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Identifying Puyo Space in Archaeology

A Talk by Mark Byington, Harvard University

Thursday, May 31, 2007
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Royce 243
Los Angeles, CA 90095

After the thirteenth century much knowledge of the historical geography of the Manchuria region was lost or distorted. Also lost at this time was precise knowledge of the location and territorial extent of the ancient Puyo state (ca. 3rd c. BC to AD 346), which was the first state-level polity to emerge in the region to the northeast of Han China. As the earliest of a number of related polities that later rose in the Manchuria and Korea regions, the culture and history of Puyo is important for understanding how states in this region structured, conceived of and defined themselves. As such, the identification and analysis of the archaeological correlate of Puyo would be of significant use in gaining such an understanding.

During the 1980s archaeologists in northeast China identified ruins in the eastern outskirts of the city of Jilin as the remains of the Puyo capital city. The associated archaeological remains and their antecedents were accordingly defined as those belonging to the Puyo state and its pre-state forebears. However, no systematic efforts were made to analyze social change in the Jilin region or to explore the territorial extent of the Puyo state. The present study proposes to address the latter problem and explores the spatial extent of the Puyo polity, principally by examining the layout and orientation of defense arrays associated with the developing Puyo state. The results indicate that certain "stress zones" helped to delimit the territorial space controlled by the Puyo kings and that these frontiers were established through negotiation backed by the potential for military force

Mark Byington is a job candidate for the East Asian Archaeology position with the Cotsen Institute at UCLA.

(310) 794-4838

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Archaeology

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