Guest Lectures

Upcoming Events


Past Events



Date: 5:30pm Thursday 15th Mar 2012

Venue: 612, Institute of Archaeology, UCL

Speaker: Dr. June Taboroff


Combating Government Fatigue How to Involve Civil Society in Heritage Conservation A Case Study from Hong Kong


Governments, including that of Hong Kong, are searching for ways to better conserve and manage heritage. Typically they are confronted with rising costs, redundant buildings, youth unemployment, and an indifferent citizenry. The presentation looks at options for engaging communities in heritage conservation, including national trusts and other civil society organisations. It draws some conclusions from lessons learned in countries such as the Malaysia, Turkey, and the UK in exploring the approaches being developed in Hong Kong. Speaker:

Dr. June Taboroff is a leading international specialist in culture in development, with a specialisation in the fields of local economic development and tourism. Over the course of her career she has worked in over 60 countries for the World Bank, UNDP, EU, UNESCO, EBRD, Inter-American Development Bank, Sida and other agencies, and has extensive experience of historic cities revitalization and participatory consultation.




Date: 4:30pm Thursday 19th January 2012

Venue: 612, Institute of Archaeology, UCL

Speaker: Dr Kuang-ti Li (Institute of History & Philology Academia Sinica, Taiwan)

Topic: First Farmers and the Early Neolithic Coastal Adaptation across the Taiwan Strait


More than three thousand modern Austronesian-speaking aborigines live in Taiwan. And since Taiwan is located on the northern margin of the Austronesian speaking zone, most scholars have paid a lot of attention to the possibilities of migration and cultural influence from neighboring regions. Basically, this talk is intended to investigate the first farmers in prehistoric Taiwan and their coastal adaptation when they first arrived and settled 5000 years ago. In addition, I would like to explore some archaeological evidence cross the Taiwan Strait around the same time period. Since no
archaeological evidence indicates that Neolithic cultures in Taiwan developed from the earliest Paleolithic inhabitants of the island, we must assume that Neolithic peoples in prehistoric Taiwan arrived initially at the coast. This talk will begin first with a brief review of prehistory in Taiwan and then present the archaeological remains recently unearthed and which can be dated to the time of the earliest Neolithic culture in southwestern Taiwan.
Archaeological evidence discovered at the sites of both Nan-kwan-li and Nan-kwan-li East in Tainan, southwestern Taiwan show that it was settled 5,000 years ago. It is an ideal location to provide essential evidence for studying how and why the first farmers settled in prehistoric Taiwan and their strategy of coastal adaptation. Second, archaeological evidence unearthed from the site of Damaoshan, located on the Dongshan Island in southeastern Fujian Province, China which can be dated to 4300-5000 B.P. will be discussed in the talk as well.
The study focuses on the interrelationships of human subsistence needs and available natural resources within this local environmental system. The talk will generate an understanding of broad cultural patterns as well as illuminate aspects of local prehistoric subsistence patterns and their coastal adaptation in this region along both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Furthermore, a theoretical consideration of how and why agriculture first developed in prehistoric Taiwan is also going to discuss in this talk.


Kuangti Li is an associate research fellow at Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica in Taiwan. His research interests mainly focus on the prehistoric settlement and subsistence patterns in Taiwan and its surrounding areas by using isotopic and zooarchaeological approaches. He is also interested in the research of environmental archaeology and topics with the relationship between diet and strategy of ancient food resources procurements. He is the co-PI of the rescue archaeological project at Tainan Science Park since 1999. His most recent research is a two-year
project of zooarchaeological study with the topic of “Testing prehistoric Hengchun inhabitants raise wild boar through morphometirc and isotopic signature.”




Date: 5:30pm Wednesday 5th October 2011

Venue: 410, Institute of Archaeology, UCL

Speaker: Professor Zhao, Zhijun

            (Institutue of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China)

Topic: Eastward spread of wheat into China: new data and new ideas

Abstract: Wheat originated in West Asia. After its introduction into China, it eventually became the dominant crop in Northern China, replacing the major native crops of foxtail millet and broomcorn millet. This resulted a significant change in cooking traditions in China, i.e., from boiling/steaming whole grains of rice or millets to grinding wheat powder. Yet, neither the time when it arrived in China nor the routes through which it was introduced are clear. The important role the so-called Silk Road played in cultural contacts between West and East during historical times has led to an assumption that the eastward spread of wheat into China followed a similar route. However, hard evidence to confirm this hypothesis, such as wheat remains, has been lacking. In the past ten years, flotation techniques have been introduced and implemented in Chinese archaeology. As a result, a tremendous quantity of plant remains has been recovered from archaeological sites in North China, providing new data about early wheat in the region. This new data provides direct archaeological evidence for the study of the eastward spread of wheat into China. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that wheat was most likely brought to China around 4500 BP. The new data also suggests several possible routes by which wheat may have been brought into China, such as the Eurasia Steppe route, through the Hexi Corridor, as well as along the coastal areas of South Asia and Southeast Asia.


