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The Dynamism of Contact and Exchange in Early Central and East Asia

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

In recent years, an increasing number of new methods and analyses have been made available to assist in exploring issues pertaining to contact and exchange in the archaeological studies of the eastern Eurasian continent. Borderland and Frontier Studies, for instance, offer new ways of examining places where interaction and exchange created conditions that are neither exclusively of the steppe or sown. This in turn has led to the reassessment or abandonment of many paradigms that once dominated the archaeology of these regions. This session aims to bring together scholars working across regions such as these in Central and Eastern Asia. In looking at contact and exchange presenters in this session will not only focus on the movement of goods and raw materials, but will also explore spatial patterning in the transmission of ideas and technology, and the social behavior of objects throughout these regions during the prehistoric and early historic periods.

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-9 of 9)

  • Documents (9)


  • The Bead Strings with Jade Huang Pendents of the Zhou Period of China: Revived Tradition or Adopted Fashion (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396210] Tsuimei Huang.

    Among the numerous neck/chest ornaments consisting of jade huang pendants (arc-shaped jade pieces) in Chinese archaeological finds, two distinct groups are most noteworthy: the Neolithic (5th-3rd millennia BCE) necklaces from the lower Yangzi valley and the early 1st millennium bead strings of Western Zhou period in the mid and lower Yellow River Valley. Due to the fact that huang pendant is mentioned in Chinese texts as important ancient ritual paraphernalia, these unique artifacts have become...

  • Beauty and Adornment in Fertile Lands and Desert: Toiletries from burials of Han China and her Western Neighbors (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396206] Sheri Lullo.

    This paper presents preliminary research that compares toiletry sets and other items of personal adornment from burials within the political boundaries of Han dynasty China (206 BCE-220 CE) to those found at contemporaneous sites near the westernmost periphery of the empire. Toiletry sets of the Han elite are commonly enclosed in rounded lacquer cases and include items such as bronze mirrors, combs, boxes with cosmetic powders, hair accessories, and other personal possessions. Comparison of...

  • Contact and Exchange in Northern China: A Case Study on the Tomb of a Zoroastrian Priest, Kang Ye (512-571 CE) (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396209] Mandy Jui-man Wu.

    In 2004, the grave of Kang Ye was discovered in present day Xi’an, China. According to the epitaph, Kang Ye was a descendant of the kings of Kangju (Kang state, modern Samarkand) and a Zoroastrian priest living in the Northern Zhou kingdom. Inside the tomb were traces of ashes suggesting that Zoroastrian fire ritual had been performed. The skeletal remains were placed over a stone couch-shaped deathbed embellished with ten scenes in linear Chinese-style carvings. Currently, these individual...

  • Diplomacy, Trade and Power Dressing on the Periphery of the Han Empire (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396207] Leslie Wallace.

    Dress serves as a potent marker of political, cultural and social identity for both the living and the dead. This paper investigates two very different "social skins" worn by elites after death focusing on the silk cap, tunic and dress found in Krugan 6 at Noin Ula in northern Mongolia (early first century CE) and the jade burial suit worn by Zhao Mo (d. 122 BCE), the King of Nanyue, who was buried in the south of China in modern Guangzhou. Although separated by time and navigating different...

  • Into the Distance: Initial observations from the Dornod Mongol Survey (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396211] Joshua Wright. William Honeychurch. Amartuvshin Chunag.

    We will report on the initial fieldwork of the Dornod Mongol Survey, an ongoing project in Southeastern Mongolia. This paper will discuss inhabitation and the integration and construction of social landscapes through time, touch upon our methods for recovering this data and ways in which we use it. The structure of our project allows us to challenge the frontier identity of this region in several time periods through chronological frameworks, scales of interaction and integration. Our focus...

  • Local Communities in the Northeastern Frontier of the Central Plain during the late second and early first millennium BC (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396212] Yan Sun.

    This paper will discuss how local communities in the northeastern frontier of China used metal artifacts and mortuary practice to articulate identity and delineate their cultural and political affiliations among themselves in the region and with polities in the Central Plain during the late second and early first millennium BC, which was a period that witnessed the rise and expansion of state powers in the Central Plain, namely, the Shang and Zhou. Previous studies examined material culture from...

  • Pastoral Communities Thrived in a Rocky Valley of the Tian-Shan Mountains--New Survey Results of the Dense Pastoralist Sites in the Mohuchahan Valley of Xinjiang, China (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396208] Yu Qi Li.

    Newly identified pastoral sites in the Mohuchahan Valley have the potential of preserving 3000 years of pastoral settlement history in the middle section of the Tian-Shan Mountains. Located between a rich high-elevation meadow and a low-elevation oasis, this seemly barren valley might have served as an ideal residing place for numerous generations of local nomads. The scale and density of the burials and settlements they left suggest the communities once thrived here in ancient times probably...

  • Territorial Barriers in Central Asia: Investigating the "long wall" of Bukhara (Uzbekistan) (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396213] Sören Stark.

    Territorial barriers are a widespread phenomenon in many micro-regions of Western Central Asia where they specifically take the shape of large-scale oasis walls, surrounding the entirety or large parts of the agricultural hinterland of important urban centers vis-à-vis stretches of desert or desert-steppe in the region. Nonetheless, starting with their dating, our understanding of these sizable monuments is still very insufficient. The most monumental and best preserved one of these territorial...

  • Why moving starch? Trans-Eurasian exchange of starchy crops in prehistory (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 396214] Xinyi Liu.

    Scholarly interest has increasingly focused on an episode of Old World globalization of food resources that significantly predates the ‘Silk Road’. The impetus behind this growth of interest has been the expansion of bio-archaeological research in Central and East Asia over the past decade. This paper considers the agents responsible for the food globalization process in prehistory and the forms they took. One of the key aspects of the Trans-Eurasian movements of crops in prehistory was that the...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America