Organizational principles of Khirigsuur monuments in the lower Egiin Gol valley, Mongolia

Type de publication  Journal Article
Auteur(s)  Joshua, W.
Volume  26
Titre de la revue  Journal of anthropological archaeology
Année  2007
Pages  350-365
Mots-clés  Methodology-in-prehistory; Bronze-Age; Early-; Iron-Age; New-; Mongolia-; Siberia-; Sculpture-in-the-round; Monument-; Pastoralism-; Survey-; System-; Floor-; Site-; Method-; Study-; Typology-; Type-; A-Group; Asia-; Chalcolithic-; Arctic-

Khirigsuurs are the largest and most common archaeological monuments of the Mongolian Steppe in the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, a critical time for the spread of nomadic pastoralism and the emergence of a new social order during the Bronze Age in Inner Asia. Using data from a full coverage regional survey of the Lower Egiin Gol valley, this paper presents a system for studying the defining ground level features of Khirigsuurs to discover structural categories, organize sites, compare Khirigsuur monuments across regions and explore activities that may have gone on around the Khirigsuurs themselves as they were built and used. The primary methods used are a study of monumental scale and a typology of additive parts from which complex and comparable types emerge. Elaborate Khirigsuurs illustrate the use of Khirigsuurs as small monuments, stages for group activities, and are the persistent backdrop for social transformations during the spread of nomadic pastoralism. I suggest that the Khirigsuurs of the Lower Egiin Gol are monuments constructed with relatively regular frequency, by a consistently sized group, and used for group oriented activities rather than the memorialization of an elite. This is consistent with something one might see as part of a regular yearly nomadic round.