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HomeSpecial Events“Archaeology in China and the World: Past, Present and Prospects” International Symposium
List of Paper Abstracts
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2010-07-23

 

Reconstruction of the Former Imperial Audience Hall, the Nara Palace Site, Japan
Ikuo Tanabe (Director General, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)


Background: Research and conservation of the Nara Palace Site
The Nara was the capital city of ancient Japan, in the period between AD 710 and AD 784. The city has been abandoned and buried under paddy field for more than one thousand years.
Study for the Nara ancient capital has been started since the middle 19th century. In 1852, the first reconstruction plan for the city and palace was drawn.
In the late 19th century, further researches have been done. Public movement for conservation of the site has begun.
In 1922, the central part of the Nara Palace Site was designated as a national historic site, and was reserved and protected by law.
By the 1970s, almost entire part of the Nara Palace Site has been preserved, supported by national-wide public movement.
Archaeological excavation by Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
The Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has conducted archaeological excavation at the Nara Palace Site on a continual basis since 1959.
During the decades of the investigation, we uncovered the extent of the palace site and the changing of the central part of the palace. We also obtained various kinds of artifacts unearthed from the site. Above all, an enormous collection of mokkan (wooden writing tablets) recovered from the site is an important source for historical study.
Master plan for site museum at the Nara Palace Site and reconstruction of the Former Imperial Audience Hall
Master plan for the site museum at the Nara Palace Site was developed in 1978. Based on the plan, the operations for site management have been launched.
Full-scale restorations of the Ministry of Imperial Household compound, the Suzaku Gate, the East Palace Garden, and the Former Imperial Audience Hall have been carried out, for presentation of the images of the lost ancient capital to the public. The completion of the Former Imperial Audience Hall was the first goal for the series of operations.
Significance of the reconstruction of the Former Imperial Audience Hall
The reconstruction of the Former Imperial Audience Hall was a monumental work by the activities for the research and conservation of the Nara Palace Site and the ancient city of Nara, conducted by various individuals and organizations including researchers, citizens, and financial, political, and administrative circles for more than 150 years.
This is one model case in Japan initiating a principle on management of archaeological site from investigation to conservation.

New Data and Issues for the Study of the Origins of Agriculture in China
Zhijun Zhao (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


ABSTRACT: In the past ten years, flotation techniques have been introduced and implemented in Chinese archaeology. As a result, a tremendous quantity of plant remains have been recovered from archaeological sites located all over China. These plant remains include crops which might have been domesticated in China, such as rice, foxtail millet, broomcorn millet, and soybean, as well as crops which were introduced into China from other parts of world, such as wheat and barley. The new archaeobotanic data provide direct archaeological evidence for the study of the origins and development of agriculture in China. This paper attempts a synthesis of these new archaeobotanic data, while presenting some new ideas about the origins and development of ancient agriculture in China, including the rice agriculture tradition which originated around the middle and lower Yangze River areas, the dry-land agriculture tradition with millets as major crops centered in North China, and the ancient tropical agriculture tradition located in the tropical parts of China where the major crops seem to be roots and tubers, such as yam.

The Role of Miniature Vessels in the Tombs of the Rui, Jin and Guo States (c. 900-650BC)
Jessica Rawson (Oxford University, UK)


During the Middle to late Western Zhou down to the Spring and Autumn Period, a strong tradition ensured the burial in elite tombs of sets of bronze vessels and bells employed in the ritual offerings to the ancestors. At the same time, miniature bronze containers were also placed alongside the full-sized vessels in some of these graves. These vessels were not only small, but also functionless in a practical sense: they were often open at the base and thus unable to hold food or liquids; the lids might be cast with the body of the bronze and could not be lifted off; the quality of casting was very poor.
Most importantly, quite a number (though not all) of the miniatures were in unusual shapes and did not follow those employed for the larger bronzes. The full-sized pieces consisted of the vessels types made popular, or even mandatory, after the Ritual Reform of the mid ninth century. The miniatures, by contrast, were often made in one of two categories: they were either cast as replicas of much earlier vessel types used prior to the Ritual Reform, or as small bronzes of unusual shapes, such as cauldrons or rectangular box-shaped containers, that appear to have been employed by the mobile neighbours of the Zhou state.
While this latter type of bronze was especially characteristic of the Rui and Jin states (and some even occur in the Qin state area), the replica copies of early Zhou vessels are also found in the Guo state. The Rui state tombs are particularly interesting. Tomb M26, a burial of a woman, has a very complete group of six pieces, all of which make some reference to connections with peoples of the borders. The tomb of the lord, meanwhile, contains a highly unusual group of bronzes that appear to date to the early Western Zhou. Their appearance is as bronzes of that date, being also of full size. But these pieces also raise some interesting questions. The paper will discuss these particular groups and will also consider the effects and impacts of the complex references to other places and times that these miniature bronzes appear to suggest.

Retrospect and Prospect of Southeast Asian Archaeology
Cheng-hwa Tsang (Institute of History and Philology, Taiwan)


Abstract: Although it has been over one hundred years since the appearance of the first formal archaeological report, the developmental process of archaeology in Southeast Asia is fairly slow as comparing with some other parts of the world. In addition, most of the archaeological works in Southeast Asia were in the hands of the westerners, the indigenous archaeological research only began to appear until the 1980s. Late development as it is, but the data yield from Southeast Asian archaeology is an indispensable part in the studies of ancient human history.
In this essay, I will make a brief review on the development of Southeast Asian Archaeology and discuss the current status and the future prospects of a few important topics, including: 1) The discoveries of early hominids in Southeast Asia, 2) The stone tool industries during the Pleistocene epoch of Southeast Asia, 3) The emergence of domestic plants in Southeast Asia, 4) The origin and development of bronze industries in Southeast Asia, 5) The origins and dispersal of Asutronesian-speaking people, 6) The emergence of complex societies in Southeast Asia.

The Eurasian Steppe Belt: A Bridge between the West and the East
Professor Evgeny Nikolaevich Chernykh (Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences)


1. European historians and archaeologists maintain a traditional paradigm that in the Eurasian continent the East lies right across the border of Europe, a region which is in fact known as the West.  Thus, they distinguish the regions of the Near East (Palestine, Mesopotamia) and Middle East (Iran).  China and other neighboring regions constitute the Far East. This structure, however, appears in many ways to be illogical from the perspective of both geo-ecological and principal socio-cultural factors related to it.  Essentially, both the Near East and Middle East form part of the Western world of Eurasia, while the cultures of China and neighboring regions are part of the Eastern world. Both worlds appear to have been isolated from each other during the past millennia, beginning with the final Paleolithic period.  The Steppe Belt then has become the bridge between these two worlds during the given historical period.
2. Geo-ecological phenomena of the Steppe Belt (SB) and its structure:
1) Its meridian length is around 8,000 km, from the Carpathians and Black Sea in the west to the Yellow Sea in the east; 2) Its overall dimension is up to 8,000,000 km2; 3) It is divided into two basic, roughly equal halves - eastern and western (up to 4,000,000 km2 each); 4) The so-called Dzhungar Pass, a deep depression between the Tianshan and Sayano-Altai Mountains, or more precisely “watershed”, lies between the two worlds of the Steppe Belt.  We should note that today this pass is the very juncture of the borders of four states: China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
3.  The Steppe Belt was the domain of mobile (nomadic and semi-nomadic) stockbreeding cultures. The domestication of horses and the rapid development of horse riding (early cavalry) led to a quantum leap in their development transforming their influence on world history. The earliest evidence, although indirect, of horse riding dates back to 5000 BCE. However, it was only between the third and second millennium BCE that the dominion of the stockbreeding and horse-riding cultures appeared all over the Steppe Belt. 
4. The first horse-riding mobile steppe societies that spread through the Volga to the east were cultures of the northern Black Sea (5000 BCE). Later in the fourth and third millennium BCE, we propose, the northern Black Sea kurgan stockbreeding cultures actively expanded to the eastern Urals and to the Ob’ basin in Siberia. Isolated traces of these western pastoral tribes have been found in the Altai.
5. At the turn of the third and second millennium BC, stockbreeding cultures of the Steppe Belt began to play the role of “bridge” between the western and eastern worlds. The most striking evidence of this penetration, which appears to proceed from East to West, was linked with the distinctive sites of the Seima-Turbino transcultural phenomenon.  Characteristic forms of Seima-Turbino bronze tools and weapons spread rapidly from North China all the way to the Eastern Baltic Sea.
6. From this time on the interaction and deep penetration of cultures of the western and eastern worlds occurred in an oscillating and fluctuating manner.  The end of the second millennium BC saw the marked pressure of western cultures when their features found their way to the east of the Dzhungar Pass. The most outstanding event of the first millennium BC was the formation in the western half of the Steppe Belt of the gigantic group of cultures of the Scytho-Savromatian and Sakas type. Their sites have been found to the east of the Mongolian Altai. From the beginning of the Great Migration Period in the first millennium AD, sudden emergence of the Huns led to the appearance of many mounted armies in many regions of Europe far as today’s France.
7. Without doubt, the most unforgettable event in the history of most Eurasian peoples was the conquest of Genghis Khan and his successors. The Great Mongolian Empire did not last long (13th-14th centuries), but it appeared to be both the “finest hour” and “swan songs” of the steppe nomadic cultures. The pressure of western impulses once again grew after the collapse of this giant.
8. Nearly everywhere the raids and conquests of the mounted steppe riders over their southern neighbors -- peoples with sedentary and agricultural cultures -- were considered calamitous, tragic, and catastrophic. It is difficult to dispute this, but in the meantime, willingly or unwillingly, the herders of the eastern or western halves of the Steppe Belt served as the bridge between them, as a consequence of which information of the worlds of the East and West, which earlier was unknown to each other, was disseminated across Eurasia.  Such a lovely subject for today’s top managers of the Great Silk Road from East to West, if it really existed, had little significance:  its realization was possible only during relatively militarily and politically peaceful periods in the territory of the Steppe Belt. 
Relationship between Hoa Binh- Bac Son Cultures and early Neolithic Culture of Southern China
Prof. Dr. Trinh Nang Chung and Dr. Nguyen Quang Mien (Vietnam Institute of Archaeology)
On the basis of the comparison of characteristics of Hoa Binh, Bac Son cultures and the current archaeological data of early Neolithic in Southern China, we states close characteristics of the cultures and the cultural relationships between the two regions.
From the analysis of characteristics and trend of development of the culture of pebble flaking industry of southern China in the dawn of Neolithic, we thinks that there are similar characteristics of settlement culture, burial culture and modes of economic and living activities though, the basic characteristics of the pebble cultures of Hoa Binh and Bac Son are not clear in early Neolithic sites in southern China. We also mention the similar factors due to natural conditions or level of techniques and those common factors formed by social contact.
Although the existing data do not provide any obvious pictures of Hoa Binh and Bac Son cultures in southern China, it is possible to affirm that there is a certain relationship between the inhabitants of Hoa Binh and Bac Son cultures and those of Neolithic sites in southern China.  Having together lived in common vase ecological environment, they shared their benefits from hunting and gathering, forming a similar Hoa Binh and Bac Son mode of living. The regular contact among those groups of inhabitants left close cultural factors for their cultural treasures.

