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Invited researcher Nikolay Nikolayevich Kradin
Contract number
14.W03.31.0016
Time span of the project
2017-2021

As of 30.01.2020

36
Number of staff members
37
scientific publications
General information

Name of the project: Dynamics of nations and empires in the history of Inner Asia

Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development Priority Level: д, ж


Goals and objectives

Research directions: History, archaeology, source studies

Project objective: Complex multidisciplinary research of structural dynamics of historical development of population of Inner Asia and spatiotemporal links of intercivilizational and intercultural interactions


The practical value of the study

  • In settlement complexes of the Late Neolithic – early Bronze Age (man site «Mukhanskie ozyora IV») in Western Transbaikal we have found remains of bones of a domesticated horse and a sheep. The stratified nature of these findings allows to refine data on the period of domestication of animals as well as on the period of emergence of the first cattle farmers in the Transbaikal region.
  • The Laboratory has researched a region of 100 square kilometers in the central part of the Ivolginskoye hillfort of the Xiongnu era. We have discerned lodegements, middens in the space between lodgements where mass findings were made – fragments of ceramic products, animal bones as well as unique objects made of stone, bone etc. For the first time at the Ivolginskoye hillfort several stratigraphic horizons. We have drafted detailed plans of the following archaeological objects: the Ivolginskoye hillfort, the Xiongnu burial ground Nur-Tukhum, the Narsatuy homestead, the Konduy palace.
  • We have conducted archaeological survey of ancient hillforts on the territory of the Irkutsk region. During this work we have found objects of two types: settlements with fortification constructions (earthen berms and ditches situated on horizontal surfaces high over valleys of rivers, on mountain plateaus) and territories surrounded by walls made of steel up to 1.5 meters high. On the territory of Mongolia the survey has covered Eastern, Central and North-Western regions. During the work 58 locations of hillforts and settlements have been research, 10 new archaeological objects have been discovered.
  • Our investigation paleoanthropological materials do not confirm close relationship between the Shiwei people (Burkhotuy culture) and the Mohe people. For these reasons we have augmented the vision two ancient centers of ethnogenesis on the territory of Inner Asia: Tungus-Manchurian and Turkic-Mongol that can be traced from the Middle Ages.
  • Using radiocarbon dating we have found new dates for the upper cultural horizons of sites «Barun-Alan» – 1:680±40 (ЛУ-8541), 2650±120 (LU-8539); «Tri skaly»: 280±60 (LU-8543), located in Western Transbaikal. For the first time we have determined chronological boundaries of the end of active human exploration of the listed archaelogical site. In particular, the upper tier of the 6th lithographic layer of «Barun-Alan 1» was subjected to significant anthropogenic impact on the verge of the 13th and the 14th centuries, after which active human exploration of this region ends. We have found a radiocarbon date of the Noert-Eastern sanctuaries of the Ger-Shuluun site 2670±180 (ЛУ-8742).
  • By radiocarbon dating we have found absolute age of samples of osteopathic material (bones of domestic animals), tress and charcoal from monuments of the Xiongnu times found in regions «Nuur-Tukhum. Xiongnu burial site» (2020±150; 480±80; 590±40), «Ilmovaya pad. Burial site (1960±130; 2000±90), «Gudjir Myge. Burial site (2160±100; 2370±120), «Settlement Nizhniy Mangiruy» (2390±150).
  • We have formed a collection and conducted analysis of more than 90 anthropological samples from different from various archaelogical monuments: «Zorgol-1» (Transbaikal, Zorgol culture, post-Xiongnu/early-Yangbiy age), «Duroy-1» and «Duroy-2», «Bolshaya Kanga-1» (Transbaikal, Duroy culture, late-Yangbiy age), «Yaloman-II2 (Altay, Bulan-Kobin culture, Xiongnu and Zhuzhan ages), «Teleutskiy Vzvoz-1», «Ust-Aleyka-Klub» (Upper Ob River Region, Karmatskaya culture, Mongol era), «Undugun», «Lysaya gora-2» (Transbaikal, Undugun culture, Mongol era) and others.
  • On the basis of genome analysis we have found high level of genetic diversity of Buryats which is the highest among Siberian populations, comparable with that of populations of Eastern and Western Asia. Gene pool of Buryats consists of 107 mitochondrial lines of DNA of which 41 lines belong to Eurasian and 18 lines to Western Eurasian. Eastern Eurasian component is represented by the main haplogroups: A, B, CZ, D, F, G, M7, N9 and accounts for 80,8% of all researched samples. Western Eurasian haplogroups (H, HV, U, X) – 19,2%. Western Eurasian haplogroups can be found in Eastern Buryats (23,2%), in Western Buryats it accounts for 15,6% Results of AMOVA and MDS bioinformatics analysis has shown high genetic relatives between Buryats and Eastern Asian populations of China and Japan. Genetic similarity has been found points at maternal lineage of mitochondrial lines of DNA.
