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Faculty – Li Liu

Sir Robert Ho Tung Professor in Chinese Archaeology
liliu@stanford.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas

  • Archaeology of early China (Neolithic and Bronze Age)
  • Ritual practice in ancient China 
  • Cultural interaction between China and other parts of the Old World
  • Domestication of plants and animals in China
  • Development of complex societies and state formation
  • Settlement archaeology
  • Urbanism 

Education

  • 1994 Ph.D., Anthropology, Harvard University
  • 1987 M.A., Anthropology, Temple University
  • 1982 B.A., Northwestern University, Xi'an, China Major: Archaeology

Selected Publications

  • Archaeology of China: From the Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age  (Li Liu and Xingcan Chen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). 
  • The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. (It was translated into Chinese, published by Cultural Relics Press, Beijing, in 2007, and awarded as The Best Translated Book of Year 2007 in Archaeology, China) 
  • State Formation in Early China (Li Liu and Xingcan Chen). London: Duckworth, 2003. (It was translated into Korean by Jae-hoon Shim, and published by Hakyon munhwasa Press in South Korea in 2006).
  • Were Neolithic rice paddies plowed? -- Usewear analysis of plow-shaped tools from Pishan in the Lower Yangzi River region, China (Li Liu, Xingcan Chen, Lingrong Pan, Quan Min, and Leping Jiang). Vestnik 2012. 11(10):14-28.
  • Paleolithic human exploitation of plant foods during the last glacial maximum in North China (Li Liu, Sheahan Bestel, Jinming Shi, Yanhua Song, and Xingcan Chen). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1217864110
  • Plant exploitation of the last foragers at Shizitan in the Middle Yellow River Valley China: evidence from grinding stones (Li Liu, Wei Ge, Sheahan Bestel, Duncan Jones, Jinming Shi, Yanhua Song, Xingcan Chen). Journal of Archaeological Science 2011.38(12): 3524-3532.
  • State emergence in early China. Annual Review of Anthropology 2009. 38:217-232.
  • Academic Freedom, Political Correctness, and Early Civilization in Chinese Archaeology: the Debate on Xia-Erlitou Relations. Antiquity 2009. 83: 831-843.
  • Wild or Domesticated: Ancient DNA Examination of ancient Water Buffalo Remains from North China (Dongya Yang, Li Liu, Xingcan Chen and Camilla F. Speller). Journal of Archaeological Sciences 2008. 35: 2778–2785.
  • Evidence for the early beginning (c. 9000 cal. BP) of rice domestication in China: a response 2007 (Li Liu, Gyoung-Ah Lee, Leping Jiang, Juzhong Zhang). The Holocene 2007. 17 (8): 1059-106.
  • Rethinking Erlitou: Legend and history in Chinese archaeology (Li Liu and Hong Xu). Antiquity 2007. 81: 886-901.
  • “The products of minds as well as of hands”: Production of prestige goods in the Neolithic and early state periods of China. Asian Perspectives 2003. 42(1):1-40.
  • Ancestor worship: An archaeological investigation of ritual activities in Neolithic North China. Journal of East Asian Archaeology 2000. 2 (1-2): 129-164.
  • Who were the ancestors? -- The origins of Chinese ancestral cult and racial myths. Antiquity 1999. 73: 602-613.
  • Salt from southern Shanxi and the development of early states in China. In Salt Production in China in a Comparative Perspective, Salt Archaeology in China, vol. 2. Eds. by Shuicheng Li and Lothar von Falkenhausen, pp.43-65. Beijing: Kexue Chubanshe.
  • Caminos hacia la complejidad social en China (Pathways to Social Complexity in China), Early Processes and Expressions of Power, Identity, and Order in South America, Part II, a special issue of Boletin de la Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (Archeological Journal of the Catolic University in Lima Peru), pp. 379-403, eds. by Peter Kaulicke and Tom D. Dillehay. Boletin de Arqueologia PUCP, no 11, (in Spanish) 2010. (Liu, Li) New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.
  • L’émergence de l’agriculture et de l’élevage en Chine (The Emergence of Agriculture and Animal Domestication in China), in La révolution néolithique dans le monde (The Neolithic Revolution in the World). Ed. by Jean-Paul Demoule. Paris: CNRS Editions (in French), 2009.
  • On the provenance of white pottery of the Erlitou site: the significance of Sr isotopic analysis. In '09 Gutaoci Kexue Jishu 7 Guoji Taolunhui Lunwenji, '09 古陶瓷科学技术7国际讨论会论文集, (2009 Science and Technology on Ancient Ceramics: The 7th International Conference Proceedings), edited by Hongjie Luo 罗宏杰, pp. 65-70. Shanghai Kexue Jishu Wenxian Chubanshe, Shanghai, 2009.
  • China: State Formation and Urbanization. In The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology, pp. 579-610, eds. by Barry Cunliffe, Chris Gosden, and Rosemary Joyce. Oxford: University of Oxford, 2009.
  • Early figurations in China: Ideological, social, and ecological implications. In Image and Imagination: A Global Prehistory of Figurative Representation, pp.271-286. Eds. by Renfrew, C. and Morley, I. McDonald Institute Monographs, Cambridge, 2007.
  • Urbanization in China: Erlitou and its hinterland. In Urbanism in the Preindustrial World: Cross-Cultural Approaches, edited by Glenn Storey, pp.161-189. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2006.
  • Sociopolitical change from Neolithic to Bronze Age China. In Archaeology of Asia. Edited by Miriam T. Stark, pp.149-176. Blackwell Publishers, Malden, Oxford, and Carlton, 2006.
  • The First Emperor’s Mausoleum and the Terracotta Army. In Two Emperors – China's Ancient Origins, ed. Ann Delroy. Pp. 44-53. Melbourne: Praxis Exhibitions Australia, 2002.
  • Yangling and Searching for Immortality in the Han Dynasty. In Two Emperors – China's Ancient Origins, ed. Ann Delroy. 102-107. Melbourne: Praxis Exhibitions Australia, 2002.
  • China. In Encyclopedia of archaeology: history and discoveries. Volume One A-D, pp.315-333. Tim Murray ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2001.
  • Chang, Kwang-chih. In Encyclopedia of archaeology: history and discoveries. Volume One A-D, pp.315-333. pp.298-299. Tim Murray ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2001.

