Daily life and ritual at Yanshi Shangcheng: Subterranean deposition and the puzzle of blended deposits

Author(s): Katrinka Reinhart

Year: 2017


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 uncritically assigned to categories such as "ash pit" or "sacrificial pit" (ordinary versus special deposits). In this paper, I investigated deposition in two areas of the Yanshi Shangcheng site, a walled elite area and an artisan residential/work area. In this presentation, I will illustrate that some depositional features defy neat identifications, problematizing categorization that assumes a universal definition of "refuse" and that separates ritual and daily life into two distinct spheres of practice. I will question whether a mundane/ritual dichotomy is appropriate for understanding early Bronze Age life in northern China. I also considered archaeological methods (excavation, recording, reporting, and analysis) if to enable a more critical approach to daily life and ritual in the early Bronze Age of northern China.

Cite this Record

Daily life and ritual at Yanshi Shangcheng: Subterranean deposition and the puzzle of blended deposits. Katrinka Reinhart. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431611)


China Deposition Ritual

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16676