Out of sight and out of mind? The non-funerary burial of objects in early Southeast China

Author(s): Francis Allard

Year: 2016


The archaeological record of Lingnan (Guangxi and Guangdong) during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods includes many non-utilitarian objects buried singly or in small groups, in non-funerary contexts that suggest widely shared ritual beliefs. Examples include the so-called "stone shovels", the majority of which have been found in southern Guangxi, as well as a number of later bronze vessels and bells which appear to have originated in central and northern China. Importantly, many of these stone shovels and bronzes travelled within Lingnan along what were likely indirect exchange routes. The details of such objects’ depositional contexts suggest that even as knowledge of their specific origin and function were likely forgotten over the course of long-distance movements, they nevertheless played a ‘terminal’ role in generalized and widely-shared behaviors marked by the non-funerary disposal of ‘exotics’. This finding in turn points to the need to differentiate between generalized and specific ritualized behaviors, whose respective spatio-temporal ‘borders’ may not be coterminous.

Cite this Record

Out of sight and out of mind? The non-funerary burial of objects in early Southeast China. Francis Allard. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405012)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


China Prehistory Ritual

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

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