Institute of Archaeology


Sanxingdui Bronzes and Metallurgical Network in the Shang Dynasty

17 January 2024, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

A dark-haired man with glasses sitting in front of a bookshelf and a window with greenery outside

Professor Jianjun Mei (Needham Research Institute & McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge) will give an ICCHA Public Lecture at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 17 January.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA)


Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6
UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

This in-person event, the 20th Anniversary Lecture of the International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA), will take place in Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6, ground floor of the UCL Institute of Archaeology. This public lecture is free and open to all. All welcome! 


Since their discovery in 1986, scholars have carried out considerable in-depth research work on the Sanxingdui bronzes, including scientific analyses, revealing a series of characteristics of manufacturing technology and materials. With the revelation of these characteristics, the relationship between the Sanxingdui bronzes and bronze cultures in the surrounding areas has become a key issue that perplexes the academic circle. Many scholars have expressed their views on this. Some believe that the Sanxingdui bronzes are closely related to metallurgical traditions in the Central Plains or the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, while others emphasize their local or indigenous cultural characteristics. This talk will first review previous scientific research work on the Sanxingdui bronzes, especially the research results obtained in recent years, and will then discuss the regional characteristics of bronze metallurgy in the Shang Dynasty and the technical connections and cultural interactions between different regions. Finally, it will examine the position of the Sanxingdui bronzes in the metallurgical network of the Shang Dynasty, and point out that the regional metallurgical innovations based on the local religious or ideological systems could have acted as a driving force behind the emergence and prosperity of the Sanxingdui bronzes.

About the Speaker

Professor Jianjun MEI is the Director of the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge. He holds concurrent positions as Director of Research at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge; Visiting Professor of the University of Science and Technology Beijing; Editor-in-Chief of the editorial board for Advances in Archaeomaterials. He has also served as a member of the editorial board for journals such as Archaeometry, Journal of Archaeological Science, Kaogu (Archaeology), Kaogu xuebao (Acta Archaeologica Sinica), Xiyu yanjiu (Studies of the Western Regions), and Ziran kexueshi yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences). His primary research interests are the history of metallurgical technology in China and the history of scientific and technological exchanges between China and other countries. He has published three monographs and more than one hundred academic papers in both Chinese and English.