Summary of the 2010 Forum of Advanced Study held in the Institute of Archaeology, CASS
On the morning of 30th December 2010, a forum of advanced study was held in the meeting room at 8th floor within the Institute of Archaeology. The moderator of this forum was deputy Director Bai Yunxiang and four research fellows had deliberated their academic researches on various subjects.
The presentation topic of research fellow Wang Renxiang was “Worshipping Birds and Revering Mountants: Micro and macro questions of archaeology at Taosi” The “micro” question is his new interpretation on the jade plaque decorated with animal face excavated at Taosi. He made a comparison between the animal face jade plaque with the jade plaque excavated at the Jiuliandun Chu Burial of the Warring States. Both plaques contained the image of twin birds. The perforation, which misinterpreted as eyes, actually is a gap between the body of a bird and its talon. With reference to copious amount of materials, Wang pointed out that started from the butterfly shaped ivory piece decorated with the pattern “two phoenixes facing towards the sun” unearthed from the Hemudu site, the arts of twin birds was presented in different ways from different periods. The meaning of these art pieces may deliberate as praise to life, metaphor for love, auspicious expectation or worshiping sun and bird. For the “macro” question, Wang investigated the direction of Taosi city ruin and questioned the ancient orientation system and its continuity. Two ancient orientation systems could be identified after reviewing huge amount of archaeological data. They were axis orientation and diagonal orientation respectively. These orientation systems can explain cities, houses, burials or even places for ritual activities. The formulation of different systems is related to both astronomy and geography and further studies need to be done for clarification.
The topic of research fellow Zhao Chunqing was “Few questions on the archaeology in ancient city ruins” and the main theme was on pre-historic ancient city ruins. He first focused on the past literature reviews on Chinese pre-historic ancient city ruins followed by his new perspective. He also suggested another viewpoint on the formation of pre-historic ancient city ruins. Mr. Zhao also had several queries regarding his viewpoint including clarification on the concepts of ancient city ruin, size, ditch within the foundation, retaining wall and backfill earth. He also discussed about the relationship between wall and moat, period of particular ancient city ruin compared with other city ruins in general, rating and classification of ancient city ruins. These questions entailed further discussion among the participants.
The topic of research fellow Zhu Yanping was “Hailar – Acquaintance with the ancient culture of the Yimin River Valley”. He addressed the pedigree of ancient culture in that area through studying the pottery of Hake Tuanjie site and Hui River Dam site. Representative features of stage one are from Hake Tuanjie site context seven and below, stage two are from Hui River Dam site M1, stage three are from Hui River Dam site H1, stage four are from early Xianbei features in Zhalainuoer, stage five are features from Xiwuzhuer and Xieertala, which are not earlier than the Neolithic period in Xinglongwa culture and extended to Sui and Tang periods. Incised decoration on the pottery reflected an inheritance of the same system.
The presentation topic of research fellow Shi Jinsong was “Research on the artefacts unearthed in ritual area of Jinsha Site”. He first started to conduct a typology classification and chronology on the artefacts, and then he made a comparison between the artefacts yielded in the ritual area of Jinsha site and Sanxingdui site. It is noted that artefacts from these two areas were similar but dissimilar in some points. Artefacts from Jinsha site protruded power and sun worshipping originated from the Sanxingdui culture. Lastly, he has his own interpretation on the culture pattern of the Chengdu plain during the Jinsha period. He believed that Jinsha site was not affected by other cultures except Chengdu plain. Although characteristic of Sanxingdui culture stands out, it was largely influenced by culture from outside.
There were about one hundred participants in this forum including scholars and students from the Institute or Archaeology and various universities, a number of research institutes Each presentation entailed extensive concentration as well as enthusiastic discussion and Director Wang Wei summarized the forum in the end. (Translator: Dr. Li Langlin)