East Asian Archaeology Forum presents two Chinese Archaeological Science Lectures (March 27, 2019)

The BU Center for the Study of Asia’s East Asian Archaeology Forum and the BU CAS Archaeology  Program are pleased to present two lectures demonstrating cutting-edge developments in zooarchaeology and bioarchaeology in China:

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 from 11:15 to 12:45 pm

in the Gabel Museum of Archaeology, Stone Science Center STO253, 675 Commonwealth Avenue (at Granby St.), Boston University

A modest lunch will be served!

(1) From South to North in China:
New Developments in Zooarchaeological Research on Shell Midden Sites

by Prof. LYU Peng 吕鹏

Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing

(2) Bronze Age Dietary Strategies and Subsistence Patterns of the Yujia People in the Liaodong Peninsula, China: Evidence from Stable Isotope Studies

by Ms. WANG Yifan 王一帆

(MA Candidate in Archaeology, Shandong University, China)

The East Asian Archaeology Forum Lecture Series is supported by the Boston University Center for the  Study of Asia

From South to North in China: -New Developments in Zooarchaeological Research on Shell Midden Sites

Prof LYU Peng 吕鹏 (Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing)

Summary: Since the 1990s, zooarchaeology has developed rapidly in China, and the zooarchaeological study of shell midden sites reflects this development.

The publication of the book Shell Midden Sites in the Jiaodong Peninsula: Studies in Environmental Archaeology (胶东半岛贝丘遗址环境考古) opened to a broad audience the study of regional shell midden sites from a zooarchaeological perspective, and raised increased archaeological attention to coastal shell mound sites. With the zooarchaeological study of the shell midden sites along Yong river (邕江) in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, we have gained more understanding of the distribution and significance of shell midden sites along river systems. With the deepening of multi-disciplinary cooperation, we carried out a more comprehensive study on the subsistence strategy of the shell midden sites in an island environment, represented by the Xiaozhushan 小珠山遗址site on Guanglu 广鹿岛island in Liaoning province in northeast China.

LYU Peng is a Visiting Scholar in Archaeology at the Harvard-Yenching Institute during the 2018-2019 academic year. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where he currently works at the Institute of Archaeology. His research Interests are ancient human-animal relationship, ancient human-landscape interaction, zooarchaeological research on shell midden sites and origins and the introduction of domestic herbivores in ancient China. https://harvard-yenching.org/scholars/lyu-peng


Bronze Age Dietary Strategies and Subsistence Patterns of the Yujia People in the Liaodong Peninsula, China: Evidence from Stable Isotope Studies

Ms. WANG Yifan 王一帆 (MA Candidate in Archaeology, Shandong University, China)

Summary: How do we explore dietary patterns and lifeways of ancient people when food remains are not preserved in their archaeological sites? How do we study ancient animal and plant resource utilization? With these questions in mind, we have carried out stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human skeletons excavated from the Yujiacun Tuotou 于家村砣头 site cemetery. This cemetery, located a diminutive peninsula extending into the Bohai sea on the Liaodong Peninsula in northeastern China, was in use throughout the initial half of the Yujia upper phase (3300-3100 BP).

All of the 50 tombs excavated so far at this site were built using large stones and padded by small pebbles and dirt, and represent a series of mausoleums that were used over a long period. Each tomb or mausoleum contained multiple individuals, interred sequentially as each chamber was reopened to add new occupants. The occupants of each tomb were comprised of varying genders and ages, suggesting these were members of various generations of a family or clan.  The graves contained small amounts of funerary goods including potteries, stone, bone, bronze artifacts, and jade ornaments, but there was no significant evidence showing social stratification in the Yujia community.

The analyses show a primary dietary dependence on C4 foods (millet) and marine resource, while the use of other terrestrial resources could be feasible. These results of dietary reconstruction suggest that C4 plant cultivation and marine resource utilization were likely to have been the main lifeways for the Yujia people, most likely associated with the terrestrial hunter-gather strategies.

WANG Yifan is a M.A. candidate majoring in Archaeology at the History and Culture School at Shandong University, China. She is participating in the Harvard-Yenching Institute’s Training Program in Mesoamerican Archaeology for the 2018-19 academic year. Since receiving her B.A. degree from Shandong University with a thesis on stable isotopic analysis of animal remains from the Dinggong site (2600-2000 BP), Yifan has joined the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation Youth Program entitled “Comprehensive Stable Isotope Analysis of Prehistoric Human Bones and Animal Remains in Haidai Region.” She has conducted paleodietary research on human remains excavated from the Bronze Age site of Tuotou (3300 BP) by using stable isotope analysis. Her academic interests include paleodietary analysis, animal domestication, the origin and development of agriculture, social complexity and comparative civilization study on early religion. She is currently undertaking a comparative study between early civilizations in Mesoamerica and China in terms of elite art and religious ritual. https://harvard-yenching.org/scholars/wang-yifan