The Characteristics, Style and Appeal of Chinese Archaeology in the New Era

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 9, 2021


The Characteristics, Style and Appeal of Chinese Archaeology in the New Era


Yu Xiyun, Tang Huisheng, Han Jianye, Liu Qingzhu, Han Guohe, Chen Chun and Xu Lianggao


Editor’s note: General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that “we should adhere to dialectical materialism and historical materialism, conduct in-depth theoretical exploration, including exploring the criteria for identifying human civilization, especially Chinese civilization, in line with historical reality, strive to build an archaeology with Chinese characteristics, Chinese style and Chinese appeal, so as to enhance the influence and discourse of Chinese archaeology in the international archaeological community. ”


The year 2021 marks the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the centenary of the birth of Chinese archaeology. Over the past hundred years, Chinese archaeology has achieved a series of fruitful results that have attracted worldwide attention. In particular, since the founding of the PRC, a system of archaeological work in China has been improved and international academic discourse has increased significantly. Through the unremitting efforts of several generations of archaeologists, archaeology, initially a Western “import,” has gradually adapted to China’s historical and cultural traditions and practical needs, and has paved a disciplinary path with characteristic, style and appeal of its own, which has laid a solid foundation for the construction of an archaeological disciplinary system, academic system and discourse system with Chinese characteristics.


Since the 18th CPC National Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, which provides valuable opportunities for the prosperity and development of Chinese philosophy and social sciences, including archaeology. Against this background, it is of great significance to systematically summarize the achievements and experience of Chinese archaeology over the past century from a theoretical perspective, to further accelerate the construction of the three systems of archaeology, to better understand the long and profound Chinese civilization, and to provide strong support for the promotion of the excellent Chinese traditional culture and the enhancement of cultural confidence. To this end, we have organized experts to discuss from the perspective of academic history issues under the title of “The Characteristics, Style and Appeal of Chinese Archaeology in the New Era,” including historical materialism and Chinese archaeology, theories and methodology of archaeology, relationship between Chinese and foreign archaeology, and the similarities and differences between archaeological and historical research.


With the start of the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, Chinese archaeology will also enter its second century. We firmly believe that, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era, Chinese archaeology will contribute Chinese wisdom in exploring the criteria for identifying civilizations, in building an archaeology with Chinese characteristics, style and appeal, and in enhancing Chinese influence and voice in international archaeological circles.