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The Beginning and the Maturity of Nomadic Powers in the Eurasian Steppes: Growing and Downsizing of Elite Tumuli

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

Abstract From 1999 to 2007 Japan-Mongol joint archaeological expedition worked in the Ulaan Uushig site near the city Mörön, Northern Mongolia. The purpose of our survey is to determine the date of the beginning of nomadic powers in the Eurasian steppes. In places where early kingship occurred, various sizes of tombs were often built. The tomb size reflected the social status of the dead. And a powerful “king” built a big tumulus as a symbol of power. However, elite tumuli were abandoned along with the maturity of power structures. We consider that such a phenomenon can also be seen in the Eurasian steppes. For this reason we looked for the earliest tumuli in Mongolia, the heartland of rider nomads, and studied the change of size and structure of nomadic elite tombs.


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