Settlement Archaeology in Southeast China during the Han Dynasty: Limitations and Approaches

Author(s): Francis Allard

Year: 2015


As with other regions of China with limited settlement evidence, our understanding of life and developments in Lingnan (present-day Guangdong and Guangxi) during the Han dynasty relies in large part on contemporary texts and burial evidence – over 3000 Han dynasty graves have been identified to date in Lingnan. Although a number of non-funerary sites are now known, they offer only limited information about internal organization and function, the exception being the impressive Nanyue palace in Guangzhou. Along with reviewing the available information about such sites, this presentation considers different approaches to the study of Han dynasty settlement patterns in the absence of sufficient numbers of non-funerary sites. Relevant sources of information include: 1. The spatial distribution Han period burials; 2. Environmental considerations; and 3. Later texts with references to the region’s settlements and interaction with native populations. Together, these sources provide useful insights into a number of issues pertaining to the Chinese presence in Lingnan during the Han dynasty, including the extent of administrative and military control, and the nature of interaction with the many local groups that inhabited the region’s mountainous landscape.

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Cite this Record

Settlement Archaeology in Southeast China during the Han Dynasty: Limitations and Approaches. Francis Allard. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395839)


History settlement

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;