Satellite photo of mining site with roads and nearby buildings, roads, bodies of water, and other landscape features

The site cluster at the Tonglüshan mines

RESCHEDULED: Mining Community in the Longue Durée:

A Case Study of the Southeastern Hubei Mining Area in China, ca. 3 to 1 Millennium BCE

Dongming Wu

ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor

NOTE: This lecture was originally scheduled for 1/25/23. Due to unforeseen circumstances the lecture has been postponed. The new date for the lecture is 2/22/23.

This lecture will take place online; a Zoom link will be provided via email to registered participants.

Registration is required at THIS LINK.

The southeastern Hubei mining area was a major source of copper, lead, and tin, the primary elements of bronze alloy in Bronze-Age China. Chinese archaeologists and archaeometallurgists have impressively reconstructed the chaînes opératoires of miners and metalworkers, however, there have been few attempts to investigate the lives of miners and the mining community. Based on archaeological surveys, GIS mapping, and statistical study of mortuary data, this talk examines how the mining community in southeastern Hubei organized ore mining and ingot smelting, how the economic activities shaped the lifeways of the villagers and the societal structure in the mining area, and how the local people interacted and exchanged with the outside world. This research demonstrates the politico-economic transformation of the mining community from third to first millennium BCE, and brings to light the people who played an important role in the economic networks but are often neglected in studies of metallurgy in current scholarship.

Dongming Wu received his BA in Chinese Literature (2008) and MA in Comparative Literature (2011) from Sichuan University, and his MA (2015) and PhD (2022) in History from Columbia University. His research interests include economic history, history of science and technology, and intellectual history in early China.

His dissertation, titled "The Bronze Economy and the Making of the Southern Borderlands in the Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BCE)," examines the connections between resource, technology, and power in early Chinese societies. It demonstrates how the production, exchange, and consumption of bronze, a strategic resource in Bronze Age China, transformed the social landscape of southern China in the Zhou dynasty. This research project utilizes diverse types of data and multidisciplinary approaches, including GIS, statistical analysis, and archaeometallurgy, to systematically study the political economy centered on bronze in late Bronze Age China.

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