Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A place of pilgrimage? Niuheliang and its role in Hongshan society

  • Robert D. Drennan (a1), Xueming Lu (a2) and Christian E. Peterson (a3)
Abstract

The complex of Niuheliang, in north-eastern China, with its concentration of ceremonial architecture and unusual art, has been considered the most highly developed polity of the Hongshan period, representing the integration of a large territory. In contrast, the supposed absence of residential remains has been advanced to suggest that it was a vacant ceremonial centre. Systematic survey of the area is now helping to clarify relationships between ceremonial sites and occupation patterns. Densities of utilitarian pottery sherds were used to map settlement and estimate population levels in relation to the locations of ceremonial architecture and concentrations of ritual pottery. This reveals that despite unproductive soils, the area had a relatively high, although scattered, population, focused in part on ritual locations. The results support a role for Niuheliang as a place of pilgrimage, but within a nexus of settled communities that sustained its ceremonial activities.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence (Email: drennan@pitt.edu)
References
Hide All
Barnes, G.L. & Guo, D.. 1996. The ritual landscape of ‘Boar Mountain’ Basin: the Niuheliang site complex of northeastern China. World Archaeology 28: 209–19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438243.1996.9980341
Chifeng International Collaborative Archaeological Research Project. 2011. Settlement patterns in the Chifeng region. Pittsburgh (PA): University of Pittsburgh Center for Comparative Archaeology.
Drennan, R.D., Peterson, C.E., Lu, X., Zhu, D. & Hou, S.. 2014. Settlement and social dynamics in the Upper Daling and Chifeng regions of northeastern China. Asian Archaeology 2: 5076.
Guo, D. 1995. Hongshan and related cultures, in Nelson, S.M. (ed.) The archaeology of northeast China: beyond the Great Wall: 2164. London: Routledge.
Kahn, J. 2015. Identifying residences of ritual practitioners in the archaeological record as a proxy for social complexity. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 40: 5981. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2015.06.001
Kantner, J. & Vaughn, K.J.. 2012. Pilgrimage as costly signal: religiously motivated cooperation in Chaco and Nasca. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31: 6682. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2011.10.003
Lee, Y.K. & Zhu, N.. 2002. Social integration of religion and ritual in prehistoric China. Antiquity 76: 715–23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X0009116X
Li, X. 2008. Development of social complexity in the Liaoxi area, northeast China (British Archaeological Reports international series 1821). Oxford: Archaeopress.
Liaoning Institute of Archaeology. 1997. Niuheliang Hongshan wenhua yizhi yu yuqi jingcui. Beijing: Wenwu (in Chinese).
Liaoning Institute of Archaeology 2012. Niuheliang: Hongshan wenhua yizhi fajue baogao, 1983–2003 niandu. Beijing: Wenwu (in Chinese).
Liaoning Institute of Archaeology & Renmin University of China. 2015. 2014 nian Niuheliang yizhi xitong xing quyu kaogu diaocha yanjiu. Huaxia Kaogu 2015 (3): 38 (in Chinese).
Lu, X. & Zhu, D.. 2002. Niuheliang Hongshan wenhua muzang fenxi yu xiangguang wenti, in Fei, X. (ed.) Yuhun guopo—Zhongguo gudai yuqi yu zhuantong wenhua xueshu toulunhui wenji: 128–34. Beijing: Yanshan (in Chinese).
Nelson, S.M. 1996. Ideology and the formation of an early state in northeast China, in Claessen, H.J.M. & Oosten, J.G. (ed.) Ideology and the formation of ancient states: 153–69. Leiden: Brill.
Peterson, C.E. & Lu, X.. 2013. Understanding Hongshan-period social dynamics, in Underhill, A.P. (ed.) A companion to Chinese archaeology: 5580. Malden (MA): Wiley-Blackwell.
Peterson, C.E., Lu, X., Drennan, R.D. & Zhu, D.. 2010. Hongshan chiefly communities in Neolithic northeastern China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107: 5756–61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1000949107
Peterson, C.E., Lu, X., Drennan, R.D. & Zhu, D.. 2014. Hongshan regional organization in the Upper Daling valley. Pittsburgh (PA): University of Pittsburgh Center for Comparative Archaeology.
Plog, S. & Watson, A.S.. 2012. The Chaco pilgrimage model: evaluating the evidence from Pueblo Alto. American Antiquity 77: 449–77. http://dx.doi.org/10.7183/0002-7316.77.3.449
Yan, W. 1996. Zhongguo wangmu de chuxian. Kaogu yu wenwu 1996 (1): 2425 (in Chinese).
Zhang, H., Bevan, A. & Guo, D.. 2013. The Neolithic ceremonial complex at Niuheliang and wider Hongshan landscapes in northeastern China. Journal of World Prehistory 26: 124. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10963-013-9062-9
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed