This panel

Current Progress and New Results in International Collaborative Fieldwork in China
Twenty years ago, international archaeological collaborations became possible in China. Soon
after, a number of collaborative projects began (Murowchick 1997), and these have had a
positive impact on the development of archaeological methods and questions in Chinese
archaeology. Recently, international collaborative projects have proliferated [see SAA
Archaeological Record 9(3)] – from Xinjiang in the northwest to Liaoning in the northeast,
Yunnan in the southwest to Fujian in the southeast. This panel brings together participants in
such projects to present new data produced by these collaborative efforts. These projects
represent the diversity of Chinese archaeology in the 21st Century.
Session Abstracts:
1. Chris MORGAN (, Loukas BARTON, Robert L. BETTINGER, Dongju
ZHANG, Fahu CHEN (1:00)
“Tracking Paleolithic Behavioral Variability on the Western Loess Plateau”
Collaborative research between Chinese and American archaeologists and
geomorphologists points to significant technological and settlement pattern variability
between ca. 80 and 15 kya. Using core/flake quartz technology, sporadic human
occupation of the plateau began perhaps as early as 100 kya. Intensified settlement of
previously occupied sites and exploitation of new landscapes using bipolar quartz
shatter technology developed during a warm/wet interval (MIS3) between 60 and 30
kya, after which the area saw significant depopulation and sporadic use during the Last
Glacial Maximum. Later, Terminal Pleistocene/Early Holocene adaptations shifted
dramatically towards an intensive hunter-gatherer adaptation focused on microlithic
2. Ofer BAR-YOSEF (
“The origin(s) of East Asian pottery” (1:15)
It is well established phenomena that pottery making emerged within hunting and
gathering societies in East Asia, and among several who practiced low level food
production. This early appearance of pots in well- dated archaeological assemblages in
South China, Japan, North China and East Siberia stands in contrast to the record of
Western Asia where the making of such clay recipients began after a fully agricultural
system was practiced al over the Levant. This presentation discusses alternative
interpretations asking whether pottery was invented independently in these regions a
sequence, s a “core area” from which the new invention dispersed can be identified.
3. WU Xiaohong (
“Recent Uses of Radiocarbon Dating in International Projects in China” (1:30)
The radiocarbon laboratory at Peking University was founded in 1972. Starting in the
1990s, when international collaborations began, the Peking University lab was involved
in research on early agriculture and pottery at Xianrendong in Jiangxi. Subsequently, as
the lab was developed through interactions with other laboratories around the world,
international collaborations in China have increasingly used the labs facilities for dating.
Here we discuss the dating of materials from Xianrendong, Yuchanyan, Zhongba,
Tianluoshan, and Donghuishan as representative cases of such collaboration and discuss
the changes to procedures that these collaborations have brought about.
4. Christian PETERSON, LU Xueming, and Robert D.
“Hongshan Chiefly Communities in Neolithic NE China” (1:45)
NE China’s Hongshan societies are known for their jade-yielding burials and ceremonial
architecture. The most monumental remains are concentrated into a ‘core zone’• Only
in regions peripheral to the core zone have residential remains been much investigated.
Recent regional settlement survey around the Dongshanzui ceremonial site has begun
to document the communities that built and used core zone monuments. Both the core
zone and the periphery were organized into several small politically-independent chiefly
districts within which ceremonial activities were important integrative forces. District
populations were similar in both areas and thus the core zone’s greater monumentality
is not attributable to greater demographic scale.
5. JIAO Tianlong (, WU Chunming
“Exploring the Cultural and Economic Trends in Neolithic Southeast China” (2:00)
Newly excavated archaeological materials from Southeast China by an international
team demonstrate that the Neolithic cultures in this region underwent tremendous
changes over time. Using multidisciplinary approaches, this ongoing collaborative
project has found a great amount of materials for studying the transformation of the
economy and material cultures in Neolithic Southeast China. Maritime adaptation
became increasingly intensified. Seafaring allowed people move and interact with each
other in a much broader space. These changes not only provide evidence for studying
the social transformations in this region, they also carry significant implications for
understanding the origin and early expansions of the proto-Austronesians.
