Biological Kinship and Cemetery Organization in Eastern Zhou Period China

Author(s): Tommy Budd

Year: 2018


The social significance of large kinship structures such as clans and lineages has been demonstrated throughout Chinese history, and kinship has in part determined social ties and participation in various social activities. Clan emblems appear on artifacts from as early as the Shang Dynasty, and kinship remains an important element of social identities in modern China. In relation to mortuary practices, kinship identities may affect factors such as mortuary assemblages and burial location. This study focuses on biological kinship as it relates to burial location in an Eastern Zhou Period (771-256 BCE) cemetery. This study utilizes a sample of 45 individuals from the site of Tiancheng in Xinzheng, Henan Province, China. Cervical odontometric data were collected, and measures of biological distance were calculated to examine the relationship between geographical and biological distances among the individuals interred across the site to address the question of whether burial location was influenced by biological relationships. Results are presented, and their significance with regard to an understanding of ancient Chinese kinship and burial practices is discussed.

Cite this Record

Biological Kinship and Cemetery Organization in Eastern Zhou Period China. Tommy Budd. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442903)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 70.4; min lat: 17.141 ; max long: 146.514; max lat: 53.956 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22438