Megasite Survey: Questions, Methods, and Practices in Guicheng Archaeology

Apr 6, 2022, 4:30 pm4:30 pm
202 Jones
East Asian Studies Program
Event Description

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Megasites pose special challenges to the archaeologists conducting field survey. The Guicheng city-site, measuring 8 sq. kilometers, was a prominent Bronze-Age metropolis situated in eastern Shandong Peninsula in the 10th -5th centuries BC. It also held a key position in a “frontier zone” at which a great deal of cultural exchange had taken place between a pro-Zhou population and the indigenous groups of the Shandong Peninsula known as the “Dongyi”. In five years from 2007 to 2012, our international collaborative team conducted thorough surveys of the Guicheng megasite extending to its surrounding settlement system on the Longkou plain. We adopted methods that suited the special site environment of Guicheng for the purpose of extracting the maxim amount of information along guidelines for regional surveys developed in the West, complemented by site-focused probing strategies used in China. The project yielded important information for understanding not only the intrasite political-economic organization of Guicheng itself, but also the complex cultural relationships on the eastern periphery of the Zhou world during the late Bronze Age.

Professor of Early Chinese History and Archaeology, and Faculty Director of the Tang Center for Early China, Columbia University. Li Feng is both a historian and a field archaeologist of Bronze-Age China. He is the author of Landscape and Power in Early China: The Crisis and Fall of the Western Zhou 1045-771 BC (Cambridge 2006), Bureaucracy and the State in Early China: Governing the Western Zhou (Cambridge 2008), Early China: A Social and Cultural History (Cambridge 2014), Guicheng: A Study of the Formation of States on the Jiaodong Peninsula in Late Bronze-Age China, 1000-500 BCE (Science Press, 2018), and co-editor of Writing and Literacy in Early China (co-edited; UW Press, 2011).