On iron metallurgy and related questions in ancient Xinjiang during the Xiong-nu and Turks Periods

Wensuo Liu

219-235 p.



Xinjiang, China is an important region for the history of ancient metallurgy in Inner Eurasia. In this article, the author discusses iron metallurgy in ancient Xinjiang from the Han to Tang Periods, from the third century BCE to the tenth century CE, i.e., the Xiongnu and Turks periods. Some records in Chinese historical documents and among archaeological discoveries indicate that the Xiong-nu made great efforts to control the Tarim Basin, especially the Qiuzi, taxing resources, including iron. The historical record and archaeological discoveries also indicate that the early Turks originated in the south Altay Mountains and developed into a powerful regime by relying on the local iron reserves.


Keywords: Altay Mountains, iron metallurgy, Kucha, Tarim Basin, Tianshan Mountains, Turks, Qiuzi, Xinjiang, Xiong-nu


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About the author: Wensuo Liu – PhD, Professor and Vice-Director of the Department of Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University (No.135 Xingang Xilu Road, Guangzhou, China, Postal Code 510275); liuwensuo@126.com