Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army
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3d models and the faces of Qin?

We're excited to have just had another paper come out (you can find it in the Journal of Archaeological Science here) that describes how we have been building 3d models of the terracotta warriors and using them not simply for nice documentation and presentation, but also to try to address some thorny analytical questions too. The 3d modelling technique itself is an extremely promising one (derived from the fascinating filed of 'computer vision') which is fast becoming popular in archaeology since it was first introduced a couple of years ago (our project can claim to be an early adopter, but the first archaeological application is probably this one). I'll come back to the technique itself below, but the background rationale for why we might find such models useful for the Imperial Logistics project is also interesting. More...

Published: Jun 13, 2014 9:54:00 AM

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Staff


Andrew Bevan

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Andrew Bevan is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. His primary research interests include spatial analysis, computational modelling, craft specialisation, fieldwork techniques, early complex societies, theoretical approaches to value, landscape ecology and comparative anthropological methods. He has contributed to a wide variety of different projects worldwide, but with a geographic focus on Old World mid-latitudes and including previous research on Neolithic China, Chinese stone vessels and protohistoric urbansim in peninsular Thailand. He has been involved with UCL and the Terracotta Army Museum’s collaborative work on the bronze weapons from the tomb complex of the First Emperor since 2007, with a particular interest in how formal spatial modelling approaches can shed light on the crafting structures and logistical priorities behind the creation of this funerary monument, as well as on the wider workings of an early empire. He is Deputy Director of the Imperial Logistics Project.


Wei Cao

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Wei Cao is the Director of the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum. He was a senior researcher and deputy director at the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology before joining the Museum. In addition to his role as Director, he is an honorary researcher at the Centre of Ancient Civilisations of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and at Peking University, and a councilor of the Chinese Society of Ying-Shang Civilisation. He also supervises master and PhD students both in Northwest University and Shaanxi Normal University in Xian, China. Professor Cao has extensive experience in field excavation and Chinese archaeology. His main reserch interests focus on Chinese Bronze Age - the Shang and Zhou Dynasties and ancient Chinese bronze objects. He has been in charge of a variety of projects, including the Foundation of the Tang Famen Temple, a Sino-Italy cooperative field project at Doujitai, Baoji, a Western Zhou archaeological site at Zhouyuan, and a Xigong site at Hong Kong. Some other research projects under his leadership include the Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project, Oracle Bone Inscripitons found in Zhouyuan, Research on Life, Culture and Enviorment of pre- Qin and Han dynasties at Hetao Area, and Historical and Environmental Changes at the Reaches of the Feng River. All of these projects are reflected in his extensive publication record. Professor Cao was awarded the title of Shaanxi Provincial Expert with Outstanding Contributions, and some of his publications have received provincial and national awards.


Xiuzhen Janice Li

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Xiuzhen Janice Li is a Senior Archaeologist at the Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, China. She has substantial experience in field archaeology, including the excavation of the Qin Terracotta Army, as well as further sites both in China and in the UK. Her research interests mainly focus on the application of multi-disciplinary methods to archaeological problems. Having obtained an Archaeology degree from Peking University in China, Dr. Li received an MA in Field Archaeology and a PhD in Archaeological Science from University College London. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher of the Imperial Logistics Project. Her PhD focused on the typological, metrical and spatial analyses of the bronze weapons that equipped the Qin Terracotta Army, with a view to understand standardisation and labour organisation.


Marcos Martinón-Torres

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Marcos Martinón-Torres is Professor of Archaeological Science and Material Culture at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. With degrees in history, archaeology and science, he is particularly interested in the combination of scientific analyses of archaeological materials, historical research and modern experiments to reconstruct ancient technologies. In addition to his work with the Terracotta Army project, some of his most prominent research has concentrated on European alchemical laboratories, and on the production and trade of metals in the pre- and post-Columbian Americas. His research students have worked in Europe, Africa, America, China and Southeast Asia, mostly on metallurgy but also on ceramic technology. He is the UCL scientist in charge for the EU-funded Narnia international training network and a keen contributor to media and public engagement activities. Marcos is the Director of the Imperial Logistics Project.


Thilo Rehren

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Thilo Rehren is Director of UCL Qatar, the first British university in Education City. Before moving to Doha in 2011, he worked for twelve years as Professor for Archaeological Materials and Technologies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in London, where he established a large research group of postgraduate students and staff studying archaeological materials, particularly glass, metals and ceramics. He also serves as Executive Director of ICCHA, the International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology, a joint setup between the School of Archaeology and Museology of Peking University in Beijing and the UCL Institute of Archaeology, and has published on a range of Chinese materials, from proto-porcelain and Tang sancai production to copper alloys, silver smelting and gold threads. Thilo has a PhD in Earth Sciences and a higher doctorate in Materials Science from universities in Germany, his native country. From 1990 to 1999 he worked at the German Mining Museum as research scientist at the Institut für Archäometallurgie, specialising in crucibles and the processes that require their use. He is particularly interested in combining scientific approaches with the study of past high-temperature technologies, and highlighting the many different ways in which people were improving their lives through observation and ingenuity. Thilo is the Chairman of the Imperial Logistics Project Committee.


Patrick Quinn

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Patrick Quinn is an archaeological material scientist using ceramic compositional analysis to interpret aspects of ancient material culture. He works in the prehistoric Mediterranean, pre-contact California, as well on British ceramics of various periods. His main research tools are thin section ceramic petrography and instrumental geochemistry. He provides specialist research training in petrography and operates a consultancy service. He has a diverse research background and publication history that includes, geology, marine ecology and interdisciplinary archaeology.


Yin Xia

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Yin Xia is the deputy director, a conservation scientist and an associate professor in the Conservation Department at the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum. He has a BA in Chemistry and an MSc in Conservation from the North-West University, China. He has been involved in many restoration and conservation projects since 1997. One of the important projects he has contributed to is the cooperative research between China and Germany on the conservation of the polychromy on the terracotta warriors. He also worked in the in situ conservation of other sites within the tomb complex, including the pit of stone armours and the pit of terracotta acrobats. During the last decade, his interests have mainly focused on the origin and development of ancient pigments, especially Chinese Blue and Chinese Purple. He has analysed samples of polychromy and pigments from over one thousand archaeological sites and museum collections.


Kun Zhao

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Kun Zhao is the Director of the Conservation Department at the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum. He is in charge of storage, conservation, exhibition and digital archiving. He has a BA in History from Jilin University, and a Masters in Heritage Conservation from Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. His research interests include the management of archaeological sites and artefacts, as well as digital archiving and 3-D modelling. He has several publications related to such issues, such as Future potential of 3-D modelling in archaeological sites, General discussion about the packing of antiques, and Preliminary discussion about digital museums. He has led a national research project on Packing and transportation of cultural relics.


Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army
UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK
+44 (0) 20 7679 7496 · terracotta-army@ucl.ac.uk