My Life as an Archaeologist

By Zhan, Guo | UNESCO Courier, July 1985 | Go to article overview

My Life as an Archaeologist


Zhan, Guo, UNESCO Courier


My life as an archaeologist

WHEN I entered Beijing University in 1973 to study archaeology, a whole new world opened up for me. I received a rigorous training in how to excavate and carry out archaeological surveys. Our teachers taught us not only how to unearth specific parts of ancient ruins but also principles of excavation work on large archaeological sites. As fieldwork I took part in the excavation of the Qin Dynasty E-fang Palace Ruins in Shanxi, of Stone Age ruins at Hong Hua Tao in the middle reaches of the Yangtse River, and worked on the site of the ancient capital of Qi City State of the Spring and Autumn period in Linzi, Shandong Province. Looking back now, I realize that these ruins where we beginners were allowed to work were not of the greatest importance, and yet working on a real archaeological site gave me practical experience and awakened in me a deep interest in my studies.

Apart from fieldwork, we also studied classical Chinese, ancient Chinese characters, the ancient history of China, major archaeological themes from each period of Chinese history, photography, cartography, the history of ancient architecture, the history of the different nationalities, philosophy and political science.

When I graduated in 1976, I was assigned to work in the Science and Technology Research Institute for Relics Protection affiliated to the State Relics Administration Bureau. The Institute is chiefly concerned with the conservation of all kinds of historical remains using modern technology, and the preservation and maintenance of ancient monuments. Along with some other staff members I was given the job of launching a brand-new subject: seismological archaeology. (First of all, we archaeologists working along the Yangtse River provided hydrological data relating to the last 2,000 years as reference material for the construction of hydrological projects. We thus opened up another new branch of science, hydrological archaeology).

In 1976, an earthquake in Hebei Province literally flattened the city of Tangsham. Hundreds of thousands of people were injured or lost their lives, and the after-shocks threatened the safety of Beijing and another greaty city, Tianjin. What were the possibilities that Beijing would be devastated by an earthquake in the very near future? This was a question of nationwide concern.

Research into earthquakes must be based on an examination of the earliest possible historical documents. In this respect China is fortunate because all over the country there are documents and steles from ancient times bearing records of seismic activities. Together with the many ancient monuments which have survived earthquakes, these were valuable materials for us to study. The varying degrees of damage sustained by ancient monuments in different parts of Tangshan due to differences in the magnitudes of the earthquakes provided evidence which we were able to process scientifically. Seismological archaeology had begun.

Between 1976 and 1979, my colleagues and I travelled extensively in disaster-hit Tanghshan, on both sides of the Great Wall in northern China, in Beijing and Tianjin, and completed our research. The results of our efforts were compiled in a book entitled "Seismic Archaeology in Beijing" which has won wide acclaim from our fellow professionals. From this experience I learned about the many-sidedness of archaeology and its close links with other branches of science.

In 1979 I took a graduate course in the history of the Yuan Dynasty at the Academy of Social Sciences. This opened a new page in my archaeological career and ended my work in seismic archaeology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

My Life as an Archaeologist
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.