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THE PROBLEM OF TYPOLOGY IN CHINESE ARCHAEOLOGY

  • Anke Hein (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Chinese and Western archaeologists (especially those of the anthropologically-oriented tradition) often seem to be talking past each other, not only because they are publishing in different languages, but also because of differences in theory and method. While most of the major theoretical works in Western languages are by now available in Chinese translations, hardly any English-language publications exist that explain Chinese approaches to archaeological method and theory. This article helps to bridge the gap by introducing the history of debates on archaeological method in China to a Western audience, focusing particularly on issues of typology and classification. Discussing in detail the merits—and issues—of approaches suggested by four of the most influential Chinese archaeologists (Li Chi, Xia Nai, Su Bingqi, and K. C. Chang), this article provides a deeper understanding of the preconditions of archaeological research in China. It also suggests future directions for archaeological work by local and foreign archaeologists, including but also going beyond the classification of the rich body of artifacts coming to light in Chinese excavations.

提要

中國與西方的考古學家––特別是那些以研究人類學為目標的學者––在他們的論著中,經常出現各自表述的情況。除了使用不同的語言發表研究成果外,更根本的原因在於,中國與西方的考古學家有其各自獨特的理論框架與研究方法。時至今日,儘管大部份以西文書寫的重要理論已被譯為中文,然而,以中文書寫的理論與方法卻鮮少有英文譯本。本文的目的,是希望透過向西方的讀者介紹中國考古學研究方法的歷史,尤其是類型學與分類學的爭辯與發展,期待能在中西兩造學術傳統的鴻溝中,搭建溝通的橋樑。本文介紹李濟、夏鼐、蘇秉琦,與張光直等四位最具影響力的中國考古學家,藉由回顧他們的研究取徑與問題意識,深入檢視中國考古學的基本研究預設。在此基礎上,本文也將提供建言,指出中國及西方考古學家未來可能的工作方向。衷心期盼隨著愈來愈多重要考古遺存的發現,中國考古學能超越分類學的傳統,走出嶄新的道路。

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1. “Li Ji” would be the correct transcription of this scholar's name in Pinyin, the transcription system now generally used for Chinese; however, as he himself used the Wade-Giles transcription “Li Chi” for his name when publishing in English, I have decided to use this transliteration of his name throughout the text. The same holds true for Zhang Guangzhi, who in the West became known as K. C. Chang. Translations of Xia Nai's articles were published under three different romanizations: Hsia Nai, Shiah Nae, and Xia Nai, but his only original work in English, his dissertation, was published under “Xia Nai,” which is the current established Pinyin romanization, so throughout this article, he is referred to as “Xia Nai.”

2. von Falkenhausen Lothar, “On the Historiographic Orientation of Chinese Archaeology,” Antiquity 67 (1993), 839–49.

3. The main catalogues that are still extant today include: Lü Dalin 呂大臨 (1046–1092), Kaogutu: 10 juan 考古圖: 10卷 (Jinan: Qi Lu Shushe, 1997), and Wang Fu 王黼, Xuanhe bogu tu 宣和博古圖 [1123] (Shanghai: Siku yishu congshu, 1991).

4. For further details on Andersson's life and work in China, consult Magnus Fiskesjö and Chen Xingcan, China before China: Johan Gunnar Andersson, Ding Wenjiang, and the Discovery of China's Prehistory (Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 2004); Magnus Fiskesjö, “Science across Borders: Johan Gunnar Andersson and Ding Wenjiang,” in Explorers and Scientists in China's Borderlands, 1880–1950, ed. D. M. Glover, S. Harrell, C. F. McKhann, and M. B. Swain (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011), 240–66; Magnus Fiskesjö, “Johan Gunnar Andersson,” in The Encyclopedia of Archaeology, ed. C. Smith (New York: Springer, 2014), 222–25.

5. Li Chi, Anyang (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977), 35–48.

6. In geology, index fossils are fossils seen as typical for a specific geological period. When found, they are used to date the stratigraphic layers in which they occur. In archaeology, short-lived, easy-to-identify object forms are used in a similar fashion.

7. Charles Lyell, Principles of geology, being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth's surface by reference to causes now in operation, 3 vols. (1840, rept. New York: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1969).

8. Danny Wyann Ye Kwok, Scientism in Chinese Thought, 1900–1950 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), 110–11. For information on the early development of geology in China, consult Grace Yen Shen, Unearthing the Nation: Modern Geology and Nationalism in Republican China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014).

