The Institute of Archaeology (CASS) Held 2009 Annual Research Forum
From：Chinese Archaeology Writer： Date：2010-01-28
The Institute of Archaeology (CASS) held its annual research forum on the afternoon of January 14, 2010. The forum took place in the conference room on the eighth floor of the Institute and was presided over by Director Wang Wei. During the forum, three research fellows from the Institute of Archaeology were invited to give lectures, which helped foster an atmosphere of enthusiastic participation and academic exchange.
The forum was formally opened at 1:30pm by Director Wang Wei and was followed by the first lecture of the afternoon, which was presented by Research Fellow He Nu. His lecture was entitled “The Gnomon Shadow Template from Taosi and the the Formation of Earliest Concept of the Central State (Proto-China)”and began with a brief introduction of the archaeological excavations conducted at the Taosi site in recent years. He then gave a detailed explanation of the archaeological context of the lacquer stick excavated in 2002 at Tomb No. IIM22, a royal tomb discovered in Taosi which dates from the Taosi Culture's Middle Period (ca.2100–2000 BC). He considered the sizes and scales of the alternating green and black sections painted on the lacquer stick, which were separated by pink belts, and consulted the relevant historical documents, which led him to conclude that the stick might have served as a gnomon shadow template and that the excavation of an observatory and the discovery of the lacquer stick indicate the two time service systems were in use at the Taosi site. He also argued that the jade “qi” blade (戚 ) and jade “cong”(çý ) unearthed from the tomb may have served as the shadow definer and shadow nonius and that the gnomon shadow template may have been known as a “zhong” (ÖÐ ) before the advent of the Western Zhou Dynasty. He also explored the relationship between the gnomon shadow template and the concept of “zhong”(centre) and argued that the capital of the proto-state was located at the point marked out by the gnomon shadow at noon on the summer solstice. He argued that this symbolized the cognitive dominion of the state and implied that the solar calendar played a part in the regal authority over an agricultural society. He concluded by claiming the gnomon shadow template unearthed at Taosi may have been part of the state ideological apparatus of its time.
The second lecture was presented by Research Fellow Gong Guoqiang, a member of the Department of Han to Tang Archaeology's Tang Chang'an Fieldwork Team. The lecture was titled "The Opportunities and Challenges Posed to Archaeological Work Conducted During the Preservation of Large Heritage Sites: Archaeological Achievements and Thoughts on the Daming Palace Ruins at the Tang Chang'an City Site". He began by giving an introduction to the current state of preservation works being carried out at large cultural heritage sites around the country before going on to talk about the archaeological work conducted as part of the construction of the Tang Daming Palace National Heritage Park and share his thoughts on the opportunities offered and challenges faced by those conducting archaeological research and preservation work at national heritage sites.
He stated that the preservation works currently being conducted at the Daming Palace National Heritage Park in Xi’an are proceeding as planned: the draft regulations have been written up, research papers have been published, archaeological work has been conducted at the site and the project staff have laid a solid foundation for a geographic information system for the Daming Palace archaeological site. The new data gathered has helped fill in the gaps in the existing academic knowledge of the Daming Palace site and helped resolve a number of outstanding issues. The project has also helped him gain experience of conducting archaeological work alongside preservation works at a large national heritage site. He proceeded to give an account of the challenges and problems he faced while participating in the project and shared his belief that the project offered a rare opportunity to conduct preservation work alongside archaeological research. He also posited that the establishment of archaeological reference libraries and research centres at China's national heritage sites would help researchers to draw from the experiences of other countries and would better serve the local communities.
The third and final lecture, "A Study of the Hongshan Culture's Animal-Mask Penannular (jue) Jade Ornaments", was presented by Research Fellow Zhu Naicheng, which was an investigation into the origins of the Hongshan culture's penannular (jue) jade ornaments with animal-mask designs. He began by presenting an analysis of the known forms of animal-mask penannular jade ornaments before going on to describe his research on the evolution of the various forms. He also talked about his research of the chronological sequence of the jade ornaments and of his efforts to determine absolute dates for the animal-mask penannular jade ornaments found at Hongshan culture sites. His research led him to conclude that the Hongshan jade ornaments postdate the Lingjiatan-type jade artifacts of the Xuejiagang culture and that the designs on the Hongshan penannular jade ornaments were strongly influenced by those of the Xuejiagang.
The forum ended with a closing speech by Director Wang Wei, who remarked that this year's forum reflected the high standards of research conducted by the Institute of Archaeology's senior research fellows and commended them for sharing their knowledge with those present. He expressed his wish that the Institute's research fellows would continue to propose bold hypotheses and to exercise caution when verifying their research or drawing their conclusions and that with everyone's active participation, the Institute could continue to host forums and provide a platform for the exchange of archaeological research, thus allowing them to continue to make new breakthroughs and progress in their archaeological studies. (Translated by Kelly McGuire & He Nu)