Archeology of the Lu City: Place memory and urban foundation in Early China

M. Li (Corresponding Author), H. Fang, T.X. Zheng, A. Rosen, H. Wright, J. Wright, Y. Wang

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By comparing the Zhou state-building narrative from textual sources with patterns observed in our archaeological survey in the Qufu region, our collaborative research project investigates the role of place memory in the creation or renewal of urban tradition in the Zhou society of the early first millennium BCE. Our study of the regional archaeological landscape as a palimpsest identified evidence for field system associated with the establishment of a Zhou colony at the turn of the first millennium BCE and its transformation from a military stronghold to a fullblown Eastern Zhou urban center during the late first millennium BCE. We conclude that the Zhou political rhetoric of settling on the ruins of past regimes allowed the architects of Zhou state to tap into the emplaced social memory shared by the diverse memory communities in its vast territory. A shared social memory about an important episode from the past contributed an enduring aura to the Chinese urban landscape, and thus deserves to be studied as a central component of urban history in early China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-160
Number of pages10
JournalArchaeological Research in Asia
Early online date21 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Emplaced social memory
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Urbainzation
  • Zhou military colonization
  • Qufu
  • Bronze Age China


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