 

The Discovery and Preliminary Understanding of Lijiagou Site in Xinmi City

Wang Youping (School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University)


In autumn 2009 and spring 2010, two terms of cooperative excavations were conducted to Lijiagou Site in Xinmi City, Henan Province by School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University and Zhengzhou Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. The excavations recovered the continuous deposits from the end of Paleolithic Age to the early Neolithic Age, revealed the artificial remains of different stages from the end of Paleolithic Age to the early Neolithic Age and unearthed numerous stone implements, potteries and animal bones.
Lijiagou Site is at the east foot of Mount Song and located on the secondary terrace at the upper reach of Zhenshui River belonging to the drainage system of Huai River. The newly found stratigraphic sections at this site, which included the superimposing cultural layers from the end of Paleolithic Age to the early Neolithic Age, provided reliable stratigraphic references for searching the cultural remains in the transformational stage in the Central Plains and nearby regions. The new type of cultural remains represented by the sandy pottery wares with impressed patterns and legless board-shaped grindstones found in the dark loessial soil layers filled the gap between Peiligang Culture and the late Paleolithic cultures in the Central Plains. In the Microlithic layers of the end of Paleolithic Age, partly polished stone implements, potshards and numerous artificially moved stone blocks were found, which provided important clues for exploring the origins of the Neolithic cultures in the Central Plains. Generally, the new discoveries in Lijiagou Site reflected the important information about the transformation from Paleolithic Age to Neolithic Age in the aspects of stratigraphic deposits, implement assemblages, residential pattern and subsistence types, and so on, and demonstrated the progress of the prehistoric people gradually evolving from the Paleolithic Age with mobile life supported by hunting large herbivorous animals to the Neolithic Age with relatively sedentary life.

Isotopic studies of diet in Paleolithic and Neolithic China
M. P. Richards 1,2, Yaowu Hu3, Guo Yi2,3, Changsui Wang3
1 Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2 Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
3 Department of Scientific History and Archaeometry, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, P.R. China


In this paper we present the results of our research into reconstructing diet in China in the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods using isotope analysis of human and animal bone collagen (carbon, nitrogen and sulfur). We first present the isotope results from the Tianyuan 1 human from the Tianyaun Paleolithic site, and compare the results to isotope results obtained on humans from similar aged sites in Europe. We will then discuss our research into the importance of millet and rice in the Neolithic of central China, including data from the sites of Xiaojingshan and Qinglongquan.

Isotopes and Paleo-diet at Anyang, China
Brian Chisholm, Jigen Tang and Zhichun Jing


We report on a pilot study to test the utility of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic analysis for determining aspects of paleo-diet in the Anyang region of China.  We are interested in determining the extent to which C4 plants, particularly millets, were important in the local Late Shang Period diet.  Determination of status and gender differences in diet is another goal of the study. If differences occurred in the individuals’ diets it is also possible that they could relate to immigration to the region.

Zooarchaeological study on the domestic animals in ancient China
Yuan Jing (The Center of Archaeological Science, Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


The methods of identification of domestic animals includes morphological measurements, pathologies, age structures, sexual characteristics, ratios of quantity, archaeological contexts, diet analysis and DNA research. The domestic animals appeared in China at different time and in different areas. Based on zooarchaeological data known today, the earliest domestic dog was found from the Nanzhuangtou site, dated to about 10000 BP, located in the Xushui County, Hebei Province, based on the study of morphological measurements. The earliest domestic pig was found from the Jiahu site, dated to about 9000 BP, located in Wuyang County, Henan Province, based on the study of morphological measurements, pathologies, age structures, ratios of quantity, as well as archaeological contexts. The earliest sheep was found from the sites dated to about 5000 BP, based on the study of archaeological contexts, such as the Shizhaocun site of Tianshui City, Gansu Province and the Hetaozhuang site of Minhe County, Qinghai Province. The earliest domestic cattle was found from the sites dated to about 4000 BP, based on the study of morphological measurements, ratios of quantity, as well as archaeological contexts, such as the Shantaisi site of Zhecheng County and the Pingliangtai site of Huaiyang City, Henan Province. The earliest domestic goat was found from the Erlitou site, dated to about 3700 BP, located in Yanshi City, Henan Province, based on the study of morphological measurements and ratios of quantity. The earliest domestic horse was found from the Dahezhuang site and the Qinweijia site, dated to about 3700 BP, located in Yongjing County, Gansu Province, based on the study of archaeological contexts. The earliest domestic chicken was found from the Dadianzi site, dated to 3600 BP, located in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia, based on the study of archaeological contexts. The domestic animals in China were originated from two ways, domesticated in China and introduced from other areas through cultural contact.

Integrating Ancient DNA and Archaeology
Dongya Yang1 and Camilla F. Speller1, 2
1 Ancient DNA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Canada
2 Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Canada


Ancient DNA analysis of archaeological human, animal and plant remains has become an important research endeavor due to its great potential to generate important insights for archaeological studies. As a new research approach, it has passed its “testing” stage, and is now making more and more meaningful contributions to archaeology. The key to successful applications of ancient DNA analysis is to integrate ancient DNA with archaeology throughout the whole research process: starting from initial sample selections, through to the design of blind-tests for DNA data authentication, the interpretation of DNA data within archaeological contexts, and the synthesis of other lines of evidence. We emphasize that extensive and intensive archaeological studies over the past century, especially over the past 60 years in China have laid solid foundations for launching ancient DNA studies in Chinese archaeology. It is expected that ancient DNA analysis will play more and more important roles in Chinese archaeology, assisting in addressing many important research topics such as the emergence of agriculture, animal domestication, plant cultivation, the development of civilization, and trade and exchange regions.

Ancient DNA investigations of animal domestication: a case study from North America with implications for Chinese archaeology
Camilla F. Speller1, 2 and Dongya Yang1
1 Ancient DNA Laboratory, Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Canada
2 Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Canada)


The origin and diffusion of domesticated animals worldwide has long been a focus of archaeological research. Recently, there has been renewed interest in documenting the origins and process of animal domestication by integrating multiple lines of evidence, specifically archaeological, morphological, and genetic markers. Through a brief case study of turkey domestication in North America, we will highlight how the combination of new ancient DNA techniques with traditional morphological analysis can reveal the origins of domestic breeds, the number of domestication events, the exploitation of wild stocks, and hybridizations between wild and domestic populations. As China has long been considered a major early centre of animal domestication, we highlight the great potential of ancient DNA analysis to further elucidate the history of important Chinese domestic animals.

Chinese Archaeology at La Trobe University: Past, Present and Future
Timothy Murray (Archaeology Program, School of Historical and European Studies, La Trobe University, Australia)


My goal in this short paper is to review the place of Chinese archaeology within the teaching and research profile of the Archaeology Program at La Trobe University. In recent years the archaeology of ancient China has had an increased profile in Australian universities and there is an increasing number of Chinese-speakers graduating to University which should assist the next phase of development (where numbers of non-Chinese students significantly increase) in Australia. I will briefly review our strategies for achieving an enhanced importance for Chinese archaeology at La Trobe University.

