The Ethnic Composition of Bohai State on the Archaeological Materials


Setting the Problem: Pohai State (698-926), being situated on the territory of the Russian Primorye, North East of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and North East of China, was created by Tungus-Manchus tribes Sumo Mokhe. Pohai was a poly-ethnic (multinational) state. Tribes Mokhe were the basic population of it. Besides, there lived Koguryo, Paleo-Asian and Chinese residents. Each ethnic community had its own social status that could be determined by archaeological material. For deciding such a task the author worked out methods for determining the structure of archaeological culture. In the Russian archaeology the term “archaeological culture” means a complex of archaeological sites situated on one and the same territory and possessed common indications of material culture (ceramics, artifacts out of metal, necropolis, dwellings, etc.). Structure of Mediaeval Archaeological Cultures: The author proposes to single out three layers in material culture: aboriginal layer contains the information about ethnic belonging; state layer characterizes handcraft production and gives a possibility to determine the state borders; epoch layer gives a possibility to date sites and single out military-trade-economic ties. The aboriginal layer is represented with artifacts being made by residents themselves. They are molded ceramics, traditional decorations, the specificity of dwelling construction, funeral rites, etc. The state layer is represented with handicraft artifacts, mainly, made by alien masters and with technology different from the aboriginal one. For example, ceramics being produced on the potter’s wheel; types of fortifications that were built by special (foreign) masters invited for it, and etc. The epochal-making layer is represented with artifacts that were spread on the very vast territory, for example, girdles (belts) of Turk type, ceramics of Tan dynasty, armament, etc. Three Tasks of the Investigation: According to such methodic principles there were set three tasks: on the archaeological material to single out the ethnic (aboriginal) structure of Pohai state; to determine state signs; to define social status Koguryo residents in Pohai. Analysis of the Material: Ceramics. The analysis of molded ceramics exposes that on Pohai sites there was present only Mokhe type of the vessels. There is no molded Koguryo ceramics there. The analysis of ceramics, being finished off on potter’s wheel, exposes handicraft traditions and the presence of kilns, i.e. potter’s wheel ceramics of Koguryo type were produced there. The analysis of potter’s grey-clay ceramics exposes handicraft traditions of Tan dynasty but the absence of centers of its production. It is indicative of trade relations. Fortifications: The appearance of stone mountain sites in Pohai is connected with fortification traditions. The appearance of valley (plain) square sites is connected with Chinese fortification traditions. Conclusions: So, the basic (aboriginal) population of Pohai was Tungus-Manchus tribes Mokhe. Koguryo residents in Pohai were used as pottershandicrafts men and fortification masters and, may be, warriors. The geography of stone fortresses shows up that they were constructed for defending marine and land roads.

Share and Cite:

Dyakova, O. (2014) The Ethnic Composition of Bohai State on the Archaeological Materials. Archaeological Discovery, 2, 6-12. doi: 10.4236/ad.2014.21002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Dyakova, O. V. (2005). Gorodischa i kreposti Dalnego Vostoka (severovostochnoye primorye). (Ancient Town Sites and Fortresses of Far East. (Northeastern Primorye)). Vladivostok, 171.
[2] Nosov, K. S. (2001). Zamki i kreposti Indii, Kitaya i Japonii (Castles and Fortresses of China and Japan). Rejttarj, Moscow, 27.
[3] Un, K. G. (2005). Research of Particulariries of Koguryo Mountain Towns (pp. 138-152). Separately printed copy. Similar characterization of Koguryo towns was offered by Prof. Nam Il Ren, University Kim Il Sung, at Second International Conference on Korean Studies.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.