Mapping Qijiaping: New Work on the Type-Site of the Qijia Culture (2300–1500 B.C.) in Gansu Province, China

Andrew Womack, Yitzchak Jaffe, Jing Zhou, Ling yu Hung, Hui Wang, Shuicheng Li, Pochan Chen, Rowan Flad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent work at the Qijia Culture type-site of Qijiaping in the Tao River valley of Gansu Province, China, has shed light on the complex nature of this early Bronze Age site. Situated at the intersection between the mixed pastoralists of eastern central Asia and the agriculturalists of China’s northern Central Plain, Qijia peoples absorbed, evolved, and transmitted products and technologies that shaped cultural developments in both directions. The Tao River Archaeological Project (TRAP) used a combination of surface survey, geophysics, digital mapping, and targeted excavation to expand our understanding of the multicomponent nature of Qijiaping. This included identifying potential habitation, mortuary, and production locales; examining site-wide ceramic use; mapping anomalies through geophysics; and further exploring these through targeted excavations. The results have expanded our knowledge of the site structure of Qijiaping and its place in the wider Qijia interaction sphere, while also confirming the usefulness of this methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-502
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are very grateful to the following individuals for their contributions to the project: Liu Bingbing and the staff of the Gansu Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Li Xinwei, Guo Zhiwei, Zhang Hai, Wu Xiaohong, Jin Guiyun, Tang Shiqian, Zhao Zhigang, Timothy Horsley, Kate Brun-son. We are also grateful to the many graduate students who have joined us in the field or otherwise contributed to this work: Jada Ko, Christopher Kim, Lele Ren, Eric Carlucci, Rita Dal Martello, Chris Foster, Zhang Handong, Wan Xiang, Ai Wanqiao, Li Yongde, Yu Pu, and Chen Pin. We would also like to thank the following institutions for their generous support of our fieldwork: The Asia Center at Harvard University, The DigitalGlobe Foundation, and the American School of Prehistoric Research. Finally thank you to the people of Qijiaping for their support of our work in their fields and constant generosity year after year.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Science Foundation [grant number 1541275].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Trustees of Boston University 2017.


  • Early Bronze Age
  • GIS
  • Qijia culture
  • magnetometry
  • northwest China
  • surface survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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