THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN EARTHEN LANDSCAPE HERITAGE AND SOCIO-POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NORTHERN WEI DYNASTY: A VIEW FROM ARCHAEOLOGY
- Tianjin University, School of Architecture, Tianjin, China
Keywords: Earthen Landscape Heritage, Landscape Architecture, Northern Wei Dynasty, Archaeological Data
Abstract. In the past two decades, landscape archaeology has undergone a paradigm shift from traditional theoretical methods to being practically oriented, with the advent of the widespread application of philosophical theories (such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, and others) and the emerging new technologies in social sciences. Nevertheless, landscape archaeology has not been able to garner the attention it requires from Chinese archaeology, which fails to understand its significance behind the systematic regional survey methods. Rather, for a long time, the study of the man-land relationship has been considered to be a part of environmental archaeology. Besides, the landscape elements in archaeological excavations were often considered as mechanical interactions between people and the environment, resulting in a lack of holistic and systematic research on a selection of archaeological sites. The focus however has remained restricted to the earthen remains and relics in the archaeological process. The Northern Wei Dynasty was the first nomadic regime to control the Central Plains in the Chinese history and moved its capital three times for the purpose of sinicization. The recent archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Shengle, imperial palaces, tombs, sacrificial sites, gardens, Yinshan palaces, and the border defense facilities during the Shengle period of the Northern Wei Dynasty have revealed several phenomena and evidence of the cultural integration of the various ethnic groups. As mentioned earlier, the limitations in the research horizon have led to the in-depth analysis and research of archaeological relics and archaeological data during this period seeking the desired attention. This study considers landscape archaeology, anthropology, sociology, and history as the primary research methods pertinent to the above situation. It considers archaeological relics and archaeological data from the prosperous period as the research object and thoroughly analyses the relationship between the people and the earthen landscape relics, to reveal the social culture, the religious beliefs, the politics, and the military behind the integration of the multi-ethnic culture, along with the cognition of the natural environments, the social structures, and the religious spaces. Simultaneously, the analysis results would also endeavor to integrate the artifacts, the relics (space, structure, layout, and locational relationship), road grids, surrounding environment, and several other surface space elements to restore and reproduce the prosperous social and cultural situations scenes of the bygone period. The final outcome shall become a typical research case. By comparing and combing the archaeological discoveries of the Northern and the Southern Dynasties of China and the pertinent archaeological data, we could further understand and explain the multi-ethnic cultural development and evolution while providing an essential theoretical basis for the present social and cultural research on the Northern Wei Dynasty in China.