Examination of Eight Archaeological Links Between the Xiongnu and the Huns

Érdy Miklós

Examination of Eight Archaeological Links Between the Xiongnu and the Huns

(45th Meeting of the PIAC, Budapest 2002)

Research is of critical importance in the territory between the west bank of the Yenisei and the Irtish River, a transitional zone of Hunnic history in Central Eurasia. Therefore, I will survey the available archeological relics between these two rivers. More in-depth research is necessary because there is still a controversy among scholars regarding the historical continuity between the Xiongnu in the Far East and Huns in Central Europe. In the Middle Yenisei Basin (Abakan Steppe and Minusinsk Basin) and its vicinity bronze ornaments of the Xiongnu start occurring from the late 3rd, and throughout the 2nd centuries B.C. These indicate an early Xiongnu expansion.

In addition to summarizing three major archaeological links between the Xiongnu and the Huns, each documented by a map, i.e.,

  • the bronze cauldrons
  • the Hunnic female gold diadems
  • the partial horse burials

I will examine five aditional connections between them, as follow:

  • The progression of the cauldron’s handle design from east to west.
  • The map of the Xiongnu openwork belt buckle finds between Lake Baikal and the River Irtish (data by Devlet).
  • The map of petroglyphs depicting Hunnic type cauldrons on the west side of the Yenisei and its comparison to the map of the belt buckles.
  • A Xiongnu kurgan cemetery on the Irtish River at Sidorovka and other cemeteries west of the Yenisei.
  • A connection of written Chinese sources to archaeological finds in the Ili-Lake Balkhash area (2nd century A.D.).

The gradually increasing archaeological connections, the multifaceted agreement between the archaeological finds and the Sogdian and Chinese written source material leaves me no alternative but to firmly accept the Xiongnu-Hun historical continuity throughout Eurasia.