9. Su Bingqi 蘇秉琦, “Kaogu leixingxue de xin keti—gei beida kaogu zhuanye qiqi, qiba ji tongxue jiangke de tixiang” 考古類型學的新課題——給北大考古專業七七、七八級同學講課的提綱, 1981, in Su Bingqi kaogu xue lunshu xuanji 蘇秉琦考古學論述選集 (Beijing: Wenwu, 1984), 235–37.

10. Su Bingqi, “A New Age of Chinese Archaeology,” in Exploring China's Past: New Discoveries and Studies in Archaeology and Art, ed. Roderick Whitfield and Wang Tao (London: Saffron Publishing House, 1999), 17–25.

11. Tekun Cheng, “Archaeology in Communist China,” The China Quarterly 23 (Jul.–Sept. 1965), 73 .

12. Xingcan Chen and Fiskesjö Magnus, “Oscar Montelius and Chinese Archaeology,” Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 24.10 (2014), 3 .

13. One of the most influential books connected with this yigupai 疑古派, the “School of Doubting Antiquity,” was Gu Jiegang's (1962–63) Gushibian 古史辨. For discussions on this tradition, consult Laurence A. Schneider, Ku Chieh-Kang and China's New History; Nationalism and the Quest for Alternative Traditions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).

14. For details of the Anyang excavation and its results, consult Li Chi, Anyang. For further discussions on the emergence and development of Chinese archaeology and its links with politics and nationalism, consult also Chen Xingcan 陳星燦, Zhongguo shiqian kaoguxue yanjiu 1895–1949 中國史前考古學研究 1895–1949 (Beijing: Shenghuo, Dushu, Xinzhi Sanlian Shudian: Jingxiao Xinhua Shudian, 1997); Chen Xingcan and Fiskesjö, “Oscar Montelius and Chinese Archaeology,” 1–10; Lothar von Falkenhausen, “On the Historiographic Orientation of Chinese Archaeology”; F.-T. Fan, “How Did the Chinese Become Native? Science and the Search for National Origins in the May Fourth Era,” in Beyond the May Fourth Paradigm: In Search of Chinese Modernity, ed. K.-W. Chow et al. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008), 183–208; Magnus Fiskesjö, “Science across Borders: Johan Gunnar Andersson and Ding Wenjiang,” and Lai Guolong, “Digging up China: Nationalism, Politics, and the Yinxu Excavation, 1928–1937,” paper presented at the panel “Sciences of the Human: Classicism, Modernism, and Nationalism in Chinese Social Sciences, 1899–1937,” Association for Asian Studies annual meeting 1999, Boston. https:// www.asian-studies.org/absts/1999abst/china/c-105.htm (accessed April 29, 2015).

15. Xueqin Li, “The Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project: Methodology and Results,” Journal of East Asian Archaeology 4.1–4 (2002), 321–33.

16. This is changing now. Last year, archaeologists from the Academy of Social Sciences launched a fieldwork project in Honduras, Middle America, and further projects in the Americas are supposed to follow (personal communication Li Xinwei, CASS).

17. Consult, for example, Robert R. Sokal, “Classification: Purposes, Principles, Progress, Prospects,” Science (New York, NY) 185.4157 (1974), 1115–23; William Y. Adams and Ernest W. Adams, Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality: A Dialectical Approach to Artifact Classification and Sorting (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), esp. 55 and 333; and Dwight W. Read, Artifact Classification—A Conceptual and Methodological Approach (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2007), 19ff. for discussions on the definition of the terms typology and classification.

18. For example, John Otis Brew, “The Use and Abuse of Taxonomy,” in Archaeology of Alkali Ridge, Southeastern Utah. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 21 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1946), 44–66; Robert C. Dunnell, “Methodological Issues in Contemporary Americanist Archaeology,” PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association (1984), 717–44.

19. For example, Rouse Irving, “The Classification of Artifacts in Archaeology,” American Antiquity 25.3 (1960), 313–23; Dwight W. Read, Artifact Classification.

20. Spaulding Albert C., “Statistical Techniques for the Discovery of Artifact Types,” American Antiquity 18.4 (1953), 305–13; Ford James Alfred and Steward Julian Haynes, “On the Concept of Types,” American Anthropologist 56.1 (1954), 4257 .

