In the early spring of 2012, just as the beginning of the Chinese Dragon Year,scholars from UK, France and Germany academically visited the scientific archaeology center, Institute of Archaeology of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IACASS). As part of the European-Chinese Bioarchaeology Collaboration (EUCH BIOARCH), this visit aims to improve the cooperative study on specific topics, and to further promote cooperation between China and Europe.
Wang Wei, director of IACASS, and Chen Xingcan, deputy director, met the visiting scholars to say welcome and hoped to further strengthen the cooperation between China and Europe and to conduct research on the topics which both sides are interested in.
Professor Yuan Jing,head of the scientific archaeology center of IACASS, conducted the academic discussion which Dr. Li Zhipeng and Lu Peng, from the same department as Professor Yuan Jing, Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne and Dr. Thomas Cucchi, from the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), Professor Keith Dobney, from University of Aberdeen, and Dr. Joris Peters, from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, attended. They exchanged their academic opinions on the remains of ancient cattle, sheep and goats which were excavated from the sites in northwest China, the relationship between rats and the origin of agriculture, the origins of the domestic cat and chicken and routes of transmission in China. They reached a consensus on the cooperation on the researches on these animals in China. In addition, both sides exchanges views on the cooperation in the field of archaeological research and exchange of graduate student. Visiting scholars also visited the DNA laboratory, ICP-MS laboratory, and other laboratories which are newly built and put into use, and observed the living animal specimens and archaeological animal remains which are preserved in the scientific archaeology center, IACASS.
From February 2 to February 5, Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne and Dr. Thomas Cucchi visited the Jiahu Site and Yinxu Site, by accompany of Dr. Li Zhipeng and You Yue, the Ph.D. Candidate of Graduate School of CASS. Professor Zhang Juzhong, of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and the excavator of Jiahu Site, introduced the excavations at the site. French scholars examined the landscape of the site, the layout and unearthed relics. They also surveyed the local cattle breeding of Wuyang County. In recent years, CASS and MNHN co-researched on the pig and rat using geometric method, and confirmed that the pig from Jiahu Site is the earliest domestic pig in China which has the scientific evidence. They also visited the Yinxu Site, and were interested in the animal remains and aggregate from workshops. The French scholars said that, through this visit, they deeply realized the importance of Chinese Bronze Civilization and Yinxu Site in the world.
On February 7, Dr. Thomas Cucchi and Professor Keith Dobney visited Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, by accompany of Dr. Lu Peng. They observed and recorded the wild boar specimens from south China with the hope to explore the morphometric evidence to identify the pig and wild boar specimens from the sites in the south of China.
From February 8 to February 11, Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne, Dr. Thomas Cucchi, and Dr. Joris Peters paid a short visit to Xi’an City, by accompany of Dr. Lu Peng and Li Yue, who is the Ph.D. Candidate of Northwest University of China. After visiting the Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors, Banpo Museum and Yangling Museum, they academically visited the Jingwei Scientific Research Base of Shaanxi archaeological Research Institute. Professor Hu Songmei, who has long been engaged in the zooarchaeological research, showed them the new progress of the zooarchaeological research in Shaanxi Province. Dr. Jean-Denis Vigne identified and preliminary analyzed the cat remains from Wuzhuangguoliang Site and proposed that the brain capacity and the measuring data can be used to identify whether the cat is domesticated or not. Dr. Thomas Cucchi put forward suggestion that morphometric analysis can be used to research the rats excavated from Wuzhuangguoliang Site and Quanhucun Site. Dr Joris Peters identified the birds’ remains and introduced the key points to identify the birds’ species. Scholars also examined the donkey remain which extracted from Xinjie Site. They thought that the donkey had been domesticated and the period should be checked by the radiocarbon dating.
The researchers who attended this academic exchange also included: Professor Zhang Xuelian, Associate Professor Wang Zenglin, Dr. Zhao Chunyan, Associate Professor Wang Minghui, and Research Assistant Yang Mengfei, from the scientific archaeology center of IACASS, Ph.D. Candidate Liu Yuyang, from Graduate School of CASS, Ph.D. Candidate Deng Hui, from Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Ph.D. Candidate Yu Chong, from University of Aberdeen.
The academic visit of the scholars from UK, France and Germany enhanced the zooarchaeological cooperation and communication between China and European, reached consensus on many topics, promoted the EUCH BIOARCH forward and wrote a new chapter on the zooarchaeological research between China and Europe.