Project

Bioarchaeology of a Late Shang Neighborhood

Program

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Early Career Fellowships

Department

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

Abstract

Ongoing archeological excavations at the Late Shang (ca. 1250-1050 BCE) site of Yinxu have revealed an urban settlement with socially-stratified neighborhoods characterized by domestic areas, workshops, and cemeteries. Thousands of human skeletal remains have been uncovered in these cemeteries, providing direct access to information about the people who resided there. This project uses a bioarchaeological framework to explore everyday life within a neighborhood at Yinxu. By charting trends in osteological markers of health, activity, and trauma among individuals with varied statuses and identities, this study examines larger social issues such as inequality, division of labor, and interpersonal violence. This perspective ultimately enriches our understanding of the diverse lived experiences of the inhabitants of Yinxu.