21. During the 1920s, Ture Arne and other scholars working under Andersson had already worked on a classification of the Yangshao pottery, but Liang Siyong was the first Chinese scholar to propose his own typological scheme. See Liang Siyong 梁思永, Liang Siyong kaogu lunwenji 梁思永考古論文集 (Beijing: Kexue, 1959).

22. Zhang Guangzhi 張光直 and Li Guangmou 李光謀 ed., Li Ji kaoguxue lunwen xuanji 李濟考古學論文選集 (Beijing: Wenwu, 1990); Li Ji 李濟, Gu qiwu yanjiu zhuankan 古器物研究專刊, vols. 1–4. Zhongguo kaogu baogaoji xinbian 中國考古報告集新編 (Nan'gang: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan lishi yuyan yanjiusuo, 1964–1970); Ji Li 李濟, “Yinxu chu de qingtong liqi zhe zong jiantao” 殷墟出土的青銅禮器之總檢討, Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica 47 (1976), 783811 .

23. For bottoms, for example, he distinguishes between 1) flat bottom, 2) concave bottom, 3) convex bottom.

24. The first digit referred to the group, 1) container, 2) non-container, 2a) utilitarian implements, 2b) miniatures; the second referred to the mouth size, 1) mouth diameter larger than maximum diameter of the body, 2) mouth diameter equals maximum body diameter, 3) maximum diameter of the body larger than mouth diameter); and the third referred to the feet, 1) support, 2) two feet, 3) three feet, 4) four feet, 5) multipodal.

25. Yu Weichao, “New Trends in Archaeological Thought,” in Exploring China's Past: New Discoveries and Studies in Archaeology and Art, ed. Roderick Whitfield and Wang Tao (London: Saffron Publishing House, 1999), 27–32.

26. For example, Brew, “The Use and Abuse of Taxonomy,” 46.

27. For a discussion of Xia Nai's role in the development of the field of archaeology in China, consult Lothar von Falkenhausen, “Xia Nai (1910–1985),” in Encyclopedia of Archaeology: The Great Archaeologists, ed. Tim Murray (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO Press, 1999), vol. 2, 598–614.

28. Xia Nai, Ancient Egyptian Beads (Heidelberg: Springer, 2014), 54.

29. Horace C. Beck, Classification and Nomenclature of Beads and Pendants (York, PA: Liberty Cap Books, 1973).

30. Xia Nai, Ancient Egyptian Beads, 54.

31. Xia Nai, Ancient Egyptian Beads, 54.

32. Xia Nai, Ancient Egyptian Beads, 54.

33. The first two letters indicate the raw material and technique used as well as the presence/absence of decoration, followed by an Arabic number showing further technical details, and a Roman number showing the chronological position. GN5xiii, for example, would stand for glass segmental beads made by the wire-winding method without decoration dating to a specific period.

34. Here and in the following: Xia Nai 夏鼐, “Tianye kaogu fangfa” 田野考古方法, Kaoguxue jichu 考古學基礎, ed. Zhongguo Kexueyuan Kaogu Yanjiusuo 中國科學院考古研究所 (Beijing: Kexue, 1958), 293–319.

35. Von Falkenhausen, “Xia Nai (1910–1985),” 609.

36. Xia Nai 夏鼐, “Shangdai yuqi de fenlei, dingming he yongchu” 商代玉器的分類、定名和用處, Kaogu 1982.5, 455–67.

37. Su Bingqi, “Kaogu leixingxue de xin keti—gei beida kaogu zhuanye qiqi, qiba ji tongxue jiangke de tixiang,” 237.

38. Oscar Montelius, Die älteren Kulturperioden im Orient und in Europa 1: Die Methode (Stockholm: Asher & Co Berlin, 1903); Oscar Montelius 蒙德留斯, Xianshi kaoguxue fangfa lun 先史考古學方法論 (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1937).

39. For a detailed discussion of the principles of stratigraphy as applied to archaeology, consult Edward C. Harris, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy (London: Academic Press, 1979). For further information on the development of the field of archaeology in Europe, see Manfred K. H. Eggert, Archäologie, Grundzüge einer historischen Kulturwissenschaft (Tübingen: Francke, 2006).

40. Interestingly, as has recently been shown by Chen Xingcan and Magnus Fiskesjö, Montelius did not only influence Chinese archaeology indirectly through his publications, but also very directly by supporting Andersson's archaeological explorations in China.

