© 2017

The Burial Record of Prehistoric Liangshan in Southwest China

Graves as Composite Objects


  • Focuses on the burial record of the culturally diverse Liangshan region in Southwest China

  • Presents a new model and method of analysis for burial material

  • Highlights the relationship between burial data and past identities


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Anke Hein
    Pages 1-7
  3. The Model and the Material

  4. Applying the Model

  5. Evaluating the Model and the Data

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 327-327
    2. Anke Hein
      Pages 367-376
    3. Anke Hein
      Pages 377-378
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 379-534

About this book


This book proposes a new model and scheme of analysis for complex burial material and applies it to the prehistoric archaeological record of the Liangshan region in Southwest China that other archaeologists have commonly given a wide berth, regarding it as too patchy, too inhomogeneous, and overall too unwieldy to work with.

The model treats burials as composite objects, considering the various elements separately in their respective life histories. The application of this approach to the rich and diverse archaeological record of the Liangshan region serves as a test of this new form of analysis.

This volume thus pursues two main aims: to advance the understanding of the archaeology of the immediate study area which has been little examined, and to present and test a new scheme of analysis that can be applied to other bodies of material.


burial records in China human burying behavior megalithic graves in the Liangshan Region mortuary archaeology life history of graves methods of analysis of burial materials model of graves methods in burial archaeology burial material and the landscape

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

About the authors

Anke Hein holds the Peter Moores Associate Professorship for Chinese Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford. She is an anthropological archaeologist focusing on pre-historic and early historic China. In 2013, she received her doctorate at the Interdepartmental Program in Archaeology at UCLA with a thesis entitled, "Cultural Geography and Interregional Contacts in Prehistoric Liangshan (Southwest China)." Her work in the region has resulted in publications in top-tier journals such as Quaternary International and Asian Archaeology, and in important Chinese archaeological journals such as Sichuan Wenwu. Her interest in questions of inter-cultural contact is reflected in an edited volume on The “Crescent-Shaped Cultural-Communication Belt”: Tong Enzheng’s Model in Retrospect that was published in 2014. She has been involved in archaeological and ethnographic work in the mountains of Southwest China for many years. In her newest research project, she is turning her attention to another expression of group identities reflected by focusing on patterns of ceramic production and usage in prehistoric Northwest China.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Burial Record of Prehistoric Liangshan in Southwest China
  • Book Subtitle Graves as Composite Objects
  • Authors Anke Hein
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-42383-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-82566-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-42384-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 534
  • Number of Illustrations 103 b/w illustrations, 58 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Archaeology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“For specialists of southern Chinese prehistoric archaeology, it is an indispensable compendium that complements other works in Hein’s impressive portfolio of research.” (Annie Chan, Asian Perspectives, The Journal of Archaeology and the Pacific, Vol. (60) 1, 2021)