Lifeways in Bronze Age China

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Academic interest in the Chinese Bronze Age has tended to focus on larger scale social processes, such as state formation, urbanization and technological change. This symposium seeks to broaden the understanding of the period by exploring the smaller scale processes that people engaged with in the daily lives. By covering Bronze Age lifeways, we hope to highlight the significance of bottom-up processes and their recursive relationship with the larger social transformations occurring at this time. This symposium will introduce recent archaeological discoveries relating to daily lived experience in Bronze Age China, covering topics such as houses and household activity, craft production, daily ritual practice, cooking and other aspects of quotidian life.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Back to the Earth: Construction and Closure of a Late Shang Dynasty Structure. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steffan Gordon. Hongbin Yue. Zhanwei Yue.

    Excavations at the locus of Tongle Huayuen in the Late Shang Dynast (ca. 1250-1046 B.C.E.) capital site of Yinxu, near the modern city of Anyang, uncovered the remains of a small aboveground earthen structure (2015ALNF1). The recovery of wall and ceiling remains, much of which displayed considerable fire-reddening, from refuse pits associated with building foundations provided the opportunity to examine non-elite, non-palatial architecture in greater detail than has generally been possible at...

  • A Comparative Study on Ceramic Production from Central Plain China and South China in Early Shang Dynasty (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hui Chen. Zhichun Jing. Changping Zhang. Weidong Hou.

    The site of Panlongcheng is located 450 kilometers south of Zhengzhou in present-day Hubei province serves as the join point between the Central Plain Culture and the Lower and the southern regions of Yangtze River. Unlike almost all of more than twenty bronzes vessel shapes are represented in the Panlongcheng finds, there are three different ceramic types discovered at Panlongcheng: Typical Central Plain style(Erligang style), local style and numerous stoneware/hardware(some glazed). In pursuit...

  • Daily life and ritual at Yanshi Shangcheng: Subterranean deposition and the puzzle of blended deposits (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katrinka Reinhart.

    At the early Bronze Age city of Yanshi Shangcheng (Henan, China), an important aspect of the lifeways of residents was the practice of depositing various sorts of materials underground. Pottery, human and animal bodies, implements, ornaments and other materials were deposited in pits, wells, ditches, and graves. These "depositional practices" resulted in a bounty for future archaeologists. However, deposition has been undertheorized in Chinese archaeology. Depositional features are often...

  • Foundations of Childhood: Bioarchaeology of Subadults at the Late Shang Capital of Yinxu (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lauren Ledin. Hongbin Yue.

    Oracle-bone inscriptions and pre-Han texts say little about children, making bioarchaeology the best available method to study childhood during earlier periods. In 2004, extensive excavations were carried out on building foundations in Dasikong Village, a Late Shang (c.1200-1046 BC) lineage neighborhood found on the outskirts of modern-day Anyang, Henan Province, China. This led to a uniquely high recovery of subadult remains as younger subadults are often found in and around foundations. For...

  • The Landscape of China’s Participation in the Bronze Age Eurasian Network (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Li Zhang.

    In the last decade, much has been learned about the network of interactions in Bronze Age Eurasia, and the importance of the steppe pastoralists in the creation of this network. However, the mechanisms that enabled societies in ancient China (both those bordering on and distant from the steppe) to participate in the Bronze Age Eurasian arena are still poorly understood. Based on the latest archaeological discoveries in China, this article focuses on the participation of four regions of ancient...

  • Late Shang Cooking and Cooking Technology from Yinxu, China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jasmine Sacharuk. Hongbin Yue.

    A great deal of effort has been dedicated to developing detailed ceramic chronologies at the late Shang capital of Yinxu (ca. 1200-1045 B.C.E.) in China, but there has been comparatively less focus on the specific, actual uses of ceramic vessels and the roles that they played in the day-to-day life of Shang citizens. Local cooking practices and cooking technology in particular, both of which are key aspects in household dynamics and cultural identity, hold the potential to reveal important...

  • Preliminary Results from a Multi-Methodological Approach on a Refuse Pit from the Middle Shang Period at Huanbei (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natasha Osing. Mengyang Wu. Yuling He.

    In the study of refuse pits from Bronze Age China, much effort has been invested in defining chronologies illustrated by ceramic typology, while overlooking the practices surrounding the usage of the pits. Our research is intended to capture and interpret depositional behaviors related to domestic ritual and social organization and transformation during the middle Shang period. We are presenting our preliminary results of a refuse pit (2016NEK0541H128) excavated at Huanbei (late 14th century –...

  • Pursuing the mineral sources of Yinxu bronze objects (BC13th-BC11th): study on the lead ingots from Anyang, China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Yu Liu. Jigen Tang. Jianyu Liu.

    The bronze objects played a more significant role in the formation of Chinese ancient civilization than any other early civilizations, especially in late Shang and Western Zhou dynasty (BC13th-9th). So far more than 2000 bronze vessels and thousands of other type bronze objects were excavated from Yinxu, the capital of late Shang dynasty (BC13th-11th), located in Anyang, Henan province. The discussion of the mineral sources of Yinxu bronze objects last a long time because of rare ingots found in...

  • Tianshanbeilu and the Isotopic Millet Road: Reviewing the Late Neolithic/Bronze Age Radiation of Human Millet Consumption from North China to Europe (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tingting Wang. YaoWu Hu. Benjamin Fuller. Dong Wei.

    The westward expansion of human millet consumption from north China has important implications for understanding early interactions between the East and West. However, few studies have focused on the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the vast geographical area directly linking the ancient cultures of the Eurasian Steppe and the Gansu Corridor of China. Here a Bronze Age isotopic study in China is presented about the key site of Tianshanbeilu, in eastern Xinjiang. The vast range of stable carbon...

  • Trace Metals in Soils as Indicators of Past Human Activities at Hanwangdu East, Anyang, China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Yi-Ling Lin. Yuling He. Zezhen Pan. Daniel Giammar.

    Through chemical analyses of soils, bones, and organic residues, archaeologists can identify anthropogenic impacts on environment at archaeological sites. In this research, we are interested in understanding if and how bronze production had impact on the environment during Bronze Age China. Soil samples from Hanwangdu East, a Middle Shang period site at Anyang, were analyzed by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The purpose of this project is to 1) evaluate if ICP-MS is...