41. Su Bingqi 蘇秉琦, Doujitai Goudongqu muzang 鬥雞臺溝東墓葬 (Beijing: Guoli Beiping Yanjiuyuan Shixue Yanjiusuo 國立北平研究院史學研究所, 1948).

42. Su Bingqi 蘇秉琦, Kaoguxue wenhua lunji 考古學文化論集 (Beijing: Wenwu, 1987).

43. In his study of the li, Su Bingqi began from common traits (i.e., measurements of shape such as height, depth, height of the foot, proportions foot/vessel, width/height, width of mouth, foot, handles, etc.) whose changes he analyzed through seriation. He then divided each of the resulting groups (A–D) into “small groups” or varieties by assigning the letters a to e to them.

44. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (Wuchan Jieji Wenhua Dageming, 1966–76) was a social-political movement set into motion by Mao Zedong. To enforce communism throughout China, so it was claimed, traditional, bourgeois, and capitalist elements had to be removed; therefore, scholars and other intellectuals were persecuted and could largely not continue their work, leading to a hiatus in research in many fields—not to speak of personal tragedies and trauma caused by the persecution. For further discussions on the topic, consult Paul Clark, The Chinese Cultural Revolution: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Anne F. Thurston, Enemies of the People: The Ordeal of the Intellectuals in China's Great Cultural Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988).

45. von Falkenhausen Lothar, “Su Bingqi October 4, 1909–June 30, 1997,” Artibus Asiae 57.3–4 (1997), 365–66; Liu Li and Chen Xingcan, The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 16f.; Tao Wang, “Establishing the Chinese Archaeological School: Su Bingqi and Contemporary Chinese Archaeology,” Antiquity 71 (1997), 3139 .

46. Su Bingqi 蘇秉琦, “Guanyu kaoguxue wenhua de quxi leixing wenti” 關於考古学文化的區系類型問題 Wenwu 1981.5, 10–17; Su Bingqi 蘇秉琦, Su Bingqi wenji 蘇秉琦文集, 2 vols. (Beijing: Wenwu, 2009–10).

47. For example, An Zhimin 安志敏, “Shilun Zhongguo de xinshiqi shidai” 試論中國的新石器時代, Kaogu 1993.3, 252–60.

48. Fei Xiaotong 費孝通, “Zhonghua minzu de duoyuan yiti geju” 中華民族的多元一體格局, in Zhonghua minzu duoyuan yiti geju 中華民族多元一體格局, ed. Fei Xiaotong (Beijing: Zhongyang Minzu Xueyuan Press, 1989), 1–36.

49. Xueqin Li, “Walking out of the ‘Doubting of Antiquity’ Era,” Contemporary Chinese Thought 34.2 (2002), 2649 .

50. Su Bingqi, “New Issues in Archaeological Typology,” Anthropology in China: Defining the Discipline, ed. G. E. Guldin (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1990), 68–72; Su Bingqi 蘇秉琦, “Guanyu chongjian Zhongguo shiqianshi de sikao” 關於重建中國史前史的思考, Kaogu 1991.12, 1109–18; Bingqi Su 蘇秉琦, “Chongjian Zhongguo gushi yuangu shidai” 重建中國古時遠古時代, Shixueshi yanjiu 史學時研究 3 (1991), 19 ; Bingqi Su 蘇秉琦, “Chongjianzhong de Zhongguo shiqianshi” 重建中的中國史前史, Baike zhishi 百科知識 3 (1992).

51. Su Bingqi, “Kaogu leixingxue de xin keti—gei beida kaogu zhuanye qiqi, qiba ji tongxue jiangke de tixiang,” 236.

52. K. C. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology (New York: Random House, 1967), 71.

53. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 71.

54. Walter W. Taylor, A Study of Archeology (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967); Krieger Alex D., “The Typological Concept,” American Antiquity 9.3 (1944), 271–88; Ford James Alfred and Steward Julian Haynes, “On the Concept of Types,” American Anthropologist 56.1 (1954), 4257 ; Rouse, “The Classification of Artifacts in Archaeology”; and Clyde Kluckhohn, Culture and Behavior: Collected Essays (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1962).

55. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 78.

56. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 78.

57. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 79.

