Born in Shanghai in October 1952, Yuan achieved his BA from the Archaeology Program, History Department of Northwest University in 1982, his MA from the Department of Archaeology, Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1985, and his Ph.D from the Graduate School of Chiba University, Japan in 1993.
He has worked at the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences since 1985 and now is a professor, head of the Center of Archaeological Sciences and Experiments, member of the academic committee of the IACASS.
He is the supervisor of doctoral candidates and member of professional technical qualification committee of the Graduate School of the CASS,
He is the member of International Council of Archaeozoology, standing member of Chinese Quaternary Council, deputy director of Environmental Archaeology Association, Chinese Quaternary Council.
He is the member of the Experts Committee of the Research Center of Ancient Civilizations of the CASS, member of the Academic Committee of the Research Center of Traditional Techniques and Sciences and Technology of Cultural Relics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, examiner of the Special Fund for Researchers with Overseas Study Experience of Ministry of Education, Assistant head of Technological History and Technological Archaeology Department of Science and Technology University of China, part-time or visiting professor of the Research Center of Historical Geography of Beijing University, Research Center of Frontier Archaeology of Jilin University, Research Center of Oriental Archaeology of Shandong University, Cultural Relics and Museum School of Northwest University, and School of Ethnology and Sociology of Central Ethnology University.
Main excavation and research experience
Participated in the excavation at the Neolithic site of Shizhaocun in Tianshui, Gansu in 1984;
Participated in the excavation at the Neolithic site of Xiehu in Lantian, Shaanxi in 1986-89;
Directing the excavation at Oshita shell midden site in Ibaraki, Japan in 1990;
Directing the excavation at Hazama shell midden site in Ibaraki, Japan in 1993;
Since 1990s, with the supports from the National Fund of Social Sciences, National Fund of Natural Sciences, funds from the CASS and the IACASS, he has introduced foreign environmental archaeological and zooarchaeological theories and methods to the practices of Chinese field archaeology. He analyzed faunal remains from sites and cemeteries including shell midden sites in the Jiaodong Peninsula, Xinglongwa and Xinglonggou in Aohan, Inner Mongolia, Nanzhuangtou in Xushui, Hebei, Yuchisi in Mengcheng, Anhui, Sanxingcun in Jintan, Jiangsu, Maqiao in Shanghai, Kuahuqiao in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang, Shuangyantang in Wushan, Chongqing, Miaoping in Zigui, Hubei, Qianzhangda in Tengzhou, Han tombs at Luozhuang in Jinan, Shandong, Guchengdongguan in Yuanqu, Taosi in Xiangfen, Shanxi, Jiahu in Wuyang, Bancun in Mianchi, Guchengzhai in Xinmi, Shangtaisi in Zhecheng, Zaojiaoshu in Luoyang, Shangcheng in Yanshi, Shang hoards in Zhengzhou, Huanbeishangcheng and Yinxu in Anyang, Zhonghang in Xinzheng, Henan, Fengxi in Chang’an, terracotta soldiers and horses pits of Qin Dynasty in Lintong, Chang’an City of Han Dynasty and accessory burials of the Han Pingling mausoleum in Xi’an, Fujiamen in Wushan, Gansu, Shidaoluo tombs in Guyuan, Ningxia, Chawuhugoukou in Hejing, Xinjiang, and Zengpiyan in Guilin, Guanxi.
International academic activities
November, 2004: participated in the international conference on ‘Effect and Efficiency of National Institutes of Cultural Heritage’ hosted by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, South Korea
November, 2003: participated in the academic conference on ‘New Views on Eurasian Archaeology’ hosted by Far Eastern Museum in Stockholm, Sweden
August, 2002: visiting professor at the National Historical and Natural Museum in Paris, France
August, 2002: participated in the ninth meeting of International Council of Archaeozoology at Durham University, UK
October of 1999-September of 2000: visiting professor at Chiba National Museum of History and Folk, Japan
August, 1998: joined in the eighth meeting of International Council of Archaeozoology at Victoria University, Canada
He also has participated international meetings and given lectures at Arts School of Tokyo University, Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies at Kyashu University, Arts School of Ibaraki University, Arts School of National College University, National Museum of History and Fork, National Institute of Synthetical Environment, International Research Center of Japanese Culture, Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute, Research Center of the Silk Road, and Doigahama Anthropological Museum.
Main Research Achievement
1999: Environmental Archaeology at Shell Midden Sites in Jiaodong Peninsula, Beijing: Shehuikexue wenxian chubanshe.
This book fills up a gap in investigating the relationship between human and environment in ancient times in coastal regions in mainland China. It puts forward the new points on the research aim, theory, objects and methods of environmental archaeology, the correlation between human and natural environment in ancient times in Jiaodong Peninsula, the comparative research on shell midden sites in coastal regions in mainland, as well as the rule of human adapting and influencing environment in past times in coastal regions in eastern Asia.