The Practice of Systematic Surface Sampling in Guicheng Archaeology
Li Feng (Columbia University); Liang Zhonghe (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


Abstract: The Guicheng Archaeological Project was established in 2006 as a field collaboration between Columbia University, the Institute of Archaeology (CASS), and the Shandong Provincial Institute of Archaeology. From 2007 to 2009, we have systematically surveyed and mapped the entire city-complex and cored its central citadel. In Guicheng archaeology, we have modified methods developed in regional-scale survey projects for the purpose of more intensive coverage of a large site of 8 km². The new survey method, which we call “Systematic Surface Sampling,” was designed to study the history of human occupation and activity within the city, as well as the effects of human activity and natural processes on the formation of the site. It allowed us to map the continuous distribution of ceramic shards across the entire site area with very high resolution. In the survey process, we have collected shards at more than 15,000 points, and the following GIS analysis of the survey data identified a number of high concentrations of human activity within the boundary of the Guicheng city. Further comparison with the underground structures revealed by systematic coring suggests correspondences between the two sets of data, and the consideration of the landscape of the surveyed area adds yet another dimension to the interpretation of the site.

Status and Problems of Korea-China Cultural Exchange in Archeology
Shin Yong Min (Foundation of East Asia Cultural Properties Institute of Korea)


1. Introduction
First of all, I congratulate your 60th anniversary of establishment. I appreciate Director Wang Wei and all the staff for giving me an opportunity of presentation in this International Academic Council for the 60th anniversary of your establishment. We, the Foundation of East Asia Cultural Properties Institute, and the Institute of Archeology Chinese Academy of Social Sciences concluded an agreement in academic exchange on April, 2007, and have performed academic exchanges on a regular basis with personal exchanges.
Ten years have been passed since the beginning of the 21st century. For responding to this period, I would like to briefly present my point of view on measures for developing both Chinese and Korean archeology based on the Institute of Archeology.
2. Status before 1990s
Before the diplomatic ties between Korea and China in 1992, it is safe to say that had been no academic or cultural exchanges between the two countries. Most of exchanges had been data exchanges through another nations such as America or Japan, or had been limited and one-time in various academic councils. Many journals or reports of excavation within China could not be received or were limited to a few researchers. Even the representative academic journals of China, Kau Gu Xue Bao(考古學報), Kau Gu(考古), and Wen Wu(文物), were allowed to be received in Korea as a photoprint. Reports of excavation published within China could only be photoprinted from the books sold by Japanese researchers or be approached indirectly from articles in which Japanese researchers cited such reports. In other words, it can be said that archeological exchanges between Korea and China had not been conducted practically before 1990s. Also, China could accept Korea-related data only through North Korea or Japanese researchers.
3. Status since 1990s
In 1990s, in particular after the diplomatic ties between the two countries, rapid progress in such exchanges has been done. First, personal exchanges were opened: many students went to China for studying, and many of them learned various researches of China in master's or doctorate courses of the foremost Chinese universities and have been contributing to academic exchanges between the two countries in Korea after homecoming. In addition, under the active support of the two governments, exhibitions of cultural exchanges with China have been in many Korean cities made the masses rapidly understand Chinese culture. As tourism between the two countries was generalized, political severance between the two countries could be offset with coming and goings of the two peoples.
As of today, around twenty Koreans received doctorates in archeology in China, and they are playing important roles in universities or research institutes in Korea. They are trying to reinforce academic bonds between the two countries by inviting Chinese researchers or participating in various academic meetings in China. It was predominant that Korean students went to China for studying between 1990s and early 2000s, but since late 2000s, more and more Chinese students have come to Korea to understand Korean culture. Nowadays many Chinese researchers of archeology are staying in Korean universities and various institutes for short or long term to actively approach to understanding Korean archeology and to participate in excavation.
Also, agreements of academic exchanges between universities and researches institutes of the two countries have been concluded, and consistent, systematic personal and material exchanges are being at an early stage. Furthermore, various journals or reports of excavation published within China are being purchased in Korea without delay for receiving information.
4. Problems in Future
Still, there are some problems to solve in these exchanges.
1. The first problem is to expand personal exchanges. Given that recent tendency in research requires various, detailed data as studies in archeology are ramified, one-time or personal exchanges of today are insufficient in satisfying knowledge level for the 21st century. Therefore, measures for expanding personal exchanges can be presented as follows.
First, it is needed to conduct exchanges between the two countries under mutual equality. Recently several conditions of Korea and China are being improved, and in this context, I hope that academic exchanges will be performed, expanded, and activated under the mutually equal conditions and qualification.
Second, it is needed to conduct middle- or long-term academic activities with common subjects. As of now, China is being conducting such researches with other nations, but failing to establish concrete plans with Korea. Although exchanges between government agencies of the two countries are realized on a detailed basis, several circumstances have not been achieved for exchanges between private research institutes. Systematic approaches are required when differences in standpoints of the two nations are considered.
Presently few archeology departments in Chinese universities have lectures of or study archeological knowledge related to Korea. As archeological excavation is on the increase in Korea recently, various archeological data related to China are also enhanced. However, interpretation and knowledge of the data cannot catch up with the increase in the data, and there are limitations in such interpretation and research. Therefore, it is needed to increase both the number of researchers in Korea who will study Chinese archeology and the number of researchers in China who will study China-related data excavated and investigated within Korea.
2. Relevant data should be opened and exchanged. It is a problem that should be approached cautiously because it is associated with domestic circumstances of China. As of today, diversified primary data excavated and investigated within China have been published in various Chinese academic journals, but it is sometimes difficult to approach to such data. China is a huge nation, and thus data presented for a year are enormous. However, most of the data are not reported satisfactorily. In order to prevent loss of such data, it may be urgent that exclusive windows for search and approach to excavated data are opened.
3. It is needed to expand and open archeological data through on-line system. As for a basic suggestion to solve the above-mentioned problems, it may be urgent that online networks should be provided connecting your institute with other institutes of archeology in each Prefecture and other sub-agencies. When data can be read online and consequently approaches to information are improved, such circumstances can be helpful to interpret various archeological data and to conduct unified, composite researches.

The New Achievements of the Large Site Archaeology in the Imperial Mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty (Abstract)
Jiao Nanfeng (Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology)


In recent years, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology fulfilled the archaeological surveys and explorations to the Maoling, Kangling, Weiling, Anling and Yiling Mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty and the “Zhou Mausoleums” with the “omnibearing investigation, large-scale general coring, detailed coring to key areas, trial excavation to key localities, high-precision surveying and mapping and material datamation” working procedure.
1. We clarified the precinct, the mausoleum town, attendant tombs and the cemetery of the mausoleum-building laborers of Maoling Mausoleum. 400 outer burial pits, 14 architectural remains and over 50 attendant tombs are found.
2. We confirmed the shapes of the mausoleums of Emperor Pingdi and Empress Wang, clarified the scope of Kangling Mausoleum precinct consisting of the mausoleums of Emperor Pingdi and Empress Wang, within which we discovered 18 architectural remains and seven outer burial pits.
3. We detected four layers of enclosing walls at Weiling Mausoleum precinct (the ones surrounding mausoleums of Emperor Yuandi and Empress Wang separately and two layers of walls enclosing these two mausoleum yards), six architectural remains, 26 outer burial pits and over 80 attendant tombs.
4. At Emperor Huidi’s Anling Mausoleum, we detected the rammed-earth walls of the mausoleum yard and the site of the east gate, and clarified 18 architectural remains and 90 outer burial pits.
5. We preliminarily clarified the scopes of Yiling Mausoleum of Emperor Aidi, including the Emperor’s mausoleum yard and the entire mausoleum precinct, within which five architectural remains, 17 outer burial pits and 77 small-sized tombs of the Qin State in the Warring-States Period were discovered.
6. We clarified the shapes of the inner and outer mausoleum yards and the grave of the so-called “Mausoleum of the Zhou Dynasty”, and found six architectural remains, 27 outer burial pits and 161 attendant tombs, by which we confirmed that this was actually a mausoleum precinct of the monarchs of the Qin State in the Warring-States Period.
The new achievements of the fieldwork to the imperial mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty laid firm foundation for further researches on the imperial burial systems of the Western Han and even the whole ancient China, provided detailed data for the preservation and utilization of large sites and got multiple effects of research, conservation and utilization.

