The Liangshan region is located at the intersection of several cultural-geographic regions in Southwest
China; it is dominated by the towering Hengduan Mountains, whose northesouth oriented ridges
channeled the early exchange along China’s western frontier. The archaeological material from this region therefore provides an ideal case study for research on mechanisms of cultural contact and their
environmental preconditions. This paper unlocks the research potential of the Liangshan region by first
providing an overview of local prehistoric cultural developments and their geographic preconditions,
focusing on signs of outside contacts and their possible origin; in a second step, it suggests routes and
types of contact and their motivations. I argue that questions of cultural identity, inter-group contact, and
humaneenvironment interaction cannot be treated separately but have to be considered in combination.
At the same time, the case at hand shows that the environment is not just a limiting or determining
factor: even marginal environments can be used in a variety of ways and do not necessarily lead to
conflict among neighboring populations. I therefore argue that in the emergence of contact networks and
acceptance of foreign traits, cultural decisions are just as important as and sometimes even more
important than geographic preconditions.
Detailed analysis of tombstone fragments from the Dali Kingdom period found in the Tonghai area. Has a detailed reign table for Nanzhao and Dali Kingdom.
Abstract: The emergence of archaeology as an independent discipline during the early 1950s directly resulted in the establishment of three major archaeological journals – Wenwu (1950), Kaogu Xuebao (1951), and Kaogu (1955) – as outlets for information gathered in fieldwork; full site reports followed suit. Nowadays, we have roughly three dozen archaeological periodicals and surely more than a thousand monographs covering all areas and periods of Chinese (pre)history at our disposal. Said publications are our primary sources of information. However, the fact that they are anything but primary sources in a strictly methodological sense hardly gets acknowledged. In reality, excavation reports – preliminary as well as monographs – most often only provide a sample of actual data collected from archaeological sites. Consequently, we are constantly dealing with deliberate choices of editors on what particular information to divulge. This paper shall demonstrate that nature and quality of findings are the main decisive factors in this process. For instance, even looted tombs dating from the Zhanguo and Han periods yielding manuscripts generally take precedence over undisturbed graves discovered at the same cemetery simply because they contained manuscripts. Many conclusions concerning such burials are therefore based on a rather small number of published tombs while the often more representative majority of equally accessible graves remain unnoticed. In short, the paper is aiming to raise awareness for a pressing methodological problem. In doing so, it will address various rationales behind the practice of presenting selective evidence in excavation reports and suggest ways to cope with it.