  • We have determined composition of small fauna from archaeological monuments «Ivolginskoye hillfort», «Settlement Nizhniy Mangiruy» and «Tsaran burial ground». Species composition of fauna of mollusks, amphibians and small mammals, determined from excavations of the Ivoginskoye hillfort indicate existence both taiga regions and dry steppe and forest steppe near rivers or temporary bodies of water. Determination of bone remains of large mammals and numerous remains of canine bones allowed to ascertain that such species composition of domestic animals at the Ivolginskoye hillfort is more likely to be typical for settled population. Fauna of small mammals of Xiongnu settlement «Nizhniy Mangirtiy» is represented by 1 species of lagomorphs (Daurian pika ) and 1 species of rodents (long-tailed ground squirrel), which indicates presence of rocky dry steppe and meadow steppe in the population area.
  • The Laboratory has conducted biochemical analysis from the Krasnaya gora excavation. It has shown that in cultural layers content of pyrogenic carbon is high compared to control profiles and equals to 355–223 g/kg-1 ТОС and 194–95, 149–94 g/kg-1 ТОС which proves active human life's work during this period.
  • The Laboratory has obtained a three-dimensional visualization of results of georadiolocation at the Nizhniy Mangirtuy settlement of the Xiongnu era at various levels of surface at depths of 30 cm, 40 cm and 50 cm. From results of three-dimensional visualization of the wave picture at various depths within the cultural layer we have isolated extended and local inhomogeneities that corresponds to orientation of walls of lodgement. On the basis of obtained data we have complied a geophysical plan of the object. A GIS basis has been created that known archaelogical monuments located on the territory of the Republic of Buryatia, the Transbaikal Region, as well as the Northern part of Mongolia. We have confirmed efficiency and viability of search for new archaelogical objects using methods of space remote probing for locations spatially connected to already marked archaelogical monuments. Application of the methodology of archaelogical processing of images from space allowed to extend the area of the Hirhirinskoye hillfort with the found new group of constructions.
  • Our researchers have formulated a hypothesis that in forest steppe regions of North-Western Manchuria proto-Mongols kept transitional groups (from hunters-fishers to cattle farmers). It is possible that exactly such groups of multi-language population entered Western basin of the Amur River and populated it in the second half of the first millennium BC — 1st-2nd centuries AD. Within the research of ethnic composition of Buryats we have determined various layers that participated in ethnogenesis of Buryats. The main layer is represented by tribes of Mongol origin among which ethnonyms of the times of nations Xianbei , SHono/Chinu, Abaga/Afugan and others. The second layer in terms of numbers is the Turkic layer represented by one of associations of Bulagats/Obogoni Olon. We have found Middle Age contacts of early Buryats and Yakuts from the example of the eponym «Obogon / Omogoy».
  • It has been determined that certain aspects of life of nomads of Inner Asia were determined by ecological conditions (for example, cattle farming, social organization). At the same time, there is evidence certain dynamics in other components of the culture of steppe communities (means and technologies of transportation, arms and soldiery, urbanization, literary sources etc), caused by various external and internal factors. We have justified that some cultural impulses were adopted from the agricultural world through diffusion or borrowing (a number of technologies, world religions etc).
  • Our researchers have collected ethnographic, linguistic and folklore material on the territory of the Hulun Buir District of the Inner Mongolia of China. This collection unveils the origins of the Daur nation as well as improve the characteristic of its material and spiritual culture. On the territory of the Bulgan aimag (Mongolia) we have conducted expedition research that indicated changes of traditional households and life of Mongolian nomads.
  • We have determined meaning and functions of animals in the traditional worldview and ritual practices of nomads from comparative analysis of a corpus of beliefs, rituals, prohibitions related to domestic animals in nomadic culture of Inner Asia.
  • The Laboratory has completed translation from old written Mongolian and given a commentary to the «Introduction» of the monument «Daichin Ulsyn Mongolian Magad Huul» («Truthful records on Mongols of the Qing empire») and the section covering the period of rule Manchurian chieftain (1559–1626) with the volume of 12 printed pages.
  • Our researchers have justified one of the main places in religious traditions of nations of Inner Asia was occupied by the cult of the Sky (Tengri), which acted as value and orientation nucleus of the spiritual civilization of the Turkic peoples, the Mongols, the Tibetans, the Finno-Ugric peoples, as well as the Chinese.
  • We have confirmed the vision that propagation and strengthening of Buddhism in Tibet, Mongolia and Buryatia occurred exclusively through support of state authorities. Social and political demand for Buddhism as a consolidating and regulating factor, as well as orientation of the authorities towards usage of Buddhism in their foreign policy turned Buddhism into into one of efficient means of state governance not only within countries but also outside of them.
  • Our researchers have studied archives of the Aginsky Steppe Duma where they processes log books and service records containing biographical data of authorities of local governance of the Agin Buryats.

