New publication and book talk- Chinese Shang weapons

Qin Cao's picture

Dear colleagues and friends,

I would appreciate if you could circulate the following new publication and book talk to those who might be interested. 

New publication from Routledge’s Chinese Archaeology series--

Weapons in Late Shang (c.1250-1050 BCE) China: Beyond Typology and Ritual

The Shang is a major period foundational to the forming of Chinese civilization, renowned for its magnificent bronze vessels. However, the even larger quantities of weapons in bronze and other materials have attracted less scholarly attention. Conventional studies of Shang weapons have considered them to be passive bearers of human intentions, but have not been situated within ontologically informed archaeological and anthropological discourses. Do they simply represent the status and military role of the deceased? Were they merely ritual implements? The author considers Shang weapons from an object biographical perspective, tracing their life histories for the first time, and argues for the significance of martial prowess and leadership within late Shang society.  This book synthesises archaeological data, scientific analyses, and inscriptions on oracle bones and bronzes, uncovering a more nuanced understanding of the complex roles weapons played in society. 

Weapons in Late Shang (c.1250-1050 BCE) China: Beyond Typology and Ritual (


Book Talk

The Society for East Asian Archaeology (SEAA) will be hosting its very first virtual book talk (ZOOM). Join us on Thursday 8 December 2022 at 7-9 am (EST)/12-2 pm (GMT)/ 8-10 pm (CST) as we celebrate with Dr. Qin Cao (Oriental Museum, Durham University) and Dr. Wengcheong Lam (Chinese University of Hong Kong) on the launch of their new books, “Weapons in Late Shang (c. 1250-1050 BCE) China: Beyond Typology and Ritual” and “Connectivity, Imperialism, and the Han Iron Industry”. Also in attendance is Dr. Rowan Flad (Harvard University), the series editor for the Routledge Series in Chinese Archaeology, who will serve as discussant. Dr. Anke Hein (Oxford University), the incumbent president of SEAA will moderate the talk. Please see more details at the event page:Virtual Book Talk|

Register via the QR code or the following link:

Many thanks,


Dr Qin Cao  曹芹

Curator: Chinese collections 

Oriental Museum

Durham University