From June 3rd to June 5th 2008, the fourth East Asian archeological conference was convened at the Institute of Archeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, All together came more than 200 participating scholars from: England, America, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Russia, Israel, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Hong Kong area and Taiwan area.
The society for East Asian archeology (SEAA) periodically holds international conferences. The first conference was held in Hawaii, U.S.A. in 1996; One conference has been held every four years since. The society for East Asian archeology was established in 1996, the purpose being: to intensify the academic exchanges between scholars who are doing research on East Asian archeology worldwide, to enhance the development of research in the field of East Asian archeology and to promote the protection of cultural heritage. Currently there are more than 100 formal members, including almost all important scholars in the west who are specialists and researchers in the field of East Asian archeology. In recent years, with the rapid development and great amount of achievement in East Asian archeology, membership has grown as more and more scholars have come together from such countries and areas as China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Hong Kong area and Taiwan area. Now the society of East Asian archeology has became the most influential academic organization in the international field of East Asian archeological research.
This time, at this 3 day meeting, at the fourth East Asian archeological conference held in Beijing, the scholars came from the above mentioned countries had an intense debate on the following range of topics: the Paleolithic era in East Asia, comparative study of early complex societies in East Asian and the world, metallurgy and societies of the Eurasian continent, the Archeology of East Asian islands, the local territorial interactions of prehistoric peoples in East Asia, protection of East Asian archeological heritage sites, the bronze period in China, southern China and South East Asian area prehistoric archeology, etc. and subjects ranging across the topics of East Asian studies including: ancient animals, plants, physical anthropology, glass ware, etc. These subjects not only include today’s most burning theoretical issues in the domain of East Asian archeological research but, they also surmise and showcase the achievements in the area of modern East Asian archeology.
Paying attention to the path and pattern of development of ancient civilization and societies, this conference examined the interactions of the different region’s ancient cultures while making full use of the latest technologies as well as new theories and methods in the study of ancient relics; which, has always been granted special significance by archeologists worldwide. Therefore, this was the key focus of discussion. Additionally, with the improved emphasis and accomplishments in preservation and protection of cultural relics in China and throughout East Asia, these efforts have increasingly attracted world attention. To conferences such as this, the theory and practice of the study of culture relic preservation is continually becoming the one of the most important agenda items.
During this conference, Chinese scholars developed an important synergy for establishing a platform for academic exchange; they sought to show how a nexus has evolved for making connections between the ever-changing developments in Chinese archeology and an emerging diversity of academic achievements in this field; they worked together to promote the development of Chinese and East Asian archeology. Furthermore; this conference worked towards establishing an exchange of ideas among archeologists throughout Eastern Asia and the world. It worked towards bridging the communication gaps among them as well as developing a positive meaning to people who seek to understand the current archeological efforts both within China and Beijing itself.
Mark Davis and Jenny Wang