ZHAO Zhijun is a professor at the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He received his Ph.D. degree in anthropology in 1996 from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with advanced work emphasizing archaeology, principally in paleoethnobotany. His research interest is focused on the origin of Chinese agriculture and economic background of the rise of Chinese Civilization, based on his paleoethnobotanical works. This involves a range of approaches from fieldwork to laboratory experiments. In the past ten years, he has participated in archaeological fieldworks to carry out flotation that involved about 80 archaeological sites distributed all over China. Zhao has published about 60 publications including articles and archaeological reports. His book entitled “Paleoethnobotany – Theories, Methods and Practice” was recently published by Scientific Press in Beijing.


20110207 Ofer introduced

*Prof. Thilo Rehren introduces Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef

Date: 2pm Monday 7th February 2011

Venue: 612, Institute of Archaeology, UCL

Speaker: Professor Ofer Bar-Yosef

            (Department of Anthropology, Harvard University)

Topic: The Transition to Cultivation in North and South China-A View from the Levant


Employing the model of the Levantine transition to farming because it has the best known archaeological, archaeobotanical and archaeozoological records in the world, I will describe the hypothesis (not originally mine) that the cultivation and eventual domestication of millet preceded that of rice. The model claims that increasing territorial population pressures in a particular region (“primary core area”) caused several tribal groups to become fully sedentary and intensify their food supplies by cultivation, while others became more mobile and widely dispersed. The change resulted from the increasing drying conditions of certain northern areas in China during the Younger Dryas, while they had only minimal affect on the southern, resources -rich region of China.


Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef is the George G. and Janet G.B. MacCurdy Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, Harvard University. From 1968-1987 he taught various courses in archaeology in Hebrew University and from 1988 to today at Harvard University. Since 1959, he worked as an archaeologist and participated actively in a wide range of excavations of prehistoric sites illuminating human cultural evolution. The sites are located in Israel, Sinai (Egypt), Turkey, Czech Republic, Republic of Georgia, and currently the People's Republic of China, at YuChanYan Cave in HuNan Province. His work added evidence for early human dispersals from Africa to Eurasia at the site of 'Ubeidiya in the Jordan Valley. More recently, as a co-director of a large Israeli-French-American research program, he spent two decades of field and laboratory research in Kebara, Qafzeh, and Hayonim caves in Israel providing evidence for early arrival of Modern humans in the Levant and the late invasion of Neanderthals in the Near East. He co-edited 18 volumes (including four major site reports) and authored, or co-authored over 300 papers and book chapters.

20110207 Ofer concluding

Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef concludes his lecture.

20110207 Ofer answer question

Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef answers questions




Date: 6pm Thursday 21th October 2010
Venue: G6, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
Speaker: Professor Yisan RUAN (Tongji University China)
Topic: The Conservation of China's Built Heritage: Goals and Challenges


The concept of conserving our built heritage is firmly established in developed countries, where financial and moral support are forthcoming from both government and the public. But in emerging nations such as China, where there is a pressing need to modernise, conservation professionals find themselves having to persuade the authorities and to raise public awareness of its importance. Professor Ruan will be discussing the conservation and regeneration of China's historic cities and the protection of water towns in the Yangtze River Delta in the light of China's current situation. He will illustrate his talk with examples from past and ongoing projects with which he has been involved.


Activity Pictures:


Prof. Ruan lecture (1)                                     Prof. Ruan lecture (2)


Prof. Ruan and translator                                the audience


Prof. Ruan and students                                  reception


Exhibition: Urban Heritage Conservation in China (1)


Exhibition: Urban Heritage Conservation in China (2)




Date: 4pm Wednesday 6th October 2010
Venue: 209, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
Speaker: Professor Zhengyao JIN (University of Science and Technology of China)
Topic: Recent Discoveris Concerning Metallurgy in Bronze Age Yunnan


Most of the Dian bronze are excavated in Shizhaishan site, lakeside of the Dianchi, and Lijiashan site, lakeside of the Fuxianhu, in the Central Yunnan Province. Unfortunately, no smelting or casting facilities have been excavated. To the extent that the bronze products have become the only source of our knowledge on the Dian bronze technology.

During the last five years, another important archaeological site Jinlianshan, located between the Dianchi and the Fuxianhu, was excavated. Among the unearthed objects from these graves in the site we found a lump of rare freshly smelted copper and stone moulds. Scientific evidence also provides a rich source of information for our understanding on the metal-producing capabilities of Bronze Age Dian workers, and some technique details of process from ore to usable metal, such as copper ore

type, the volume of furnace, control technique of furnace temperature and so on.


Date: 4pm 22 September 2009
Venue: 612, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
Speaker: Dr Tze-Huey Chiou-Peng (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Topic: New Dimensions in current study of bronze Age Yunnan: incorporation of metallurgical data



20090219Shan-exchange gift

Date: 4pm 19 February 2009
Venue: G6, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
Speaker: Dr Shan, Jixiang (Director-General of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People's Republic of China)
Topic: Chinese Cultural Heritage: current situation its future

Activity Pictures:


Prof. S. Shennan, Prof. Rehren and Dr. Wang welcome Dr. Shan


Dr Shan visits conservation lab


Dr Shan visits archaeobotany lab


Dr Shan visits archaeological science lab


audience welcomes Dr Shan's lecture


Dr Shan's lecture (Dr Wang Tao as a translator)


UCL Provost Professor Malcolm Grant thanks Dr Shan