This book won the second-class award of the 4th Outstanding Research Award of the CASS, the award of of the 4th Outstanding Research Award of Chinese Council of Environmental Archaeology and the award of 2001 Excellent Research of the IACASS.
1999: “Discussion on the mode of exploiting meat resources for Chinese Neolithic residents”. Kaogu Xuebao 1
This paper firstly ascertains the quantifying principle of applying the minimum number of individual (MNI) and the number of identification specimens (NISP), and qualitatively and quantitatively analyses faunal remains from 54 Neolithic sites in China. It then summarizes three types of meat resources exploiture for Chinese Neolithic residents including the reliant type, elementary exploitation type and exploitation type, and establishes the evolutional mode of meat resources exploiture for Chinese Neolithic residents. This paper puts forward a passive evolutional theory about the mode of meat resources exploiture in human past.
This paper won the award of Excellent Research of the IACASS.
2002: Pig domestication in ancient China. Antiquity vol. 76
This paper argues that the earliest domesticated pigs in China were derived form the Cishan site around 8000 BP. The emergence of domesticated pigs is later about thousands of years than the crops domestication and ceramic manufacture. The origin of domestic pigs is possibly related to the lack of meat resources derived from hunting, the existence of boars around sites, and the success of crop domestication techniques such as planting, management, and harvest. Pigs have all the time been the most important domestic animals in Chinese history through thousands of years. Based on quantitative analyses of faunal remains from ancient sites in the Yellow River valley, there is a tendency that the proportion of domestic animals represented by pigs increased through time, while the proportion of wild animals represented by deer decreased. This is the evidence that human beings have gradually improved the living capacity. There is an identity in the world about this evaluative tend.
This paper won the third-class award of the 5th Outstanding Research Award of the CASS, the 2003 award of Excellent Research of the IACASS.
Moreover, he participated in the edition of two archaeological reports-Shell midden site at Oshita and Shell midden site at Hazama. He has published more than 60 papers in Kaoguxuebao, Kaogu, Wenwu, Archaeology Quarterly (Japanese journal), Hakoukenkyu((Japanese journal), Journal of East Asia Archaeology, Achaefauna and so on in Chinese, Japanese and English.
Main Research Directions
Application of natural sciences and technologies in archaeology.
The relationship between human beings and environment.
The relationship between human beings and animals.
The study of the relationship between human beings and environment at shell midden sites in Jiaodong Peninsula (National Fund of Social Sciences, head of this project)
Environmental archaeology at shell midden sites in Jiaodong Peninsula (main project of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, head of this project)
Preliminary research on the Project of Exploring Chinese Civilization (project of Ministry of Sciences and Technologies, head of the sub-project of environmental archaeology)
The origins and development of Chinese agriculture, domestic animals and pottery (National Fund of Natural Sciences, head of this project)
The study of Chinese ancient domestic pigs (main project of Institute of Archaeology, head of this project)
The comparative DNA study of Sina-Japanese ancient domestic dogs (collaborative project between IACASS and Obihiro university of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Japan, head of this project in China)
Methods and techniques of Chinese archaeology (A category in important projects of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, head of this project)
Technological archaeology (main subjects of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, head of this project)
Sub-project of the Project of Exploring Chinese Civilization-The relationship between the development of economic technology and the evolution of civilization in Central Plain during 2500-1500 BC (project of Ministry of Sciences and Technologies, head of the sub-project of environmental archaeology)
The comparative DNA study of Sina-Japanese ancient domestic pigs (collaborative project between IACASS and Obihiro university of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan, head of this project in China)
The study of Chinese ancient domestic pigs (collaborative project between IACASS and Durham University, UK, head of this project in China)
The study of Neolithic domestic pigs in Inner Mongolia, China (collaborative project between IACASS and National Museum of Historical Folk, head of this project in China)
Appraised as ‘Prominent Contributive Middle/Youth-Aged Specialists’ by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1998
Environmental Archaeology at Shell Midden Sites in Jiaodong Peninsula won the second-class award of 4th Outstanding Research Award of the CASS, the award of the 4th Outstanding Research Award of Chinese Council of Environmental Archaeology and the award of 2001 Excellent Research of the IACASS.
Named as ‘National Advanced Individuals With Overseas Study Experience’ by six ministries in 2003.
Pig domestication in ancient China won the third-class award of 5th Outstanding Research Award of the CASS in 2004.
Mengcheng Yuchisi (one of the authors of the book) won the second-class award of the 5th Outstanding Research Award of the CASS in 2004.
‘Excavations at the Zengpiyan site in Guilin, Guangxi’ (Yuan is one of the excavators) won the second-class award of the 2001-2002 Fieldwork Award of the National Administrative Bureau of Cultural Relics in 2004.
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Mail Address: No. 27 Wangfujing Street, Beijing, 100710, Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences