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Medieval long-wall construction on the Mongolian Steppe during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries AD

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 June 2020

Gideon Shelach-Lavi*
Department of Asian Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Ido Wachtel
Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Dan Golan
Independent Researcher
Otgonjargal Batzorig
Oyu Tolgoi Mines, Inc., Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Chunag Amartuvshin
Institute of History and Archaeology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Ronnie Ellenblum
Department of Geography, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
William Honeychurch
Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, USA
*Author for correspondence: ✉


The long walls of China and the Eurasian Steppe are considered to have functioned as either defensive structures against aggressive nomadic tribes, or as elements to control the movement of local nomadic groups following imperialist expansion. This article focuses on a hitherto understudied 737km-long medieval wall running from northern China into north-eastern Mongolia. Built by either the Liao or Jin Dynasties, the wall features numerous auxiliary structures that hint at its function. In research relevant to interpreting other Eurasian and global wall-building episodes, the authors employ extensive archaeological survey and GIS analysis to understand better the reasons behind the wall's construction, as well as its various possible functions.

Research Article
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2020

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