprived of the possibility of getting their food perished in masses, and in the land of the Hsiung-nu hunger set in. These disasters obviously had such a catastrophic character that they were mentioned even by the ancient annals.

 

The pastures for the animal stock of the Ivolga settlement were situated around the gorodishche. The slanting, low slopes of the elevations, deprived of forests, are being used for the grazing of cattle even today. The geographic situation of the gorodishche along the bank of a big river determined the occupation of its inhabitants with fishing which obviously did not represent the last phase in their nourishment. We found large quantities of bones and scales of fish in the filling and on the floor of the pits and dwellings. They caught the fish with hooks, nets and harpoons. Hunting had a secondary role in the economy of the inhabitants of the Ivolga gorodishche. They hunted the deer, the roe, the steppe fox. Obviously, hunting served not so much as a means of getting food, but rather as an entertainment. Hunting was carried on as a rule with the help of the bow and arrows. Obviously, the various and innumerable arrow-heads of bone were on the whole not fighting, but hunting weapons. The diversity of their forms and dimensions was caused by hunting on different animals, and the hunt arrow-heads avoided the spoil of the fur. Hunting furnished the necessary and valuable raw material for the bone carving handicraft, viz. antlers of deer and roe which were used for the manufacture of various articles, specimens of which are found in nearly all dwellings.

 

A significant place in the economy of the Ivolga gorodishche was occupied by the following crafts: ceramics, bone carving, smelting of iron and bronze, preparation of iron and bronze articles, leather and woollen fabrics. But speaking about crafts we have to bear in mind that the occupation with them was combined with the tillage of the land and animal breeding. We have no justification to say that a definite group of craftsmen was separated, which did not know other work besides craftsmanship. Every investigated complex is in general uniform as regards its inventory, and they do not render

(80/81)

sufficient basis for the isolation of any group of dwelling whose masters would have had definitely expressed occupations, differing from those of the others. Very likely, we have to make an exception On behalf of those persons who were occupied with the smelting of iron and bronze, since this kind of occupation required special skill and knowledge which were possessed by far not by all.

 

The main trends of economy of the Ivolga gorodishche, viz. the tillage of land, animal breeding, and the crafts, determined the settled form of life of its inhabitants. The presence of such permanent settlements with agricultural and craftsmans economy is an especially interesting occurrence in the life of the Hsiung-nu society.

 

Describing the Hsiung-nu as a people with inferior and primitive culture which have neither towns, nor settlements or agriculture the reports of the ancient annals appear to be highly shaken by the materials received as a result of the archaeological excavations.

 

The traditional conceptions about the Hsiung-nu as typical nomads who migrate from place to place comfortably looking for grass and water, were for a long time the main source of conceptions about the Hsiung-nu. It was thought that they did not have any independent culture and that they were only capable of adopting the culture of those peoples with which they got in contact. Earlier these traditional view-points were also adopted by the author of the present paper. But the rich material of the Ivolga gorodishche not only passes beyond these old frames, but leads to the real necessity of their revision.

 

In the culture of the Hsiung-nu, just like in the culture of any other people, we can follow the traces of certain cultural contacts with other peoples, but these did not determine the general features of their culture as much as those complicated internal causes which served as the basis of the development of the Hsiung-nu society.

 

The reasons for the appearance of permanent settlements among the Hsiung-nu nomads a brilliant example is represented by the Ivolga gorodishche are in my opinion the following: the main bulk of the Hsiung-nu society was nomad, but the limited productive possibilities of nomad economy, the narrow economic basis of nomad life, led to a great shortage of agricultural and craftsmans products in the wide empire of the Hsiung-nu. The Hsiung-nu looked for a way out in war, which was transformed by them into a war trade. The products required by the Hsiung-nu were also acquired by way of trade with their neighbours. The lively commerce carried on by the Hsiung-nu is also testified by the written sources. The archaeological material also supports the presence of trade relations.

 

But besides the war trade and commerce, the Hsiung-nu strived to overcome the narrow economic basis of nomad economy also by the organisation of a series of permanent settlements whose main trends of economy were agriculture and handicraft. The existence of such permanent settlements reflected the peculiar distribution of work between the nomad and the settled part of the society, but this did not mean that the nomad Hsiung-nu became half nomads, as it was held at the time by G.P. Sosnovsky. Being extensive according to its nature the one-sidedly developed nomad economy was completed by the economy of the settled part of the society.