Cemetery Gol Mod-2, Tomb 1 Complex, in Mongolia
D. Erdenebaatar (Ulaanbaatar State University of the Mongolia, sity Ulaanbaatar)


Khanuy Valley in central Mongolia province Arkhangai at the Xiongnu grave site of Gol Mod-2 have focused on the satellite burials of Tomb 1, located in the northwest edge of the cemetery.  An arc of twenty seven satellite burials to the east of the central tomb mound, a large burial between the arc and central tomb, as well as one burial to the north of the central barrow constitute an assembly of individuals of varying age, sex, and possibly cultural traits who were interred within an intentionally close proximity to the deceased in the main tomb. 
In response to excavations being conducted at Tsaram Cemetery in Buryatai, which purported an age progression in the burial arcs of Xiongnu tomb complexes (Minyaev and Sakharovskaya 2002), we excavated the first six burials (1-6) and two larger ones further up in the arc (7-8) in the summer of 2002 so that we might test this hypothesis.  Our first season of excavations revealed a cluster of younger individuals at the southern end of the arc, seemingly all children, with two adults in the upper end of the burial arc.  Though no human remains were found in burial number 1, the size of the coffin (102 x 24 cm) speaks to the interment of a very small child.  The remains of the skull from burial number 3 were analyzed the following autumn at the University of Montreal, Quebec and aged between six and seven years of age.
Two significant material discoveries also occurred in the first season.  The child buried in grave 3 was interred with the remains of one pre-adult horse and four pre-adult sheep as well as almost three hundred burnished ankle bone game pieces, thirty six of which were marked with symbols. Some of these symbols have been seen elsewhere (c.f. Davydova 1995), but many of them occur for the first time at Gol Mod-2.  In burial 7, a bronze disk was found wrapped in the remains of a multi-layered textile bag with two thick stone beads and the remainder of a threading cord through them.  The disk, found by the feet of the deceased, resembles similar bronze pieces found in nomad graves in Xinjiang (northwest China) rather than bronze mirrors of Han China.
In order to fully clarify the layout of the burial arc, we cleaned off the first thirty centimeters of the remaining graves in the beginning of the field season in the summer of 2004. The drawings and information from the 2002 excavations were incorporated to create a single illustration of the burial arc to the east of tomb 1.  We then continued excavations by progressing from the burial north of number 6 and proceeding up the arc for a total of seven burials (9 through 15) as well as excavating the burial at the top of the arc (27).  We completed excavations of the burial arc in the summer of 2005 (burials 16-26) as well as excavated the additional singular burial to the north of the tomb mound (burial 29).
Twenty-seven total single interment human burials were excavated with twenty-three containing recoverable human skeletal remains.  All burials were disturbed and looted in antiquity, most likely during the time of the Xiongnu.  Skeletal preservation was poor and extremely fragmentary.  The majority of the individuals were represented by less than 25% of the total skeleton.  The condition of the bone was generally poor with eroded long bone ends, and exfoliated bone surfaces and teeth.  Some burials had no remains left, only a faint outline of the skeleton on the coffin bottom.  Ethnicity was determined by facial structure and dental morphology.  Sex was determined when possible by using cranial morphology, femur head diameter, and pelvic shape.  Age was determined by tooth eruption, relative tooth wear, and cranial suture fusion.  Height was calculated using femur length (Bass 1987; Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994).
Although this is an extremely small and fragmented sample there are some trends that already appear.  All of the skulls available for analysis were determined to be Asian.  Preliminary statistics (mean measure of divergence) done using dental nonmetric traits found the Golmod-2 burials to be indistinguishable from other Xiongnu burials in Mongolia.  The majority of the skulls were typically Xiongnu in morphology.  Burial 22 and 27 are possibly Asians from other parts of the Xiongnu Empire.  While the cranial nonmetric data for burial 22 does not differ significantly from the other Xiongnu burials, his face is narrower and more projecting than is typical for a Xiongnu.  Unfortunately this skull is fragmentary and warped and no further diagnosis can be made at this time.  Burial 27 lacks many of the cranial nonmetric traits shared by the other burials in the arc (mandibular and palatine torus, cranial ossicles), his dentition exhibits a different rate of wear from the other burials, and his skull is a different shape (low) than is typically Xiongnu.  He may have spent his childhood in a different part of the empire, possibly the east, with a more agricultural diet and then traveled to this area as an adult.  Individuals from other cultures are not uncommon in Xiongnu burials.  Both burial 22 and 27 have the remains of skin and hair on their skulls. Both skulls also exhibit green discoloration probably caused by contact with a metal object.  It is hypothesized the chemical reaction of the metal object preserved the surrounding skin and hair.  All of the burials of known sex are male.  This means the burials within the arc are not representative of a normal living population.  These individuals were selected to be buried together for unusual reasons, not solely based on familial, religious, or cultural ties.  The presence of several children in the arc implies hereditary status.  No evidence of infectious disease, nutritional deficiencies, or dental disease were found.  The lack of chronic infectious disease is common for a sparsely populated nomadic population.  The lack of nutritional deficiency and dental disease signifies they had continual access to adequate food supplies and had a diet low in carbohydrates.  Burial 9 and 10 have chipping of their teeth, probably caused by using their teeth as a tool.  Burials 9, 10, 13, and 20 exhibit arthritis patterns consistent with moderate horseback riding.  The Xiongnu were known to have used the horse extensively in their daily lives and in long distance travel.  Burial 27 has evidence of a sword blow to the face with no evidence of healing, meaning he died shortly afterward. His injury is consistent with a right-handed blow to the left side of his face as his opponent faced him.  This individual probably died in battle and was transported back to the location of the cemetery.  The individuals buried within the arc exhibit characteristics which are common to other high ranking Xiongnu burials.
The analysis of human remains unearthed from these graves has revealed an arrangement of individuals and age spectrum more complex than originally hypothesized in 2002.  Despite the grouping of younger individuals in the lower portion of the arc, the ages of the deceased do not progress in a strictly linear fashion from youngest to oldest.
In addition, while the larger burials do appear to cluster in the upper portion of the arc, neither size of the stone ring surface demarcation nor burial depth conform to a pattern of steady increase.  Orientation of the coffins, on the other hand, does perhaps correspond to an overall pattern of the burial arc.  The deceased in Xiongnu graves are more often than not oriented with their heads to the north, and all the satellite burials of tomb complex 1 are oriented more or less northward.  The apparent pattern lies in the deviations from true north which shift from east of north to slightly west of north as the burials progress up the arc, showing grave orientations which seem to follow the line of the arc.  The factors of age, burial size and burial depth do not seem to implicate a linear progression, though further analysis may reveal other patterns according to variables which have not yet been fully understood.
The variety of coffin styles include not only simple wooden coffins and wooden coffins with a stone cyst, such as those discovered in the first season of excavations, but also an inner and outer nested coffin (burial 23)  and two coffins with lattice work and quadrefoil iron decoration (burials 23 and 27).  Additionally, the selection of animals and manner of their placement in the graves varies between burials.  The heads and lower legs of horse, sheep and cattle were found near the head, just outside of the coffins.  A few sheep ribs were found inside the coffins, also near the head.  An interesting variation in placement of the faunal remains occurs between burials 19 and 23 (and possibly 24) and burials 3, 7, 13, and 15.  The former three graves had one horse head and one cattle head placed on either side of the coffin near the northern end, and both heads were set facing north.  The other burials contained horse heads, and no cattle, but it is the placement of the heads which also varies.  In these cases, the horse head would have been placed just to the north of the head end of the coffin and set pointing west.  While Xiongnu graves thus far have contained only the heads and lower legs of horses and cattle, burial 23 contains more or less the entire skeleton of a calf, the remains of which had been tossed to the western side of the burial pit during an incident of looting.  Also, the single burial which lies outside of the arc and to the north of the central tomb mound (burial 29) revealed the entire skeleton of a horse, completely articulated, laid down in a position natural to a horse in sleep, and with its body oriented northward.  Only the skull was missing from the grave, and there is no evidence for looting of the horse remains.
The majority of artifacts interred in the burials are made of iron and relate to personal trappings worn on the individuals.  Most of these are buckles, clasps and rings, as well as another interesting type of piece found within most of the burials.  The small iron pieces called “garment décor” may have been worn by stringing a small thread through the loop hole and dangling by the weight of the flat oval end.  The remains of horses are complemented by riding gear such as bits.  Several blades have been found, though the most numerous artifacts of weaponry are by far the arrow heads and shafts. Iron circles found in other Xiongnu graves have also been found in several burials, and two amber beads were found in burials 23 and 7, the same two burials which contained bronze disks in textile bags.  These bronze disks exhibit a stark contrast to the broken Chinese bronze mirror found in burial 22.  In order to further clarify the nature of these rare bronze disks, the disk and hemisphere from burial 23, both wrapped in textile, are presently at the Smithsonian Conservation Research Center in Washington, D.C. 
Though all the burials were looted, the robbers did leave behind sufficient evidence of precious metals in the graves.  Fragments of bronze vessels as well as a bronze horse bridle circle were found tossed up by the looters.  Also, many of the iron trappings worn by individuals found at the upper end of the arc were adorned with thin gold foil, and a small gold loop ring (earring?) was found amongst the bones of burial 24.  The remnants of red paint were found in many of the graves, though in too small amounts each time to determine the exact nature of the lacquer artifacts they were from.  A portion of a stone flat ring was found in burial 26.  Though it was not made from jade, the greenish hue of the stone, coupled with its shape and finely polished surface, was an obvious emulation of green jade bi-disk rings from China.
Most of the burial goods adhere to a standard assemblage of belt pieces, garment ornamentation, arrows, simple jars, and the intermittent horse riding equipment.  The rare artifacts of two bronze disks and a Chinese bronze mirror, as well as the materials of silk (Chinese?) from the disk bags and amber (from South Siberia?) for the beads, indicate widespread interaction with groups to the north, south and west.  The variation in coffin style and placement of animal sacrifices and the skulls from burials 22 and 27 seem to indicate that it was not only artifacts in trade or tribute that were coming from long distances, but also people.  The skin and hair remnants of these two skulls may allow for future DNA testing to further investigate this issue. Understanding the occupants of these satellite burials not only speaks to the identity, rank or power of the deceased in the central mounded tomb but also may help elucidate the social structure and social politics of the nomadic imperial aristocracy which served the chanyü emperors and kings and  dominated the steppes.

