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Ref ID: 27009
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Liu, Ruiliang
Bray, Peter
Pollard, A. M.
Hommel, Peter
Title: Chemical analysis of ancient Chinese copper-based objects: past, present and future
Date: 2015
Source: Archaeological Research in Asia
Abstract: The primary aim of this paper is to track the history of quantitative chemical analysis on Chinese copper-based metal objects and suggest a future outlook. The beginnings of this subject can be traced to the 1770s. Its overall history can be divided into five stages. By considering the different interpretational contexts in each of these stages, we show that all have made a significant contribution to our knowledge of the chemistry of copper alloy objects in China, and in broader terms to understanding the archaeology of China. Thanks to the sustained efforts of our predecessors, a substantial database of chemical and isotopic information has been created for present scholars, which we summarize here. We suggest, however, that this database contains a great deal of invaluable information which has yet to be fully explored. Moreover, given the scale of the Bronze Age in China, we also suggest that there is a great deal of more analytical work required before we can truly interpret the role of metal in Bronze Age Chinese society. This historical review also suggests that dialogue between related disciplines is a crucial factor in this area, and one which is vital in capitalizing the work already achieved.
Date Created: 9/26/2017
Volume: 3
Page Start: 1
Page End: 8