 

The Ivolga gorodishche was one of those settlements, which rendered possible the development of the own turning out of products of agriculture and handicraft on the spot. The whole material relating to the economy of the Ivolga gorodishche gives rise to the conviction that it performed exactly such a role, supplying the nomad Hsiung-nu with the products of the agricultural and craftsmans products, exactly, it was a kind of trading centre to which the nomad Hsiung-nu travelled.

 

The rise of the Ivolga gorodishche, in all probability, must have been connected with the name of the shan-yu Mao-tun with whose reign the history of the growth of the Hsiung-nu power starts. The Hiung-nu obviously advanced up to the Baikal at the end of the IIIrd century B.C., and, after crushing the tribes which left behind the slab graves, they established themselves in the Trans-Baikal region. At that time a series of settlements were established here, of which we know only two, viz. one along the Chikoy river, at the village Dureny, and the Ivolga settlement.

(81/82)

 

An idea about the earliest possible date of the rise of the gorodishche is given by the finds of bronze mirrors from the end of the IIIrd century B.C. The main complex of the objects can well be dated to the IInd and Ist centuries B.C. This dating is supported by the Far Eastern parallels as well as by the analogies with the Siberian material.

 

Thus the rise of the gorodishche is connected with the expansion of the Hsiung-nu from their main territories far in the North. According to its geographical situation this point occupied a peripheral position in the lands of the Hsiung-nu, but in the Trans-Baikal region proper it was one of the centres of political, economic and cultural life around the beginning of our era. At present the Ivolga gorodishche is the only settlement in the Trans-Baikal region, which can render an especially important and systematic material on the culture and way of life of the Hsiung-nu, considerably completing our knowledge on them, drawn on the written sources. These supplements relate in the first place to the very complicated and many-sided economy of the Hsiung-nu about which the written sources speak only one-sidedly.

 

The population of the permanent settlements of the Hsiung-nu was mixed, it was composed of settled Hsiung-nu, of the aboriginal population conquered by the Hsiung-nu, and of alien craftsmen from the ranks of deserters and prisoners of war. These three different groups were induced by different reasons to become inhabitants of the permanent settlements of the Hsiung-nu. As regards the settling down of certain groups of the nomads, in this case the chief motive appears to be represented by those reasons, which were connected with one of the phases of dissolution of the clan system with the Hsiung-nu. The increasing differences in the property status led to the ruination of certain nomads who lost their herds which had insured their minimum subsistence. But this process was obviously combined also with the strive of society to create permanent settlements with agricultural and craftsmans economy, and from the economic point of view the permanent settling down proved to be correct. The whole appearance of the Ivolga settlement, the diversity and richness of the objects discovered in it point to a certain degree of well-being of its population.

 

Thus the investigated materials show that without the consideration of the complicated combination of the settled agricultural origin with the nomad life now it is impossible to elucidate the various aspects of the history and culture of the Hsiung-nu.

 

The Ivolga complex is interesting also on account of the fact that the materials of the gorodishche are completed by the materials of the cemetery connected with it, situated at a distance of 400 metres to the north on the sand drifts of the Ivolga river where we have excavated 216 graves. Full materials of the Ivolga cemetery is published in the part II of Ivolga archaeological complex.

 

In conclusion it is appropriate to stop at the naturally arising question, when and how this settlement perished which rendered such a brilliant material for the history of the Hsiung-nu. The latest date of the archaeological materials is the beginning of our era. According to the written sources the decline of the power of the Hsiung-nu is an accomplished fact at that time, they lost a series of their possessions, and the start of discord within the ruling upper class definitively weakened them. The destruction of the gorodishche also took place at this period. It perished as a result of military invasion, it was destroyed and burnt down. The traces of fire are discovered in all investigated dwellings complexes, with the exception of those few, which had been abandoned by their masters still during the existence of the settlement.

 

So far it is difficult to tell, exactly what tribe took advantage of their difficult situation and administered such a blow on the settlement, after which life in it did not revive. We have given a short survey of the results of excavations carried on in the Ivolga complex of the gorodishche and cemetery with their abundant materials, and tried to show what a great importance they have for the elucidation of the numerous aspects of the history and culture of the Hsiung-nu.

 

 

 

 

 

 /  /   /