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

Gideon Shelach-Lavi*, Ido Wachtel, Dan Golan, Otgonjargal Batzorig, Chunag Amartuvshin, Ronnie Ellenblum, William Honeychurch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)724-741
Number of pages18
Issue number375
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by funding provided by the Mandel Scholion Research Center, the Louis Frieberg Chair of East Asian Studies and by the Ring Family Foundation for Atmospheric and Global Studies, all based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition to the authors, field research team members were: Bymbatseren Batdalai, Dashzeveg Ganbat, Tulgaa Murdorj, Perliilkhunduv Baigalmaa, Nachem Doron, Yotam Toib, Chen Zeigen, Mika Ullman and Talia Abulafia.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2020.


  • China
  • Jin
  • Liao
  • Mongolia
  • long walls
  • pastoralism


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