Born in Beijing in May, 1945, LI graduated from the Archaeology Program in the Department of History of Peking University. He has been working at the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences since 1978. He is a Research Fellow and an supervisor for master degree graduate students of the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He serves as a director of the Society for Chinese Museums and enjoys the special allowance from the State Council.
Major Archaeological Excavations
Jianmin LI joined the excavation of the Taosi site (Neolithic), Xiangfeng County, Shanxi Province from 1978-1984. During this period, he also participated in the excavations of the Tonglushan site (Eastern Zhou, copper quarry and melting site), Daye, Hubei Province and the Dachai Site (Erlitou Culture), Xiangfen County, Shanxi Province). From 1996-1997, he directed the excavations of the Xiaozhao site (Neolithic) and the Zhaili site, both located in Yuanqu County, Shanxi Province.
Li’s main research specialty spans from prehistoric archaeology to the archaeology of Xia, Shang and Zhou. He also specializes in the study of bronze weaponry. He has published more than 30 archaeological reports and research papers.
Jianmin LI co-authored “Excavation Report of Taosi”, “Preliminary report of the Taosi cemetery, Xiangfen County, Shanxi”, “Major discoveries of the excavation at Zone III of the Taosi site from1983-1984”, “Preliminary excavation report of the Dachai site, Xiangfen County, Shanxi Province”, and “Preliminary excavation report of the xiaozhao site, Yuanqu County, Shanxi Province in 1996”.
Jianmin Li was a primary member of the excavations at the Taosi site from 1978-1984. These excavations not only offered new materials for studying the Miaodigou II Culture and enhanced the understanding of the transition from the Yangshao Culture to the Longshan Culture, they also found and established the Taosi Culture which was in the period of the legendary era of Yao, Shun and Yu. These are important materials for investigating the origin of Chinese civilization and the formation of early states.
Over decades, Jianmin LI has conducted researches of ancient bronze weaponry. Bronze weaponry is an important component of the Chinese bronze cultures. As the main combat weapons, bronze ge halberd and mao spears display evident spatial and time differences. The regular changes of their forms are important issues in the study of Chinese bronze cultures. Jianmin Li has published 10 research papers to examine systematically these two bronze weapons. His new interpretations are well received by scholars.
Major Academic Publications
2001: A study of the bronze halberds and spears excavated from the Xingan Shang tomb and other relevant issues. Kaogu (Archaeology), No.5.
1995: Bronze mao spears from Yunnan (Yunnan qingtong mao). Kaogu xuebao (Journal of Archaeology), No.2.
1991: Ancient Chinese bronze ge halberds (zhongguo gudai qingtong ge). Kaoguxue jikan (Archaeology Periodicals). No.7.
1984: Rethinking the early Longshan cultural remains of the Dongxiafeng site (dongxiafeng ‘longshan wenhua zaoqi yicun de zai renshi). Kaogu (Archaeology). No.9.
Current Research Projects
A study of the Taosi Culture
Archaeological discoveries and social economy of the Eastern Zhou.
Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
27 Wangfujing Avenue, Beijing, China 100710.