‘Archaeology’ in Museums
Wang Tao (Department of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK)


Every museum visitor will come cross archaeological material. The marriage between museum and archaeology seem to have become so strong, and doesn’t invite any questions anymore.  However, the relationship between the two is not as straight forward as often thought. In this paper, I will investigate, with a historical perspective, the relationship between Chinese museums and archaeology, in particular their conflicts and interactions in different contexts.  On one hand, we know that museum cannot be separated from archaeology; but on the other hand, the way in which museums ‘work’ with archaeology will transform our perceptions and methodology of archaeolog, , , y.  In the 21st century, as the archaeological study and practice progress, museum archaeology will undoubte, dly become an established discipline in China.

Shaitanskoye O, zero II: The Ritual Sites of the First Metallurgists of Middle Urals*
O. N. Korochkova1, S. V. Kuzminykh2, Y. B. Serikov3 and V. I. Stefanov1
1 Ural State University, Lenina 51, Yekaterinburg, 620083, Russia
2 Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Dm. Ulyanova 19, Moscow, 117036, Russia
3 Nizhny Tagil State Social-Pedagogic Academy, Krasnogvardeiskaya 57, , Nizhny Tagil, 622031, Russia
* Supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Projects 10-06-00405-a, 08-01-00073a, and 08-06-00136a).


This thesis presents materials from the ritual site of Shaitanskoye Ozero II, Trans Ural. Few excavations carried out at the site measuring les, s than 240 sq. m in size, yielded more than 160 bronze artifacts: utensils, weapons, rolled copper ornaments, and abundant smelting and casting waste. Artifacts were discovered at a shallow depth (10– 45 cm from the surface) in a layer of light brown loam separately, in pairs or in large and small clusters. Apart from Seima-Turbino (celts and laminar knives) and Eurasian types (daggers with cast hilts, knives with guards, fluted bracelets and rings), several metal artifacts were revealed manufactured in the style of the Samus-Kizhirovo tradition. Bronze artifacts, stone knives and scrapers, and numerous arrowheads are accompanied by ceramics of the Koptyaki type. The bronze is mostly stannic.
The group of Seima-Turbino artifacts is comprised of  lamellar double-edged knives with slightly marked or no tang, adzes and other composite tools made of similar types of knives or their fragments. The Samus-Kizhirovo group of artifacts includes celts with one or two false loops, a dagger  with a broken top (most probably ring-shaped), a flat haft decorated with hatched triangles and rhombs on both sides, and a lamellar blade. The group of  artifacts of the Eurasian type, characteristic of the steppe  and forest-steppe cultures of Northern Eurasia, is comprised of double-edged daggers with caston hafts including decorated examples, models (?) of slotted hafts, knives  with quillons and crossbars, a forged chisel, spearheads and their fragments, lamellar fluted bracelets and rings. This group includes numerous imported Petrovka-Alakul artifacts. Due to their unique character, some finds, particularly socketed chekan battle axes fail to correspond to any morphological group.
The predominance of tin bronze in the Shaitanskoye Ozero II collection, including blanks and raw materials (ingots, drops, etc.), suggests that alloys, metal parts and implements themselves were received from manufacturing centers of the Andronov culture.
This assemblage is shown to be relevant to the local tradition of metalworking, which, in this particular region, was comparatively ancient having been left uninterrupted by the rapid migrations of the Seima-Turbino people. In addition, the assemblage indicates the sources from which post-Seima artifacts reached the Alakul people. These artifacts may also have been linked with a large metalworking center located in the Middle Urals.

Learning in Practice: the Progress of Environmental Archaeology in Northeast China
Peter Weiming JIA (Department of Archaeology, the University of Sydney, Australia


ABSTRACT: Environmental archaeology in northeastern China is in a critical period of development, but the progress varies across this large geographical region. Certain problems, such as the severe lack of collaboration between archaeologists and associated scientists, have hindered the progress of current research. Studies in environmental archaeology have almost solely been conducted by scientists who are enthusiastic about the research; however, these studies are often ignored by archaeologists as they are not presented in archaeological context. In addition, the research is not of a high spatial and temporal resolution. The studies also tend to make broad generalizations about large regions over long periods of time, and they disregard areas that do not fit their general climatic models. Another problem is the misguided borrowing of concepts developed in other parts of the world such as the Holocene Climate Optimum (HCO) which has been well defined in prehistoric Europe but is still being developed in China. Many researchers have simply applied this term to the same period in China and assumed that the climate around that period resembled that of prehistoric Europe, which is currently unsupported by local Palaeo-environment evidence. Other hindrances to the development of environmental archaeology include deterministic approaches and over-simplistic research behavior. To address these problems there needs to be a conversion of qualitative to quantitative data on temperature and precipitation. The research needs to be conducted by a collaborative team of scientists and archaeologists working on both natural and archaeological deposit in order that a strong foundation upon which further environmental reconstruction research can be built.


Urbanization at Monte Albán, Valley of Oaxaca, in a Comparative Perspective
Walburga Wiesheu (National School of Anthropology and History, Mexico)


A total transformation in the population distribution on a regional level and an administrative hierarchy of four levels developed when around 500 BCE the settlement of Monte Alban was founded in the center of the Valley of Oaxaca and on top of a mountain. This earliest urban and state formation in Mesoamerica rose out of a political landscape of competition and conflict between local chiefdom societies of a rather secular character.
In this paper I focus on central aspects of the urban organization and the function of the walled sections of this fortified capital site, and will discuss the possible factors of attraction that could have motivated people to move to this new center located on a strategic place, while assessing also the suggestion of a forced dramatic relocation of residents in view of external military conflict. Finally, I try to make a brief comparison between the urbanization process around Monte Albán and early walled settlements in the Central Plains region of China, so as to identify common features and patterns of development.

The Great migration of Chemurchek People from France to Altai in Early 3rd Millennium BC
Professor Alexey A. Kovalev (Institute of Social Researches of St.-Petersburg State University, Russia)


Field research of the Early Bronze Age sites in Dzungaria and Mongolian Altai started in the first half of 1960s. Chinese archaeologist Li Zheng was the first to reflect different types of burial constructions in Ertix basin and to connect neighboring stone statues with them. His field report was firstly published in 1962. After that, ten rectangular enclosures with stone boxes and statues were excavated by Yi Manbai in Keermuqi克尔木齐 (correctly Qiemuerqieke切木尔切克, Chemurchek) River basin in Altay County in 1963. In 1990s Wang Bo and Wang Linshan  investigated barrows of this type and mentioned stone statues as well. In most cases Chinese Altai “Keermuqi” burial constructions were rectangular stone enclosures orientated, as the rule, with their longer sides by West-East, and in rare cases-by North-South. By the middle of their eastern side (or by the southern side) a stone statue or a stone pillar is usually erected. Inside each stone enclosure, along its long side, there is a line of stone boxes made of large upright stone slabs, each box containes several burials.
Thus in this paper we tried to present elements of Chemurchek culture which have no other analogies except those in the Neolithic of France: in the mounds’ construction these were overlapping perimethraly cairns, burial corridors with dry stone side-walls, there were specific style of stone statues and peculiar shapes of vessels. Evidently the fact that all these elements of culture had been transferred over 6,5 thousands of kilometers to the Mongolian Altai can be explained only by a peoples migration.

The Archaeological Discovery and Research of Tang Chang'an City Site in Xi'an
Gong Guoqiang (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) was the flourishing period of ancient Chinese history. Its capital, Chang'an, was a city by repaired and expensed of capital Da’xing of Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618). In that time, it was not only the country's political and cultural center, also was an international metropolis and the most important station of the Silk Road.
Chang'an city site is located in Xi'an of Shanxi Province. Since 1956 until today, archaeological work has been carried out continually around the Chang'an city site and achieved fruitful results.
First, the large-scale archaeological surveys and excavations conducted on the sites of city walls, gates, palaces, markets and grid-streets and other remains of the lanes, has clarified the city’s rectangular area of 84 square kilometers, which is composed of three parts from the outer city, the imperial city and the palace city, and the strict planning of ax symmetric as well as the closed management of capital. It makes clear that Tang Chan’an city has an important impact on capitals such as Kyoto, Nara of Japan and King Capital of the Korean Peninsula at same time.
Second, archaeological excavations were carried out on sites of a different nature such as Temple of Heaven, Mingde gate, Huanguang gate, West Market, Buddhism Temples of Qinglong and Ximing, and Jinzhengwuben Hall of Xingqing Palace, make a comprehensive and practical understanding of architecture characteristics in the Tang Dynasty.
Third, locating in the northeast to capital, Daming Palace was the most important among palaces of Tang Dynasty. Till now the overall pattern of palace site is kept relatively intact. Therefore, Daming Palace site has been for decades the most important archaeological target. Through large-scale archaeological excavations on a number of important sites such as the Danfeng Gate, Hanyuan Hall, Linde Hall, Qingsi Hall, Sanqing Hall and Taiye pool imperial garden, etc., the basic form or layout of the Daming Palace site is clear. Also, effective protection measures of several unearthed sites are adopted. Now Daming Palace site is decided as a key goal under the state “Eleventh Five-year protection planning of great site”.
Fourth, investigates and excavations on Jiucheng Summer Palace site at Linyou County in the suburbs of the capital have provided excellent additional information for the study of the Tang Dynasty palace system.
Fifth, the citizens of Chang’an city were normally buried in the eastern suburbs and western suburbs after their death. A lot of suburban Tombs have been excavated and rich information about the burial customs of the capital region, burial classification, and the evolution of laws of the burial objects have been accumulated for related researches. Just by these archaeological materials, people have more comprehensive understanding about Tang’s tombs.