Implemented results of research: Results obtained during our research have been used to create electronic courses at universities, in practical work of the Committee of State Protection of Object of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Buryatia, in forming expeditions and exhibitions of the museum of the Buryat Research Center of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Education and career development:

  • We have organized the scientific seminar «Dynamics of nations and empires in the history of Inner Asia». The following open lectures were held as part of the seminar : «Historical dynamics in the succession», «World-system approach», «Preparing and publishing articles inn journals indexed by Web of Science», «Centers of ethnogenesis of Tungus-Manchurian and Mongolian nations in the Middle Ages», «On results of the ethnoarchaeological expedition to study ancient and Middle Age settlements in 2017», «Xiongnu burial complexes of Western Transbaikal».
  • We have organized the «Basics of geoinformatics in archaeology» by the Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Department of Theory and Methodology of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • We have organized internships for employees of the Laboratory at the Center of Collective Usage «Geoarchaeology of the Cenozoic Era» on the grounds of the (international) «Interdisciplinary research of prehistoric art of Eurasia» (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk State University, University of Bordeaux). The internships were also organized at the Novosibirsk State University, the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • One candidate dissertation has been defended.
  • We have organized participation of students of the Buryat State University and the Transbaikal State University in the archaeological expedition of the Laboratory to the archaelogical complex «Ivolginskoye hillfort».
  • We have organized participation of students of the East-Siberian State Institute of Culture in an archaeological expedition to the archaelogical site «Tri skaly»

Other results:

  • We organized the 3rd International Congress of Middle Ages Archaeology of European Steppes «Between East and West: movement of culture, technologies and empires» (г. Vladivostok, 2–6 May 2017).
  • The Laboratory organized the International Scientific Conference «The World of Central Asia-4» (Ulan-Ude, 4–7 October 2017).
  • We ran th International Scientific Conference «Modern Problems of Archaeology and Ethnology of Central Asia» (Ulan-Ude 4-5 December 2017).

Collaborations:

  • Institute of Genetics of the Stockholm University (Sweden), Natural History Museum of Denmark (Denmark), Max Planck Institute of Natural History (Germany), Institute for Studies of Nomadic Civilizations (Mongolia), Mongolian University of Science and Technology (Mongolia), Institute of Humanities Research of the Kyung Hee University (South Korea), V.I. Ilyichev Pacific Oceanology Institute of the Far Eastern Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia), Institute of the Earth's crust Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia): joint research
  • Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Far Eastern Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia): organizing the he 3rd International Congress of Middle Ages Archaeology of European Steppes «Between East and West: movement of culture, technologies and empires», employees of the Institute participated in archaelogical expeditions to the Ivolginskoye hillfort and the Nizhne-Mangitruyskoye settlement
  • East Siberian State Institute of Culture (Russia): participation of students in archaelogical expeditions

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Derenko M., Denisova G., Malyarchuk B., Dambueva I., Bazarov B.
Mitogenomic Diversity and Differentiation of the Buryats. Journal of Human genetics: Nature 61(1): 1 (2017).
Guzev M.A., Kradin N.N., Nikitina E.
The Imperial Curve of Large Polities. Social Evolution & History 16(2): 112–125 (2017).
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