6. QIN Ling (, SUN Guoping, NAKAMURA Shin’ichi, ZHAO Hui
“From Forager to Farmers: Current Results from Tianluoshan Project” (2:15)
Tianluoshan is a Neolithic site (4900-3800BC) of the local Hemudu-culture in Zhejiang
Province, China. The site has a high water table that has preserved remains in most of
the early contexts, including well preserved wooden posts, boat paddles, wooden,
stone and bone tools, abundant animal and fish remains, as well as water-logged and
charred plant remains. Excavations between 2004-2007 were run by the Zhejiang
provincial institute of archaeology. From 2005-2008, Peking University collaborated with
the Zhejiang institute and various specialists from the UK, Japan, and China to
investigate the eco-remains from this site. The current results include data from fauna,
plants (wood, seeds, fruits and phytoliths), geoarchaeological studies and isotope
analysis. This project provides new evidence for understanding the subsistence of midNeolithic South China, especially the Hemudu-culture. The inhabitants of Tianluoshan
were collectors and cultivators. They had a delayed return economy with specialized
storage of collected nuts, and rice harvests. The environments that they exploited were
varied, including potentially nearby wetlands, woodland and scrub and more distant hill
7. Rowan FLAD (, Timothy HORSLEY, HE Kunyu, Gwen BENNETT
“Research at Songjiaheba: Survey, Excavation and Geophysics at a small settlement
site” (2:30)
An international collaborative research project focused on the Chengdu Plain of Sichuan
Province has been using surface survey and augering to systematically survey a 300
square km area surrounding a late Neolithic walled town. During this survey, dozens of
small sites have been discovered. This paper reports on the discovery of and
subsequent magnetometry work and excavations at the site of Songjiaheba in the
survey zone. For this region, this is the first use of geophysics and the first attempt to
employ several strategies to investigate a small settlement site of the Early Bronze Age.
8. Peter Weiming JIA (, Alison BETTS, Xinhua WU, Trudy
“East meets West – Late Prehistoric Archaeology in Zhungerer, Xinjiang and Cross
border – obsidian archaeology in northeast China” (2:45)
Excavation at the Luanzanggang site (1300-900 BC) has achieved promising results. First,
the material culture has been clearly identified and scientifically dated, a significant
improvement in fundamental archaeological research in this region. Second, the
analysis of charred seeds recovered through flotation indicates early farming occurred
during the Bronze Age on the northern Tianshan slope of Zhungerer Basin. The variety of
seeds shows that this farming involved multiple crops including wheat, millet, barley.
Finally, the result of starch residue analysis based on the starch granules extracted from
grinding stones suggests that besides these staple crops, the stone tools were used for
processing a variety of other plants. The initial identification suggests that some starch
granules are possibly plants used more recently in herbal medicine.
The obsidian study in northeast China is using PXRF to trace the original sources and its
distribution in prehistory. The result has shown the advantage of using PXRF testing the
obsidian that can examine large number of artifacts in a short period such as 100
artifacts per day. The result of “principle component factor analysis” shows ancient
people selected different sources of obsidian. Some sources have been transferred
across over 700 km from their original locations.
“From Macro to Micro: the Sino-Australian Yiluo Region Project “ (3:00)
The Yiluo collaborative archaeology project has employed multiple approaches ranging
from full-coverage regional survey, site excavation, experimental study, to
archeaobotanic analyses. The data generated over the last 22 years has enabled us to
evaluate the development of complex societies over 6000 years of prehistory in this
region, including changing subsistence strategies and the processes of state formation.
Our current research questions are related to the transition from mobile huntinggathering society to sedentary villages, and preliminary results from residue and
usewear analyses have provide much insights to these issues.