Topic and Perspective: on the Excavation on the Liao Zuling
Dong Xinlin (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


To topics for guidance, it is our foundation of excavations and research in archaeology. Archaeology of the Liao Dynasty is an important part of the Chinese archaeology. We need study the archaeology on the overall view of Chinese nationality multi-element integration pattern (instead of the only Han nationality angle) and the comparative study with Han, Tang, Song, Jin, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The example is the Liao Zuling’s archaeology.
Zuling site is the Mausoleum of the first emperor Yelu Abaoji (耶律阿保机) and empress in the Liao Dynasty. It’s located at the valley of northwest of the stone house village in Barlin Left Banner, Inner Mongolia. Zuling site is undoubtedly the most important place to study Mausoleum system on the earlier Liao Dynasty.
In 2003 to 2004, a comprehensive survey was made in Zuling and nearby by the No.2 Inner Mongolian archaeological Team of the IA, CASS. The Inner Mongolian Institute of Cultural relics and Archaeology and we have begun to excavate the Liao Zuling with the support of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics since 2007. Some salvage excavation of Funeral Burial 1, “building-foundation A” and “tower of the Monument the First Emperor” was carried out and an important data was gained.
Through investigation and excavation, we have preliminary clarified the layout of Zuling tomb-garden and got some new knowledge. These is an according with “Liaoshi: Treatises on Geography”辽史·地理志. Inheriting the essence of Han and Tang mausoleum architecture and forming its own distinctive features in arrangement, this tomb-garden represents the model of early Liao tomb-garden layout.
The archaeological survey and excavation obtained stage-marking results, made up the gap in the study of early Liao mausoleum architecture and advanced researches on ancient Chinese mausoleum architectures, as well as archaeological and historical studies of the Liao period. It is also a scientific basis that Chinese Government establish the Protection Programming of Zuling Site.

Shandong Before (and After) Buddhism
Jeffrey Riegel (The University of Sydney)


The discovery in October 1996 at the Longxing temple in the city of Qingzhou in central Shandong of a cache of more than 200 Buddhist sculptures, most of which date to the fifth and sixth centuries, as well as earlier discoveries of Buddhist sculpture at Zhucheng诸城 and other sites in the province, provide archaeological corroboration of the wealth and devotion that were lavished upon the Buddhist faith in the Shandong area during those centuries. But there are, in addition to discoveries that relate to Buddhist history, many artifacts and other “cultural relics” that demonstrate that, before and after the arrival of Buddhism in China, Shandong more generally was an extraordinary centre of original philosophical speculation as well as of intense religious activity in the early period of Chinese history. This paper will review some of this material, especially as it relates to the early Shandong cosmologists, the cult of the “Eight Spirits,” the rise of religious Daoism, and the religious significance of Mount Tai.

Archaeology of China for the Early Modern World: Perspectives from Zhangzhou
Li Min (UCLA, USA)


Archaeology provides a powerful perspective for examining the profound consequences of global encounters. As physical evidence for sustained cultural encounter on a worldwide scale, Chinese archaeological ceramics offer clues to the continuity and transformation in local communities as the traditional Asiatic trade network became increasingly incorporated into a global market after the 16th century.
Aimed at addressing issues in anthropology of early globalization through social archaeology and material culture, this paper traces the movement of Chinese porcelain from production sites around coastal trading ports in Fujian to consumer societies in Philippines and the Americas.

Great Era and Significant Change: Archaeological Study and Practice in the 21st Century
Kuangti Li (Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica)


Contract archaeologies have increasingly carried out worldwide especially in China in the last two decades. An abundant archaeological data is collected after contract archaeologies have done. Nevertheless, archaeology is no longer a practice of material collection and a study of artifacts. This is particular true in the 21st century. Archaeologists should not only collect the archaeological remains, but also tried to make inferences about prehistoric human social cultural behavior. I would like to propose an alternative strategy for dealing with the archaeology study and practice in the 21st century. First, the negotiations between the developer and archaeologists should have before the contract is finalized. This is because the developers may not realize an archaeological site means not only for the local people but also significant to all humans. Second, a research design should come with the contract archaeology while the archaeologist signed the contract. Different from the academic archaeological study, research design should be well defined before the salvage archaeology is carried out. Third, a multidisciplinary research program should accompany with the contract archaeology. Since the contract archaeology is not merely data collection from the site, numerous problems would be come across. Attention should be given to the aspects among those various disciplinary, to the method and theory of viewing the social cultural systems. Unfortunately, most archaeological projects are hard-pressed to engage true collaborators when they design a large-scale research program. It is our hope that the information presented herein offers a broader context for conducting the contract archaeologies in this century.

Erlitou's Position: the Observation to the Settlement Pattern at the Beginning of Dynastic Era
Xu Hong (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


In 5500-3800 BP, or archaeologically called late Yangshao Age to Longshan Age, many regions in the Yellow River and Yangtze River Valleys, which is called as “Larger Mesopotamia”, witnessed the occurring of profound social transformations. During this period, many relatively independent tribes and prototyped states were coexisting and competing with each other. Some scholars named this period as the “Archaic State Age” or “Local State Age”, or in terms of the Western academic field, as the “Chiefdom Age”. These human groups and organizations gradually formed a loose interaction sphere through mutual intercommunication and impactions, and further laid the foundation for the dynastic civilization in the Central Plains.
The “Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project” defined the founding of the Xia Dynasty at 2070 BCE. Archaeologically, this time was still in Longshan Age and during the following 200 or so years, the Central Plains was still ridden by the conflicts and turmoil. The tribes and states were not ruled by and affiliated to each other and building wall-fortified settlements (cities) to protect themselves, and the cultural elements from other regions were shown clearly in this area. Obviously, the wars and conflicts at this time were still in white-hot state and the traces of inter-regional social integration were absent. In other words, at least in the early phase of Xia Dynasty, the “dynastic atmosphere” described in historic literatures did not have their archaeological counterparts so far. 
Down to around 1800 BCE, the Erlitou Culture centered by Mount Song absorbed the civilization elements of the other regions and emerged and developed abruptly in rather short time. It for the first time broke the geographical limits and diffused into almost the entire middle reaches of the Yellow River. As for the distribution of the cultural elements of Erlitou Culture, it was much larger to all directions. 
Along with the declining of the regional civilization centers, the extraordinarily large central settlement -- the Erlitou Site -- emerged in this period. Located in Luoyang Basin, which was in the middle of the Central Plains, this site still has about 300 ha preserved. The archaeological fieldwork lasting for half of century here revealed the earliest urban road network, earliest palace city, the earliest palace complex arranged along symmetric axes, the earliest enclosed state-run handicraft workshop zones, the earliest bronze ritual vessel and weapon assemblages, the earliest bronze casting workshops, turquoise workshops and the earliest evidence of two-wheeled chariots, and so on. The scale and connotation of this site was peerless in the East Asia Continent; we can say that this site was the earliest large-scale capital city with clear city planning.
The emergence of Erlitou Culture and Erlitou capital city symbolized the new stage of the society from the coexistence of some competing political bodies to a royal-powered state. The Yellow River and Yangtze River Valleys, the heart of the East Asian Civilization, developed into the “integrated” dynastic civilization from the “multipolar” local state civilization.
The distribution of the settlements of Erlitou Culture showed a pyramidal hierarchy and a spatial arrangement of “the stars surrounding the moon” comprising the royal capital covering an area of several hundred hectares, regional central settlements covering dozens of hectares, secondary central settlements cover several to a dozen or so hectares and numerous much smaller villages. This makes a sharp contrast to that of Longshan Age which was represented by the forests of wall-fortified central settlements and the competition among them.
The Shang Civilization represented by Erligang and Yinxu Cultures were just built on the foundation of the civilization of Erlitou Culture.

What’s New at Yinxu: Updated Anyang Archaeology, China
Tang Jigen (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


The continuing excavations and studies at Yinxu bring us both new material data and new knowledge about Anyang, the last capital site of Shang China.
In the last decade, more than 100 settlements were located in the Huan river volley, Anyang, among them, Huanbei (洹北商城), a buried city of the Shang dynasty, which is never known before in historic records, was discovered, two out of dozens of large architectural remains within the enclosure were excavated. In the national protected area of Yinxu (殷墟), at least one pottery-making site with kilns, one bone-object-making workshop, and a number of Shang settlements were partially excavated. Fieldwork shows that these workshops or residential areas can be observed through identifiable transportation system, including roads and watercourses.
New discoveries shed light on our understanding to the settlement patterns along the Huan river valley, particularly the layout of Yinxu as a whole (殷墟布局), including how a typical Shang architecture was built. New fieldwork also updated our knowledge to the cultural exchanges and population movement between the capital site and its surrounding areas. Insight looking goes to the divination and diviners as well.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, more and more efforts have been made to the protection of the site and the presentation of its archaeological achievement. After inscribing Yinxu on the World Cultural Heritage List (世界文化遗产), two museums are built and opened to the public, and currently, a large scale Cultural Landscape (大遗址公园) based on Yinxu is under construction.

