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Reference: Hein, A, (2016). The problem of typology in Chinese archaeology. Early China.Citable link to this page:


The problem of typology in Chinese archaeology

Abstract: Chinese and Western archaeologists (especially those of the anthropologically-oriented tradition) often seem to be talking past each other, not only because they are publishing in different languages, but also because of differences in theory and method. While most of the major theoretical works in Western languages are by now available in Chinese translations, hardly any English-language publications exist that explain Chinese approaches to archaeological method and theory. This article helps to bridge the gap by introducing the history of debates on archaeological method in China to a Western audience, focusing particularly on issues of typology and classification. Discussing in detail the merits—and issues—of approaches suggested by four of the most influential Chinese archaeologists (Li Chi, Xia Nai, Su Bingqi, and K. C. Chang), this article provides a deeper understanding of the preconditions of archaeological research in China. It also suggests future directions for archaeological work by local and foreign archaeologists, including but also going beyond the classification of the rich body of artifacts coming to light in Chinese excavations.

Peer Review status:Peer reviewedPublication status:PublishedVersion:Accepted ManuscriptNotes:Copyright © The Society for the Study of Early China and Cambridge University. This is the accepted manuscript version of the article. The final version is available online from Cambridge University Press at:

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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Journal: Early Chinasee more from them

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Issue Date: 2016Identifiers

Urn: uuid:76716374-343b-40ae-82c5-9d753735dadc

Source identifier: 606885


Issn: 0362-5028 Item Description

Type: Journal article;

Version: Accepted ManuscriptKeywords: classification typology China history of archaeology Tiny URL: pubs:606885


Autor: Hein, A - institutionUniversity of Oxford Oxford, SSD, Archaeology, Archaeology Institute grantNumberGolda Meir Postdoctoral Fell



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