10. Roderick CAMPBELL (, LI ZHipeng, HE Yuling, YUAN Jing
“Reconstructing Production: A Preliminary Investigation of a Late Shang Bone
Workshop at Tiesanlu, Anyang” (3:15)
In 2006 enormous quantities of bone artifact production debris were excavated along a
270x10 meter stretch of road reconstruction at Tiesanlu, Anyang. Its position in the Late
Shang capital of Anyang, adjacent to the Miaopu bronze foundry and predominance of
cattle bone raise interesting questions. The nature of the assemblage suggests some
sort of relationship to the palace-temple area, yet the scale and nature of production
suggests wider distribution. This preliminary study will focus on the wider significance of
the site, the spatial and temporal distribution of production debris, and the
reconstruction of some of the production sequences.
11. JING Zhichun (, TANG Jigen
“Excavations of the Palaces at the Walled Huanbei City in Anyang” (3:30)
Palaces were the royal residences as well as the seats of political and religious activities.
Excavations at Huanbei, a walled urban center dating to the 13th century B.C., has
revealed the largest palace/temple compound ever discovered in Bronze Age China,
offering an opportunity to examine the nature of palaces and temples in early complex
societies. This paper describes orthogonal physical layouts, the spaces with public or
restricted access, architectural elements of the palace buildings. The palace/temple
compound is discussed in the contexts of evolving cultural tradition and political
ideology to understand how palaces served to embody and legitimize the power of
ruling elites in the functioning of the Shang state.
12. James STOLTMAN (, JING Zhichun, TANG Jigen, YUE Zhanwei
“Petrographic Analyses of Ceramics Used in the Production of Shang Bronzes at Yinxu”
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-models, cores, molds, crucibles, and furnaces-have been determined
for specimens excavated at Xiaomintun SE , a bronze foundry near Anyang. The results
reveal a ceramic industry that was both diverse and sophisticated, with different recipes
employed depending upon the functions the various artifact types were intended to
13. LI Feng (, LIANG Zhonghe
“The Guicheng Project and Its Preliminary Results 2007-2009” (4:00)
The Guicheng Project is the collaboration between Columbia University and the Institute
of Archaeology, CASS, and Shandong Provincial Institute of Archaeology. In three years,
we have systematically surveyed the 7.5 square km Bronze-Age city in eastern Shandong.
The fieldwork was divided into three parts: intensive coring, systematic surface sampling,
and test excavation. However, this paper will focus on discussing works in the last two
14. LI Min (, ZHENG Tongxiu, FANG Hui
“Archaeological Landscapes of the Wen-Si River Valley: Surveying the Hinterland of
the Qufu Lu City” (4:15)
The 1977-78 survey and excavation of the Lu city in Qufu represents a classics in the
archaeological studies of early cities. An international collaborative research project is
developed to investigate the hinterland of this Bronze Age city and the historical
transformation of cultural landscape around it. This paper discusses the archaeological
foundations and presents results from the preliminary field research. We will discusses
the challenges and promises of landscape archaeology in a region characterized by both
cultural continuity and political rupture.
15. LU Hongliang (, LI Yongxian, James TAYLOR, Amanda HENCK
“Archaeological Research at a Han Dynasty Settlement in Jiuzhaigou National Park,
Sichuan” (4:30)
Starting in 2007, Sichuan University and the University of Washington, Department of
Anthropology, have been conducting archaeological survey in the highlands of
Northwest Sichuan. After discovery in 2007, excavations began at the Han Dynasty
settlement of Ashaonao. Here we report our preliminary findings, among which are the
first investigations of Han Dynasty residential structures in this region and Neolithic
strata underlying the Han remains. The Han structure and construction technologies of
this building show strong connections with settlements known from Northwest China
16. Gwen BENNETT (,
“Xianbei, Khitan, Liao or Jin? Archaeological investigations of the Chifeng border
regions” (4:45)
The Khitans were the first northern group to conquer the Chinese Empire, establishing
the Liao dynasty in 907. Their cultural accomplishments are exemplified by pagodas,
tombs, and city ruins that still stand in northern China, and histories document their
political and military events. Yet little is known about non-elite Khitan activities and
organization. This paper presents the on-going re-analysis of non-elite ceramics dating
between 200-1,200 C.E. from Chifeng Inner Mongolia that will allow us to look at
changes in regional settlement patterns, activities, frontier and border interactions, and
processes involved in Liao state formation.
17. Anne UNDERHILL (
CHAIR (and discussant)