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Isolation and Connection: New Progress and Interpretation of Sanxingdui Culture with Zhao Hao

November 3, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Bunche Hall 10383, 11282 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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The Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA is pleased to announce a lecture by Zhao Hao titled Isolation and Connection: New Progress and Interpretation of Sanxingdui Culture. The talk will take place on Friday, November 3, 2023 from 1:00–3:00 pm in Bunche Hall 10383.

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Abstract: The archaeological discoveries made at the sacrificial area of the Sanxingdui site in 1986 led to the recognition of the importance of the Sichuan Basin in the Chinese Bronze Age civilisation system. However, as the site was not fully excavated at that time, it also gave rise to a series of long-standing controversial issues. With the help of new excavation methods and techniques, a new round of archaeological excavations at the Sanxingdui site in 2021-2022 yielded more comprehensive archaeological information. These materials provide us with a more accurate understanding about the date of the sacrificial area, the formation process of the deposit in the sacrificial pits, as well as new clues for speculating on the possible historical background leading to the formation of the sacrificial area. The formation process of the deposit in the ritual pits shows obvious human activities with the attitude of respect and orderliness, which should be a stage of conscious ritual activities carried out by the ancient people, rather than a consequence of conflict and war. The C14 dating of the large number of bamboo charcoal samples in the sacrificial pits confirms that a single and large-scale sacrificial event took place around 1050 BC, which was also the time of the major political change in the Central Plains. Whether there is a connection between the two has also given us new room for imagination. In addition, in conjunction with the discovery of Bronze Age sites in other parts of China, we can see a wide range of cultural links between Sanxingdui and Central Plains, middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Northwest of China, Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, and the more distant coastal regions. Sanxingdui may have played the role of a central hub for early Chinese economic networks in the Southwest region.

About the Speaker: Zhao Hao is an Associate Professor at the School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from Peking University from 2004 to 2011, and his Ph.D. degree in archaeology from Stanford University in 2017. He was awarded the annual dissertation prize by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) in 2019. His main areas of research are Bronze Age archaeology and handicraft archaeology. He has participated in the field excavation and research of important archaeological sites such as the Western Zhou bone workshop site at Yuntang, the Eastern Zhou bronze foundry at Guanzhuang and the Proto-Qin culture site at Dabaozi. Since the February 2021 to the present, he has been leading the Peking University archaeological team to participate in the excavation of the Sanxingdui site in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, and has been mainly in charge of the field excavation and research of the sacrificial pit No. 8.


November 3, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Center for Chinese Studies
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Bunche Hall 10383
11282 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
+ Google Map