Early Bronze Cultures and Bronze Bells in China
Professor Kazuo Miyamoto (Archaeology Department, Kyushu University, Japan)


Pottery bells existed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River as early as in the middle Neolithic Age. Seen from their property as musical instruments, the pottery bells were usually considered as ritual implement. In the early phase of Taosi Culture, which was in late Neolithic Age, the chiefdom with pyramidal social hierarchy has formed, and the special musical instruments such as crocodile-hide drums, single huge music stone, and so on were only permitted to be buried in the tombs of the highest-ranked people in the society. These special musical instruments were used in sacrificial ceremonies, so their appearance showed the statuses of the tomb occupants as the holders of sacrificial ceremonies. Meanwhile, this also showed that the authority of holding sacrificial ceremonies was related to the ranks in the hierarchical society. However, pottery bells, which also belonged to musical instruments and might have been used in sacrificial occasions, were altered into bronze (or copper) bells as symbols of high prestige. In Taosi Culture, the bronze (or copper) gear-shaped objects as well as bells were also musical instruments or ornaments rather than tools or weapons. The bronzes in Neolithic Age, although defined as the earliest bronzes in Central Plains, had features of early bronze cultures in the Central Plains because they were musical instruments and ornaments symbolizing personal positions and statuses. Furthermore, this bronze culture differed sharply from the northern bronze cultures in Northwest China and had exclusive features in the whole world. Moreover, the observation to the bronze bells showed that from the early stage, they were cast by assembled molds consisting inner and outer molds, which were very probably pottery ones, and this is also the feature of the bronze cultures of the Central Plains.
The bronze bells of Erlitou Culture directly succeeded the social significance and technical tradition of the bells of Taosi Culture. On the technical aspect, the molds for casting bronze bells in Taosi Culture were composed of inner and outer molds, and in Erlitou Culture, the outer molds were made into section molds. Moreover, the hole on the flat top of a bronze or copper bell in Taosi Culture had a function of strutting the molds; in the time of Erlitou Culture, because of the use of section molds and the need of supporting the molds, the holes evolved into knob.
Since the early phase of Taosi Culture, musical instruments representing the authority of holding sacrificial ceremonies were defined as grave goods of the ruling class, and in Erlitou Culture, the bells, which were also musical instruments and made as bronze ones, were also found in the burials of the high-ranked people. The authority of holding sacrificial ceremonies, which was represented by the musical instruments, also had function of showing statuses, and therefore the bronze bells of Erlitou Culture were also objects bearing social significance and reflecting prestige.
As mentioned above, bronze bells showed the features of the bronze cultures of the Central Plains, which were that in the early periods, these cultures were focusing on making bronzes representing prestige and statuses, and this was the foundation of the future Shang and Zhou Cultures. Moreover, these bells showed the continuity from Taosi to Erlitou Culture, and there would have been bronze bell casting in the period between these two cultures. Also, in the societies of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the sacrificial ceremonies were also important political activities. The characteristics of bronze culture of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties of putting ritual vessels on the central position could be regarded as existing in the time of Taosi Culture. However, this showed that the prototype of ritual system had emerged in Taosi Culture which was in the Neolithic Age, and, which is more important, this rites and ceremonies all came from the Central Plains. This also reflected the important role of the Central Plains in the formation of civilization.

Petrographic Analyses of Ceramics Used in the Production of Shang Bronzes at Yinxu
James B. Stoltman, Jing Zhichun, Tang Jigen, and Yue Zhanwei


Bronze production in Shang society has been characterized as a co-craft, requiring sophisticated knowledge not only of metallic but also of ceramic materials. Through petrographic analysis, the material composition of ceramic artifacts essential for Shang bronze production -- furnaces, crucibles, models, cores, and molds -- have been determined for specimens excavated at the Xiaomintun Bronze Foundry site near Anyang. The results reveal a ceramic industry that was both diverse and sophisticated, with different recipes employed depending upon the intended functions of the various artifact types produced.

The Isotopic Analysis of Skeletal Remains to Study Mobility in Shang China
James H. Burton, Jing Zhichun, Tang Jigen, He Yuling and T. Douglas Price


Because dental enamel forms during early childhood and does not change later in life, chemical examination of enamel can provide information on the place of birth. For this purpose we applied three isotope systems, 87Sr/86Sr, 13C, and 18O, to the study of dental enamel from the Shang burials of Tomb 54, Yinxu, Anyang China. Each provides a complimentary line of evidence to identify non-local individuals and to place constraints on their possible places of origin.

A Hypothesis for the Introduction of Wheat and Barley into China
Alison Betts (University of Sydney, Australia)


Two of the world’s most important food crops, wheat and barley, were first domesticated in Western Asia. From here, cereal cultivation spread eastwards and was eventually introduced into the rice/millet agricultural systems of central China. The arrival of these new seeds enabled agricultural diversification, which in turn supported increased state development. Based on available 14C dates the transmission of wheat and barley agriculture into China must have occurred no later than the mid-4th millennium BCE and the path of transmission must have crossed Xinjiang. The likely routes are either through the oases of southern Central Asia or across the Eurasian steppes. This paper will discuss the available evidence for this process based on the limited evidence currently available from both of these areas.

The Archaeology of Maize's Domestication and Spread
Michael Blake (Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia)


Abstract: Today, China produces more maize than any other country in the world. Maize was first brought to China in the early 1500s -- about the same time it was exported outside of the Americas to other parts of the world. Although not much is known about this relatively late dispersal of maize to the Old World in the 16th century, teams of scientists, including archaeologists, are making surprising new discoveries about where, when and how the plant was first domesticated and spread throughout the Americas. They are also tracing its journey, beginning some 10,000 years ago in southwestern Mexico, to the far reaches of South America and the borderlands between Canada and the U.S. Examining some of this new research, I will explore the ways that maize and humans may have forged their mutual dependency in the millennia following its initial domestication.

Shang Dynasty Lithic Industries: A Case Study from the Heihelu Site, Anyang
Professor David Pokotylo (Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC Canada)


Abstract: Stone tools have had a limited role in discussions of Chinese Bronze Age cultures since the pioneering work of Li Chi in 1951.  Using the Heihelu site as a case study, this paper presents an initial perspective on the technological processes and production organization in both the flaked and ground stone industries present at Heihelu. The raw materials utilized, manufacturing techniques, and evidence of artifact maintenance, modification, and curation are reviewed in order to better understand the role these tools assumed in the Shang economy.  Contextual and temporal patterning of the lithic industries is also discussed.

Statistic Analysis of Stone Tools and Related Issues
Tracey L-D Lü (Anthropology Department, the Chinese University of Hong Kong)


Abstract: Artifacts are one of the most important archaeological categories for understanding not only the technological development and economic structure, but also social structures and even cognitive aspects. For example, are there items for the common people and items for the social elite? Are there morphologically unique items made by exotic materials and more time-consuming techniques? What are the archaeological contexts and functions of these items, and who are the owners? Are these items indicating the professionalization and standardization of craft production, and labor division? What can we learn from these items about the distribution pattern, and economic and social structure of the society? Based on comparatively statistic analysis of the ground stones found in two archaeological sites in China, this paper address some of the issues mentioned above.

Museum “Excavations”: Collecting Liangzhu Jades before Scientific Archaeology
J. Keith Wilson (Associate Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Curator of Ancient Chinese Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)


By the time Charles Lang Freer died in 1919, he had amassed a collection of nearly 250 fine Han and pre-Han jades, all of which he donated to the gallery that bears his name at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D. C. Controlled excavations carried out in China over the past 60 years have shown that approximately half of this total can be associated with the late Neolithic Liangzhu Culture. Freer bought his first Liangzhu jade -- a modest Bi-disc -- in 1911 (F1911.444) and continued to build and diversify his Liangzhu holdings through the year of his death without ever knowing the true nature and importance of the group. This paper makes use of early twentieth-century dealer information, purchase records, curatorial comments, and other archival material relating to Freer's Liangzhu collection to illustrate what was known or inferred about pre-historic jade production in the Yangzi Valley long before the first trial excavations at Gudang, Hangzhou, in 1936. A thorough investigation of recently discovered 1923 gallery installation plans will also be used to show how this material was organized and presented to the American public when the museum first opened.

