Foodways and Feasting

Roles of food and feasting in the development of social complexity in the early Bronze Age of northern China. Research incorporates anthropological theories concerning food, power, and social inequality with various archaeological methods, including lipid and starch residue analysis, ceramic analysis, and quantitative analysis of mixed datasets.

Pottery Production

Technologies of pottery production at Yanshi Shangcheng and Anyang (early Bronze Age, northern China). Research at Yanshi involves comparison of pottery manufacture between elite and lower status contexts. Techniques include statistical analysis of ceramic data and micro-x-ray analysis of ceramic fabrics. Research at Anyang involves investigating uniformity in production jue wine-vessels relating to apprenticeship/learning in vessel making.

Craft Workers and Urban Development

The role of artisans in the development of early cities in northern China, growth and demographic changes at Yanshi Shangcheng. A shift away from focus from craft products (elite items and luxury goods) to social aspects of technology (development of skill, relationships between producer and consumer, social complexity in communities of artisans). Reinforces a move away from emphasis on the role of elites in development of sociopolitical complexity and rise of Chinese civilization.

Reconfiguring Ritual and Religion

Comparison of ritual practices between elites and artisans in northern China (Neolithic and Bronze Age). Traditional archaeological narratives of this region concern consolidation of elite power through monopolization of ritual, especially practices involving sacrifice, feasting, and divinatory communication with the supernatural realm. Material evidence of artisan sites at Yanshi Shangcheng contradicts the idea that elites held a monopoly on ritual.

Critical Heritage

Interplay between archaeological narratives, preservation of archaeological sites, and development of tourist destinations in China. Working hypothesis is that preferential preservation of elite areas at the expense of lower status areas is related, in part, to archaeological narratives about the past that foreground elites.