Courses Taught

  • Archaeological methods
  • Archaeology of food
  • Emergence of Chinese Civilization
  • Archaeology of East Asia
  • Art and Religion in Ancient China
  • Archaeology of Social Complexity
  • Rise and Fall of Civilizations
  • Introduction to Archaeology
  • Introduction to Archaeology of World Civilizations

Professional Activities

  • 2007 - present. Study of starch remains and use-wear patterns on stone tools from the Late Paleolithic and Neolithic sites (24,000-5000 cal. BP) in China; involving experimental study and microscopic analyses.
  • 2004 - present. Annually directing the international collaborative Yiluo project in western Henan, China. Project title: Settlement Patterns, Craft Production, and the Rise of Early States in China.
  • 2003 - present. Annually directing zooarchaeological research on water buffalo remains, dating from Palaeolithic to Bronze Age in China. Project title: The origins of Asian domestic buffalo and its role in the development of agricultural technology.
  • 2000-2002 - Annually directing the international collaborative Yiluo project in western Henan, China. Project title: Settlement patterns and the rise of civilisation in China, supported by the ARC Large Grant.
  • Sept. 1999 - Investigating salt production and copper mining sites in the early Bronze Age in southern Shanxi. Project title: Control and procurement of natural resources in early states, China. Project was conducted jointly with archaeologists in Beijing and Shanxi, supported by La Trobe University.
  • Dec. 1998 - Jan. 1999 - Directed first season of the collaborative regional survey project in western Henan, China, joined by archaeologists from Institute of Archaeology in Beijing and Harvard University. Project title: Settlement patterns and the rise of civilisation in China. Supported by the ARC Small Grant and National Geographic Society.
  • Dec. 1997 - Jan. 1998 - Directed a pilot collaborative regional survey project in western Henan, China, joined by archaeologists from Institute of Archaeology in Beijing and Harvard University. Supported by the ARC Small Grant and National Geographic Society.
  • 1992 - Analyzed faunal remains unearthed from a Neolithic site at Kangjia in China, in the Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Harvard University.
  • 1990 - In charge of survey and excavation of a Neolithic site at Kangjia in Shaanxi Province for six months; the fieldwork was conducted by a cooperative team including myself and archaeologists from the Archaeological Institute of Shaanxi Province.
  • 1986-1987 - Analyzing use-wear of stone implements from Panama in Department of Anthropology at Temple University.
  • 1986 Summer - Participated in archaeological field school run by Temple University for seven weeks; surveyed and excavated at a prehistoric site of the Woodland period in New Jersey.
  • 1982-1983 - Eighteen months' surveys and excavations at a Bronze Age site, the ancient capital city of the Qin state, Yongcheng (first millennium BC), in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, China.
  • 1981 Fall - Participated in archaeological field school run by Northwestern University of Xi’an, China, for three months. Excavated a Neolithic burial site at Zili in Huaxian, Shaanxi.
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