The Wenxian Covenant Texts: Excavation Report and Monograph


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


East Asian Languages and Cultures


This study is based on work with the excavators of the Wenxian Covenant Texts to complete the excavation report for these materials, and will produce an English monograph on the texts. The covenants, excavated in 1980-81 in Henan, China, were brush-written on stone tablets and date to the early fifth century BC. They reveal the concerns of the head of the Han lineage as he consolidated authority in a time of disorder. The thousands of individualized pledges of allegiance also provide insight into the process by which this lineage moved towards statehood. Work is based at the Institute of History, Beijing, with frequent travel to the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Zhengzhou, for collaboration with the excavators on completion of the excavation report. The English monograph will provide fully annotated translations of the texts, along with interpretation of their content and language.