On 4th, December 2012, the Forum on Chinese Frontier Archaeology was held by the Institute of Archaeology, CASS in Beijing. About 30 Scholars from Institute of Archaeology, Beijing University, Renmin University of China and other institutes and universities attended the forum. It attracted nearly 100 audiences and presses including People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Guangming Daily, Chinese Cultural Relics News and many graduate students from universities.
Professor Wang Wei, the director of the Institute of Archaeology, delivered the opening speech. He stressed the importance of Chinese frontier archaeology, and mentioned that the frontier archaeologists require much wide vision and various specific skills.
Mr. Li Yuqun and Mr. Cong Dexin hosted the first panel.
Mr. Cong Dexin made an introduction to his excavation achievements at the Adunqiaolu site in Wenquan county, Xinjiang. Stone-slab tombs and stone-built houses have been found, which yield various burial objects and living utensils, providing important materials to reconstruct the life of localities in 4000 BP.
Mr. Guo Wu made a speech on his excavation to the Sanhaizi site in Qinghe, Xinjiang. The tomb has the greatest stone-piled mound in Eurasia steppe. Many stone inscribed with deer designs and shield-shaped stone slabs were unearthed. The site could be a ritual center of the nomadic kingdom from the first millennium BC.
Mr. Wu Xinhua presented his new important discoveries at the Quman cemetery in Pamir region in Xinjiang. Much evidence from the cemeteries such as massive white and black pebbles on tombs’ surface and wooden fire containers found in tombs supports that the tomb occupants from 2500 BP were Zoroastrianism believers.
Mr. Li Yuqun gave a speech on the achievements in the Tuyugou grottoes in Turfan, Xinjiang. Archaeologists disclosed over ten Buddhist caves and found a stupa with a dome and a rectangular base, which was the first find of this kind in Turfan. The stupa was in early types from the 3rd to 4th centuries. It provides important materials for studying the Buddhism history in Turfan.
Mr. Liu Guoxiang made an introduction to the excavation to the Xieertala cemetery and the Ganga cemetery. Three tombs from the Xieertala cemetery dating back to the 9th -10th century have been wholly moved into labs for detailed indoors excavation and analysis. In the Ganga cemetery many coffins made of single wood trunks have been found, which is the largest cemetery of this kind in the Hulunbuir Pasture Land. The tombs occupants are believed to be the early Mongolians.
Mr. Tong Tao made a report on the excavation to the Gurugym cemetery and the Quta cemetery in Ngari, Tibet. In this excavation season many tombs and house foundations have been found in both cemeteries. A great deal of human and animal bones was uncovered. Some tombs with sacrificial pits prove that human sacrifice was very prevalent in 1800 year ago. Many burial objects such as the golden mask, painted potteries and iron objects show their cultural connection with neighboring Himalaya regions and south Xinjiang, providing important materials for researching the early Tibet culture.
The second panel hosted by Mr. Liu Guoxiang and Mr. Wu Xinhua focused on the discussion on the six speeches, and the methods, theories, aims and significance of the frontier archaeology. Mr. Meng Fanren, Mr. Wang Renxiang and Mr. Wei Jian and scholars from various fields expressed their views from different perspectives. The achievements of the six discoveries were fully affirmed; however much further work is needed. Some questions related to the cultural ascriptions, dating and function of the new findings, even the name of frontier archaeology, were fully debated. (Translator: Tong Tao)