Call for Papers: Emergence of Bronze Age Societies

17 December 2010


The International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA), Institute of Archaeology, University College London, Peking University and Baoji Municipal People's Government, Shaanxi province, China, invite scholars to participate in the conference 'Emergence of Bronze Age Societies: A Global Perspective'.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts has been extended to 31 January 2011. Successful candidates are expected to give a talk of 15 minutes and to present a poster of their research during a poster session. Individual posters are also welcome.

Conference details

The conference aims at enhancing our understanding of the background and development of Bronze Age societies on a global scale. It will trace the beginnings of the use of copper and bronze throughout Eurasia and beyond, and investigate the societies that developed metallurgy.

Questions to be raised include:

  • What constitutes a Bronze Age?
  • Which characteristics share early bronze using cultures?
  • Is the use of bronze sufficient to define a Bronze Age society?
  • What kinds of artefacts were predominantly produced?
  • Which technological solutions were found in different bronze-using cultures to source raw materials and to produce alloys and artefacts?
  • What was the role of cross-cultural exchange in the development of Bronze Age societies?

The conference especially seeks to provide a platform for integrating the achievements of Chinese archaeological research on the Bronze Age into a world wide context. For this reason the conference will be held in Baoji, Shaanxi province, China, where a major bronze producing centre was located 3000 years ago, and where one of the largest collections of bronze artefacts in all of Asia is stored.

Conference Topics

Bronze metallurgy and complex societies
  • Demography, socio economic aspects
  • Scale of production, specialisation of crafts, workshop organisation
  • Types of commodities produced
  • What makes a Bronze Age?
Contacts and trade
  • Cross-Eurasian/long distance contacts and their role in forming Bronze Age societies
  • Raw materials and bronze production
  • Invention, transfer and adaptation of technology and typology
  • Centre and periphery in metal production and metal use
  • Origin and development of bronze mining, smelting and alloying
  • Bronze casting technologies
  • Other metal working technologies
Bronze and ideology
  • Bronze and religion, mythology, and social hierarchy
  • Value, standardisation, and status


  • For researchers from outside China: Abstracts in English should be sent to
    Institute of Archaeology, UCL
    31-34 Gordon Square
    London WC1H 0PY, UK
  • For researchers from China: Abstracts in Chinese should be sent to
    Jianli Chen
    The School of Archaeology and Museology
    Peking University
    5 Yiehyuan Road, Haidian
    Beijing, 100871, China

Date: 08 to 12 November 2011

Venue: Baoji Museum of Bronzes, Shaanxi province, China

Conference languages: English/Chinese with translation

The conference proceedings will be published as a peer-reviewed volume.

Further details are available from Lukas Nickel.