New fortification elements of the Jurchen fortified settlements in Primorye

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Jurchen fortified settlements from the Eastern Xia period (1215-1233) are elements of a sophisticated fortification system. They were built in the mountains as protection against Mongol incursions. During construction of these fortresses special attention was paid to the gates as the most vulnerable spot of the defense. Gates of two types - central gates and additional ones - were erected at the Jin dynasty sites. The first type had the form of an external G-shaped tambour, the so called barbican; the second type was built as an opening in the rampart. The excavations of the fortifications at the Shaiginskoye fortified settlement (Primorye) revealed a new type of gates, provisionally called barrier gates. The gates are trapezoidal or rectangular in the plan, the side walls of the passages were reinforced with logs. The gates were locked with iron padlocks. The design of the construction looks like a blindage, which means an earth covered deep fortification dugout. Such gates were constructed at the spots from where it was possible to get onto the hill crest surreptitiously and descend into the valley. The barrier gates served as secret exits and could be used for redeployment of troops during city defense.


Jurchen, fortifications, gates, fortified settlements, defensive architecture, primorye, eastern xia kingdom

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IDR: 143166130

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