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Shifting Memories: Burial Practices and Cultural Interaction in Bronze Age China: A study of the Xiaohe-Gumugou cemeteries in the Tarim Basin
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Skiftande minnen: Gravskick och kulturell interaktion i bronsålderns Kina : En studie av Xiaohe och Gumugou gravfälten i Tarimbäckenet (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on the burial practices in the Bronze Age Xiaohe-Gumugou cemeteries, north-west China, in order to understand how people constructed their social identities and delivered the social cognitions through generations. The Xiaohe-Gumugou cemeteries, as the main sites of the Xiaohe cultural horizon, have central roles for the understanding of the formation of the Bronze Age cultural groups and the cultural interactions between the west and the east in the Tarim Basin. However, current research is lacking in-depth examinations of the material culture of the cemeteries, and the contexts of the surrounding archaeological cultures in a timespan from Bronze Age to Iron Age. Through detailed comparisons of the construction of coffins and monuments, the dress of the dead, and the burial goods assemblages, this study provides an overview of the social structural development, from the Gumugou group’s heterogenous condition to the Xiaohe group’s homogeneous and mature state. Also, through relating to the results of biological and osteological analyses, and applying geographical analyses to the material, this study suggests that the early settlers in the Tarim Basin, the Xiaohe-Gumugou people have created their own social identities. Although the Xiaohe-Gumugou people might have migrated from southern Siberia or Central Asia, the archaeological material shows indications of their own typical features. When newcomers joined the society, the local burial customs were accepted and applied in a new cultural setting.

Abstract [sv]

Denna studie fokuserar på gravskick på gravfälten Xiaohe och Gumugou i nordvästra Kina, för att förstå hur människor konstruerade social identitet och överförde kulturella föreställningar mellan generationer. Xiaohe-Gumugou-gravfälten, som de viktigaste platserna i Xiaohe-kulturhorisonten, är centrala för förståelsen av bildandet av bronsålderns kulturgrupper och de kulturella växelverkningarna mellan väst och öst i Tarimbäckenet. Tidigare forskning saknar fördjupade undersökningar av gravfältens materiella kultur samt den historiska kontexten med de omgivande arkeologiska kulturerna under tidsperioden från bronsålder till järnålder. Genom detaljerade jämförelser av konstruktionen av kistor och monument samt de dödas klädsel och gravgåvor, ger denna studie en översikt över utvecklingen av sociala strukturer, från Gumugou-gruppens heterogena situation till Xiaohe-gruppens homogena och mogna tillstånd. Genom att relatera till resultaten från biologiska och osteologiska analyser och tillämpa geografiska analyser på materialet, tyder den här studien på att de tidiga bosättarna i Tarimbäckenet, Xiaohe-Gumugou-folket, har utvecklat egna sociala identiteter. Trots att Xiaohe-Gumugou-folket kan ha migrerat från södra Sibirien eller Centralasien visar det arkeologiska materialet indikationer på egna typiska egenskaper. När nykomlingar anslöt till samhället accepterades de lokala begravningssederna och tillämpades i ett nytt kulturellt sammanhang.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 97
Keywords [en]
Burial practice, mortuary rituals, social identities, ancestral memories, the Xiaohe-Gumugou cemeteries, Bronze Age, the Tarim Basin
Keywords [sv]
Begravningsseder, gravritualer, social identitet, släktminnen, Xiaohe-Gumugou gravfälten, bronsåldern, Tarimbäckenet
National Category
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-386612OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-386612DiVA, id: diva2:1328477
Subject / course
Archaeology
Educational program
Master’s Programme in the Humanities – Archaeology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-20 Last updated: 2019-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Appendix 4.1_Data of coffins in the Xiaohe cemetery(2 kB)14 downloads
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Appendix 4.2_Data of the dead in the Xiaohe cemetery(2 kB)15 downloads
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Appendix 4.3_Data of the locations of burial goods in the Xiaohe cemetery(2 kB)9 downloads
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Appendix 4.4_Data of the amount of burial goods in the Xiaohe cemetery(1 kB)10 downloads
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Appendix 4.5_Data of coffins in the Gumugou cemetery(3 kB)10 downloads
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Appendix 4.6_Data of the dead in the Gumugou cemetery(3 kB)10 downloads
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Appendix 4.7_Data of burial goods in the Gumugou cemetery(2 kB)7 downloads
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Appendix 4.8_Data of the sun-radiating-spokes burial pattern in the Gumugou cemetery(1 kB)10 downloads
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