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  • Dr Xiuzhen Li
  • Honorary Senior Research Associate
  • xiuzhen.li@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Xiuzhen Li

Xiuzhen has extensive experience in field archaeology, including the excavation and the survey of three pits within the Qin Terracotta Army site, as well as other sites in China and the UK. As curator from the Chinese party, she organised several Terracotta Warriors’ exhibitions, including the First Emperor Exhibition at the British Museum.

She currently works as a Senior Archaeologist in the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, leading archaeological excavations and international cooperative research projects.

She is also involved in the Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army project which is being carried out between the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum and UCL Institute of Archaeology. This project focuses on the large quantity of bronze weapons that equipped the Qin Terracotta Army, using multi-disciplinary methods in order to understand the standardisation and labour organisation employed in the workshop processes; the casting and finishing technologies employed by artisans; and the further transportation and arrangement of these weapons within the pits of the Terracotta Warriors which protect the Qin First Emperor in the after-life. The project was adopted by the British Academy in 2012 as an “Academy Research Project”, in recognition of “the excellence of its scholarship, and the promise and excitement of its programmes.”

Research Interests

  • Chinese archaeology, especially the Qin Terracotta Army
  • Archaeological science, material analysis
  • Multi-disciplinary methods, statistical and spatial methods
  • Standardisation and labour organisation employed during the manufacture of the Qin Terracotta Warriors
  • Using Scanning Electron Microscopy to study tool marks
  • Bronze weapons
  • Museum exhibitions

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