Activity and Process in the Formation of Hongshan Period Chiefly Communities: Collaborative First Stage Archaeological Field Research in Liaoning Province, PRC


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Postodctoral Fellowships (North America)


Art History and Archaeology


Recent studies in the Chifeng region of Inner Mongolia have documented a dozen small Hongshan period (4500-3000 BC) chiefly communities centered on sites with monumental architecture. Smaller-scale intensive study of surface artifacts from one, Fushanzhuang, has revealed household differences in economic specialization, status, and wealth. Economic specialization and higher status do not, however, neatly co-vary. Two independent social hierarchies– one based on wealth accumulation via specialization, the other on ritual authority– were present there. Hongshan period centers in nearby Liaoning Province are more impressive than those in Chifeng, although information on the scale and structure of the communities that built them is lacking. Methods used in Chifeng can help redress this situation. By systematically mapping all Hongshan settlement around one Liaoning center, its community’s extents can be delineated and its population estimated for comparison to those of Chifeng. Artifacts from some areas of Hongshan occupation will be surface-collected. Sub-surface mapping using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) will show the arrangement of structures and other features invisible on the surface. GPR-targeted excavations will provide information on a small sample of desirable features and provide samples for radiocarbon dating. Analyses of surface-collected and excavated artifacts will show whether economic specialization was more developed in Liaoning than in Chifeng, and if a similar relationship between specialization, wealth, and status existed as at Fushanzhuang.