The CASS Institute of Archaeology’s Young Scholars Forum 2010 was held at the conference hall on the eighth floor of the Institute on the afternoon of 30th December 2010 and was presided over by Deputy Director Chen Xingcan. Three of the Institute’s scholars presented their papers to an audience of over 100 scholars, students and personnel from the Institute of Archaeology and associated universities and research institutes.
The first paper presented was Mr Yue Zhanwei’s report on “Research on the Piece-Mould Casting Techniques Used in Yinxu Bronze Ware”. Previous studies of Chinese bronze vessels have been primarily concerned with the vertical piece-mould casting techniques whilst studies of horizontal piece-mould techniques have been largely ignored. Nevertheless, horizontal casting techniques have received a lot of attention in recent years and have led to widespread claims of the ubiquitous use of these techniques in the Yinxu Period.
Whole casting techniques were the most commonly used bronze casting techniques in the Yinxu Period but piece-mould techniques were also widely used, especially in the manufacture of bronze accessories and intricate bronze ware. The study of the piece-mould techniques in bronze ware production has helped further research of the handicraft industries of the Shang Dynasty.
This was followed Mr Guo Xiaotao’s paper entitled “The Origins of the Japanese State in the Kofun Period as Seen from Luoyang : A Study of the New Discoveries Made at the Han-Wei Imperial City at Luoyang, the Makimuku Ruins and the Sakurai Chausuyama Kofun Burial Mound”. In clearing and excavating the site of the Changhemen Gate and studying the relevant historical texts, the scholar argued that he was able to prove that the general layout and basic scale of the main entrance to the Northern Wei imperial city had been constructed during the Wei and Jin Period.
The Makimuku Ruins in Japan date from the end of the 2nd Century to the beginning of the 4th Century and high-class architecture first appeared on the site in the mid-3rd Century. The axial layout of the construction shows clear signs of Chinese architectural influences dating to China’s Wei-Jin period. All four structures were built along a central axis and were surrounded by adjoining large sacrificial pits, a clear demonstration of royal power. This has led archaeologists to believe that this site may have played a central role in Japan’s Kofun Period and may have been the site of the Yamatai Kingdom’s capital and the seat of political power.
Excavations at the Sakurai Chausuyama kofun site have yielded new evidence of cross-cultural exchange between Japan and China in ancient times and have proven the hypothesis that the tomb was that of a high ranking individual, perhaps even a royal tomb. Research into the huge kofun mound has been of great significance to the study of the shift of political power from Yamatai Kingdom to the Yamato court. The axial layout of the Makimuku ruins and the construction of the huge Chausuyama kofun burial mound both hint at a possible Chinese influence. These findings will be of great importance to the study of Chinese-Japanese cultural exchange and the origins of the Japanese nation.
The third and final paper presented was by Dr. Lu Peng, who talked about “The Zooarchaeological Study of a Shell Midden Site in the Yongjiang River Basin in Guangxi Province”. In his report, he discussed the results of the systematic and comprehensive zooarchaeological research conducted at a shell midden site which is situated on the banks of the Yongjiang River and is believed to between 6,000 and 10,000 years old.
He began by explaining the definition of a shell midden site and giving an overview of the discovery and research of shell midden sites in China and abroad. Dr. Lu summarized some of the research methods and theories employed in the study of shell midden sites before going on to share the findings of the research on the shell midden and the identification of the animal remains excavated there. These findings have formed the basis of a comprehensive study of the shell midden at the Yongjiang River site. Finally, he brought his research into perspective by explaining the site’s importance within the context of shell mound studies in China. He shared his observations of the diachronic and synchronic studies conducted on the various types of shell midden sites across the country and shared his findings of his exploratory study of the man-land relationships seen at the midden sites.
Director Wang Wei closed the forum with summaries and appraisals of the three papers presented during the course of the afternoon. During the forum, the scholars in the audience eagerly participated in the discussions and helped make the forum a big success. (Translator：Kelly McGuire)