Materializing identity-A statistical analysis of the Western Zhou Liulihe cemetery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Questions of identity are of paramount importance in research of the Western Zhou period, both in the central plain and among its vassal states. Yet most research done to date has focused on the Zhou bureaucratic order and government. These analyses have been very successful in delineating political culture, administration, and kinship ties, and have provided important information on elite taste and customs. However, they have paid less attention to uncovering other social groupings and relations, and do not systematically address the ways in which local identities were exercised or displayed. This article presents a multivariate statistical analysis of the Liulihe cemetery of the Western Zhou state of Yan. This analysis uncovers new elements comprising the complex social makeup and identity of the Liulihe occupants. These findings provide a richer understanding of the Yan society compared with the traditional approach that centered on the delineation of Zhou political elements and ethnic characteristics. A more intricate society emerges, one not solely defined by the amount of Zhou style it exhibited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-67
Number of pages21
JournalAsian Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnicity
  • Identity
  • Mortuary practices
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Western Zhou

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • History
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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