The Trilogy of Jade Slicing Technique
Professor Tang Chung (Chinese University of Hong Kong)


Jade art has a long history about ten millennia in East Asia, the jade slicing techniques which has used included at least the following: percussion, gritted string sawing, band sawing, wheel cutting, metal string cutting, and so on. Material blanking technique is the basic of the jade craftsmanship. Among the material blanking techniques of nephrite in China, the most important ones are the gritted string sawing, band sawing and wheel sawing, which have been popularly applied successively.
The present archaeological data showed that the gritted string sawing for jade material blanking emerged in Northeast China at 8000 BP; after that, this technique diffused to the vast region from Northeast China to the Yangtze River Valley. The Xinglongwa Culture in Northeast China yielded the earliest jades processed with gritted string sawing technique known to date in East Asia. In recent years, besides of the slits of the Jue-earrings, the traces of string sawing have been found in other types of jades. The gritted string sawing technique lasted for thousands of years since its emergence at 8000 BP. The jades unearthed from Xiaonanshan Site in Heilongjiang Province often bear traces of string sawing. Moreover, this technique spread northward across the Heilongjiang River to the shore area of the Far East, and across the Sea of Japan; in the Hokuriku region of Japan, this technique was very popular in 6000-7000 BP. In recent years, Japanese scholars found Jue-earrings processed with gritted string sawing technique at many localities in Hokuriku.
In China, a branch of gritted string sawing tradition was moving gradually southward. The Beifudi Site dated as 7000 BP at Yixian County in North China, where jade Jue-earrings and Bi-spoons were unearthed, could be considered as an important staging base for the jade tradition of Xinglongwa Culture to advance southward and a significantly meaningful point to fill the gap between the jade traditions of Northeast China and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Around 7000-6000 BP, both of the Hemudu and Majiabang Cultures in the lower reaches of Yangtze River inherited the gritted string sawing technique of the jade tradition from Northeast China; since 6000 BP, this technique became prevailing in this region. The jade Huang-pendant of Songze Culture usually had deep string-sawn traces, showing the strong strength of sawing; in Lingjiatan, the string sawing technique played a thorough role on material blanking and secondary processing.
In Liangzhu Culture, the string sawing technique reached a perfect level. The recently published Haochuan Mudi (Haochuan Cemetery) presented some C-shaped jade ornaments inlayed on lacquer wares, which are masterpieces made with gritted string bilateral sawing technique. The discoveries of the jade workshop sites at Tangshan and Dingshadi revealed the half-done jade products of Liangzhu Culture, many of which are jade slices cut with gritted string sawing technique and let us get more closely to the fact of this technique.
The gritted string sawing technique was prevailing in Liangzhu Culture but at last disappeared along with the declining of this culture. Down to the late Neolithic Age, a new jade slicing technique, band sawing, appeared quietly but overwhelmingly in Hongshan Culture in Liaohe River Valley and the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. Being able to split large-sized jade slices as long as dozens of centimeters and as thin as several millimeters, the band sawing was an unprecedented breakthrough on jade slicing handicraft. Since then, around 4600 BP, the band sawing technique grew suddenly in Shandong Longshan Culture and completely replaced gritted string sawing in jade slicing technique. It is reasonable to suppose that the jade material blanking technique of the Three Dynasties were inherited from that of Longshan Culture. For example, the jades of Qijia Culture, which seemed to succeed the techniques of Liangzhu Culture on shape, were all processed with band sawing technique. In Bronze Age, band sawing technique spread into the north part of Southeast Asia.
On the large-sized jades unearthed from the sites in the middle reaches of the Yellow River, such as Xinhua and Shimao, traces of band slicing could also be seen, and these sites are generally believed to be later than Shandong Longshan Culture by the academic field. Meanwhile, Professor Huang Xuanpei of Shanghai Museum has done in-depth researches on some jades of Qijia Culture unearthed in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, most of which are knives and Bi-discs. As I observed, in the central part of many jade Bi-discs of Qijia Culture, traces of bilateral band sawing were reserved. In late Neolithic Age, the jades of Loshan Culture in the Yellow River Valley had a trend of developing from the east to the west, so did the band sawing technique. 
As I know, around 4000-5000 BP, it was very popular in Egypt to slice large-sized stone planks as building material for the Pyramids with copper or bronze saws applied with sands. This means, in about 5000 BP, the band sawing technique was used in the East and the West simultaneously, the similarities and differences are worth in-depth studying.
It is still not clear when the wheel sawing technique began to be used in China. In Tiangong Kaiwu (Exploitation of the Works of Nature) by Song Yingxing of the Ming Dynasty, a high-stool-shaped foot-powered wheel sawing apparatus was recorded. However, when its prototype emerged is still waiting for testing. As for the question that how the simpler wheel sawing technique applied in jade material blanking since the Qin and Han Dynasties, no answers are available. The issues about the application of wheel sawing technique and wheel sawing machine on jade processing in China still need more archaeological data on jade workshops to study. My preliminary conclusion is that the main slicing techniques of nephrite in China were gritted string sawing, band sawing and wheel cutting techniques.

Jade Use and the Materialization of Social Relations in Shang Dynasty
Zhichun Jing (Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia)


Abstract: From a relational perspective that considers the person (as well as the objects) as composite and multiply-authored (dividuality), this paper discusses the materiality of jade use in the Shang Dynasty by focusing on the material qualities of jade objects entangled in social practices. The Shang elite graves were always furnished with abundant grave goods among which bronzes and jades were dominant. Against the traditional model that assumes a reflective correspondence between the wealth (as well as social status) of the deceased in life and in death, this paper argues that most grave goods were unlikely only the life possessions of the deceased, instead they may have been gifts offered by the mourners during funerals, or the deceased received in life. Bronze ritual vessels and weapons were often found within outer chamber but outside inner coffin; in contrast, jades were only placed on or near the body of the deceased within inner coffin. Such spatial division suggests different meanings of bronzes and jades as grave goods. Many bronzes were believed to be gifts from the mourners for defining the relations between the living and the dead, and restructuring new relations among the living, thus those bronzes were part of the mourners; while jades constituted part of the dead, condensing a wide range of social relations the deceased in life and in death had with the people and places within and outside of local communities and regions.

Regional Variation and Changes of Hairpins and Hair Ornaments in Ancient China
Xiaoli Qin


Abstract: Hairpins and hair ornaments are the most important ornaments for people in ancient China. A great number of hair ornaments had been excavated from archaeological sites including burials dated from Neolithic to earlier Bronze Age. However, only a few studies involved in bone hairpins recovered from Anyang of later Shang dynasty; while not much publications are related other types of hair ornaments. Especially there is a lack of comprehensive study for various material hair ornaments from the sociality and aesthetic view. In this article I will analyze unearthed hair ornaments from different angles, such as by material, the types, by ways of how people wear the hairpins, by comparing regional variation and changes of hair ornaments in each period, the percentage of hair ornaments in total unearthed ornaments of each site, and the distributed characteristic in different area. The results will provide new evidence to understand distributions of Neolithic and earlier Bronze Age hair ornaments, the hair ornaments function, the customs of each region, and the ancient people aesthetic standard.

Destructive Times -- Constructive Measures
Klavs Randsborg


ABSTRACT: World modernization and globalization is highly destructive both to material cultural heritage, and to cultural traditions. Archaeological fieldwork in West Africa - in still living traditions - is both a challenge to historical and cultural preconceptions, and archaeologically highly rewarding. New knowledge and hitherto unknown cultures in Bénin are points in case. A decade of work has provided a temporal sequence matching that of Nigeria, and much better documented. The findings are staggering, for instance on social management and ancient iron production. Organizational improvements of research and educational structures are also suggested.

Petroglyphs and Particular Landscape Points
Ekaterina DEVLET


In traditional societies stones and rocks, which are significant elements of a landscape, were quite often shrouded with an atmosphere of reverence. People were always impressed by stone's hardness, durability, immutability and reliability as an antithesis of a change, death and disintegration. For many peoples of the world the stones and rocks marked by special features became religious objects. In addition the sacred essence of similar objects might be marked off with man-made pictures or inscriptions. Such art helped to overcome incomprehensibility and randomness of the nature as well as to master and understand the natural world. Ethnographers have noticed, that indigenous population of the North and Siberia preserve an ancient custom, supporting by their mythical beliefs, to gather for festivals and sacrifices mainly near picture-rocks (pissanitsa) and stone images.
In tundra zone of Eurasia stones and rocks of freakish forms were original religious centres for reindeer-hunters. The Nganasans revered the stones-fetishes which were located on the ways of wild reindeers' passages (river crossings). It is just on the passage (river crossing) where a reindeer was the most vulnerable, therefore it became a place of reideer-hunting. 
Stone or a spirit contained in it, is esteemed by the inhabitants of tundra as a giver of wild reindeers and patron of hunting. Sometimes they revered a stone as a receptacle of an ancestor's spirit. Skerry stones or rock outcrops were interpreted as the children of Mother earth, which were still connected to its body. "These stones were considered to be alive beings which were interested in reception of food that was blood and meat of wild reindeers. Therefore in this case the interests of the fetishes and people coincided. At the people's request the fetishes called up wild reindeers, and people gave them a part of the bag".
Besides that the stones might be revered as embodiments of real ancestors, symbolical replacements of mythical ancestors or patrons of clan associations, as well as receptacles of deities and various spirits, including spirits of ancestors and souls of alive people.

Shamanic Imagery -- from a Potshard of the Early Shang Period
Sarah Allan (Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, Dartmouth College, USA)


This paper argues that a pottery shard from the early Shang period found at Zhengzhou provides a key that allows us to identify a series of human figures with flexed arms and legs on Shang and early Western Zhou jades and bronzes as shamanic images. This shard was discovered in 1975, but in 2008, Tang Wei and Zhang Wei produced a symmetrical reconstruction which shows a human figure with two bodies and a single head. It shows a person with a single face, shown frontally, with bodies shown in profile to each side. These bodies may be understood as the depiction of a crouching person, but the image has been splayed so that there are two bodies attached to the single head. Viewed vertically, the person has his knees drawn up, elbows bent and hands turned inward. This was an aesthetic convention for people who were part bird or had bird-like characteristics and it signifies shamanic practices. This convention is also found on avian creatures on incised jades in the Shang Dynasty, on humans with their heads in tiger mouths in the Shang, and on bronze fittings and jades in the Zhou. The artifacts on which these images are found are limited in number, but they are not geographically limited -- they have been found in sites on the Central Plains, southern China, and Shaanxi Province -- and they continue from at least the early Shang into the Western Zhou. However, they never take a central role in the aesthetic tradition.

 

 
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