Archaeologists have unearthed a “eared” fortress in the Far East

(ORDO NEWS) — It is known who, it is approximately clear how, but it is not yet clear why – that’s all we know about the settlements of the Daurian type in the Amur region.

In the first half of the 20th century, Grigory Novikov, a former postman, a former prisoner of war, a former prospector, a former Social Democrat, decided that he was most interested in the history of his native land – the Amur region.

And he did not just decide, but achieved significant success in this matter. And he even took a pseudonym for himself: now we know him as Grigory Novikov-Daursky . Without the slightest trace of historical education, he found and initially described the so-called settlements of the Dahurian type.

Last season, almost a century after the description, archaeologists excavated one of them. The results are presented in an article for the journal “Problems of Archeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of Siberia and Adjacent Territories” .

Novikov-Daursky left a description of 25 settlements. To date, archaeologists have found traces of 15 of them, and excavations were carried out in the double settlement of Sergeevka-4. In general, settlements of the Daurian type are small sites elevated above the surrounding area.

In shape, they resemble squares with rounded corners, and on the sides there are towers that, when photographed from above, look like ears, so archaeologists often call these monuments “eared” settlements. All of them are surrounded by ramparts and ditches – there can be from one to three.

Archaeologists have unearthed a eared fortress in the Far East 2

The Sergeevka-4 monument is located on the floodplain terrace of one of the channels of the Amur, about three kilometers from the river itself. In general, Daurian settlements were often built precisely on terraces – perhaps this was how they solved two problems at once: the terrace is easier to defend and there are no problems with the availability of water. The investigated monument consists of two separate and different in size settlements connected by one small rampart.

The first is the same rounded square with four corner towers. Interestingly, the inner platform of the settlement is higher than the level of the surrounding area – and in some places even higher than the ramparts.

It is not entirely clear why it was necessary to raise it like that. Perhaps to protect against the most severe floods of the river. The settlement was surrounded by two rows of parallel ditches and ramparts.

The second settlement is smaller than the first and is surrounded by three lines of ditches and two ramparts. Both settlements are interconnected by a straight rampart 14 meters long and up to two meters wide. Unfortunately, the date of construction of the settlements is not yet clear. The fact is that now archaeologists date them on the basis of stratigraphic observations both on the object itself and on the terrace where it is located.

Archaeologists have unearthed a eared fortress in the Far East 3

It is obvious that by the time the construction of the settlement began, frequent powerful floods had stopped, after which a thin soil layer barely had time to form, and the intensive formation of the terrace had ended. Such a period began around the 14th century and continued until the 19th century (the Little Ice Age and the first hundred years after its end).

In the sections of the ramparts and the tower, there are no obvious traces of new strong floods that would completely flood the settlement. By the way, during the excavations in June-July 2021, this is exactly what happened: as a result of a severe flood, both settlements completely went under water.

The authors of the work write: “What is the functional purpose of such monuments, at this stage of the study, it was not possible to find out, which requires the continuation of its excavations.” It certainly is. And one of the main problems in finding out the purpose of the settlements is too vague dating.

We know for sure that the Daurs lived in the Amur region in the 17th century. They were one of the largest peoples of the Amur region, they occupied a vast territory stretching from the Shilka to the upper reaches of the Zeya, their number exceeded 10 thousand people. Daurs were divided into 11 territorial and tribal groups, named after individual princes.

In 1649 Erofey Khabarov came to their lands . He had a direct order: to conquer the peoples. And he conquered. Judging by his reports, the Cossacks regularly encountered resistance from local residents. But one must understand that Khabarov was not a researcher, but a warrior.

His descriptions of the settlements that tried to hold the defense are very scarce. Without additional research, we cannot reliably correlate them with the settlements of the Dahurian type, so we can only wait for a new archaeological season.


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