The Way the Wind Blows on the Steppe: The Historical Ecology of Mortuary Monuments in Mongolia (1500 BC-1400 AD)
Author(s): Erik Johannesson
Subject to continuous change, landscapes represent palimpsests of successive alterations over time. As such, landscapes have history. Following Carole Crumley’s major contributions to historical ecology, this paper charts diachronic change in mortuary landscapes in Mongolia against the backdrop of three major nomadic polities: the Xiongnu (200 BC-200 AD), The Turk Empire (550-850 AD), and the Mongol Empire (1200-1400 AD). The construction of impressive funerary stone monuments has been a consistent feature of Mongolian prehistory since the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. Steppe politics frequently involved manipulating these monuments and associated mortuary practices, making funerary contexts some of the most visible components of nomadic polities’ political economy. Here I will discuss how the political economies of the empires mentioned above used funerary monuments respectively to subvert, integrate, or appropriate preceding architectural narratives and symbols present in the landscape. In doing so they each contributed distinctive elements to an evolving and dynamic landscape of stone monuments that now form an integral part of Mongolian cultural heritage.
Cite this Record
The Way the Wind Blows on the Steppe: The Historical Ecology of Mortuary Monuments in Mongolia (1500 BC-1400 AD). Erik Johannesson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403721)
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min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;