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The monumentality of ancient pastoral landscapes in Western Tian Shan (Xinjiang, China)

Author(s): Annie Chan

Year: 2017

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This paper examines the spatial configuration of stone structures built for ritual and funerary uses in the steppes of Western Tian Shan based on results of survey and excavation in the Bortala and Ili River Valleys in Xinjiang, China. Marked by clusters of structures attributed typologically to different epochs of human activity, these sites evince a recurring architectural expression of ritual and funerary customs spanning upwards of centuries. The additive process by which some of these structures came into existence, as previous field research in contiguous regions has noted, highlights the temporality of these locales and the perpetuation of pastoral landscapes. In dissecting monumentality, this paper contends that the influence of these structures on routes of movement among early pastoral societies manifests on a diachronic scale.

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The monumentality of ancient pastoral landscapes in Western Tian Shan (Xinjiang, China). Annie Chan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429684)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17579

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America