Cooking cereals in prehistoric China

A project looking at the history of crops in prehistoric China has identified differences in regional diets and changes over time, which may be connected to varying cooking practices in these areas.


Earliest evidence for ball games in Eurasia

Three leather balls have been discovered in the prehistoric Yanghai cemetery in north-west China that pre-date by several centuries all existing evidence of ball games in Eurasia.


Object Lesson: Selden Map of China

What is it? This late Ming dynasty map depicts China, the South China Sea, and surrounding lands. It was drawn in the early 17th century on three sheets of paper by an anonymous cartographer with an eye for detail. Measuring 158cm in length and 96cm in width, the map is too big for practical use […]


Review: China – visions through the ages

China: visions through the ages Lisa C Niziolek, Deborah A Bekken, and Gary M Feinman (eds) University of Chicago Press, $45 ISBN 978-0226385372 People across China’s vast and diverse landscape have long been creating works in a range of materials, such as bronze, jade, porcelain, and paint, and the results of their handiwork can be […]


Army of the dead

Around 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses were created in battle formation to protect the burial place of China’s first emperor. But what can modern technology reveal about these faithful soldiers?


CWA travels to Beijing

Tom St John Gray goes in search of the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. With limited Chinese, I boarded a bus at a busy terminal in Beijing. My destination was one of the most celebrated and imposing of World Heritage Sites, the Great Wall. After being warned about the tourist trap of […]


World’s oldest primate skeleton found

A tiny skeleton dating back 55 million years is the oldest primate fossil ever found, shedding new light on human evolution, researchers say. Found in sedimentary rock from ancient lake bed in Hubei Province, central China, the fossil belongs to a previously unknown genus and species, dubbed Archicebus achilles by the international team who identified it. The bones […]

Palm reading

Before rice cultivation became prevalent in China, prehistoric inhabitants of its southern coast probably relied on sago palms as a staple food, according to new research published in PLOS ONE. Previously, little was known of this region’s ancient diet, as its acidic soils and humid climate hinder the preservation of plant remains. Now, however, Xiaoyan […]

Prehistoric food processors

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has pushed back agriculture in China by 12,000 years. The roots of agriculture are traditionally traced to tools used to grind seeds in the Middle East around 23,000 year ago. Now research led by Li Liu, Stanford University’s professor of Chinese archaeology, has […]


Practical Peking Man

Also more sophisticated than previously thought is Peking Man, who may have made clothing and composite tools, archaeologists say. A subset of Homo erectus living in China c.200,000-750,000 years ago, the existence of Peking Man was revealed between 1929 and 1937 when a number of fossils, mostly from skulls, were excavated at Zhoukoudian, 55km (34 […]


Core of the matter

Archaeologists have identified a 30,000-year-old stone tool as China’s earliest-known engraved object – a key marker in the development of modern human behaviour. Found at Shuidonggou in the 1980s, the 68mm-long (2.7in) core’s significance was realised during recent analysis of the site’s stone assemblage by Professor Gao Xing and Dr Peng Fei from the Chinese […]


Tombs with a view

More cutting-edge technology has been put to use by Scottish experts in China, creating 3D models of the Eastern Qing Tombs, the final resting place of China’s last Imperial dynasty. Designated a World Heritage Site in 2000, the necropolis was in use from AD 1666-1911 and houses 15 tomb complexes containing the remains of emperors, […]

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