58. Chang, Settlement Archaeology (Palo Alto, CA: National Press Books, 1968), 14.

59. Chang, Settlement Archaeology, 15.

60. K. C. Chang, The Archaeology of Ancient China (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986), 239–94.

61. Zhang Guangzhi 張光直, “Kaogu fenlei” 考古分類, in Kaoguxue zhuanti liujiang 考古學專題六講. Beijing daxue kaoguxi zhuanti jiangzuo 1 北京大學考古系專題講座 1, ed. Zhang Guangzhi (Beijing: Wenwu, 1986), 62–73.

62. Li Ji, “Yinxu chutu de qingtont liqi zhi zong jiantao.”

63. Yu Weichao 俞偉超, “Guanyu ‘kaogu li xingxue’ wenti” 關於“考古類型學”問題, in Kaogu leixingxue de lilun yu shijian 考古類型學的理論與實踐, ed. Yu Weichao (Beijing: Wenwu, 1989), 16.

64. For a detailed discussion, consult Lothar von Falkenhausen, Chinese Society in the Age of Confucius (1000–250 BC): The Archaeological Evidence, Ideas, Debates, and Perspectives (Los Angeles, CA: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, 2006).

65. For a discussion on the connection between bronzes and other antiquities and power, consult Lothar Ledderose, “Der politische und religiöse Charakter der Palastsammlungen im chinesischen Altertum,” in Zur Kunstgeschichte Asiens. 50 Jahre Lehre und Forschung an der Universität Köln, ed. Roger Goepper, Dieter Kuhn, and Ulrich Wiesner (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1977), 153–59; and Jessica Rawson, “Jades and Bronzes in Ritual,” in The British Museum Book of Chinese Art, ed. Jessica Rawson (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992), 44–83. For a discussion of the use of ceramic and metal replicas of bronzes and jades by scholars and officials during later periods, consult Clunas Craig, “The Art of Social Climbing in the Ming Dynasty,” The Burlington Magazine 133.1059 (1991), 368–77; and Jessica Rawson “Art out of Art. The Case of the Chinese Cong,” unpublished paper given on November 22, 2003 at the international symposium “Gelehrtes Treffen im Westlichen Garten—Art in China: Collections and Concepts” in Bonn (2003).

66. Thorp Robert L., “The Growth of Early Shang Civilization: New Data from Ritual Vessels,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 45.1 (1985), 575 .

67. Rouse, “The Classification of Artifacts in Archaeology.”

68. Alain Thote, “Continuities and Discontinuities: Chu Burials during the Eastern Zhou Period,” in Exploring China's Past: New Discoveries and Studies in Archaeology and Art, ed. Roderick Whitfield and Wang Tao (London: Saffron Publishing House, 1999), 190.

69. Ling Li, “On the Typology of Chu Bronzes,” Beiträge zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Archäologie 11 (1991), 67 .

70. Li Ling, “On the Typology of Chu Bronzes,” 68.

71. Zhang Guangzhi, “Kaogu fenlei,” 64.

72. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 71.

73. For example, Brew, “The Use and Abuse of Taxonomy.”

74. For example, Adams and Adams, Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality.

75. For example, Read, Artifact Classification; Rouse, “The Classification of Artifacts in Archaeology.”

76. Spaulding, “Statistical Techniques for the Discovery of Artifact Types”; Ford and Haynes Steward, “On the Concept of Types.”

77. Read, Artifact Classification, 7–62; Charles Robin Ewen, Artifacts, Archaeologist's Toolkit (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2003), 69–71.

78. Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips, Method and Theory in American Archaeology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), 13.

79. Read, Artifact Classification, 304.

80. Adams and Adams, Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality, 58.

81. Sabloff Jeremy A. and Smith Robert E.. “The Importance of Both Analytic and Taxonomic Classification in the Type-Variety System,” American Antiquity 34.3 (1969): 278–85; Read, Artifact Classification, 306–9.

82. Gero Joan and Mazzullo Jim, “Analysis of Artifact Shape Using Fourier Series in Closed Form,” Journal of Field Archaeology 11.3 (1984), 315–22.

83. Read, Artifact Classification, 156.

84. Read, Artifact Classification, 197.

85. Leng Jian and Shannon Charles, “Rethinking Early Paleolithic Typologies in China and India,” Journal of East Asian Archaeology 2.1–2 (2000), 935 .

86. Von Falkenhausen, “On the Historiographic Orientation of Chinese Archaeology,” 845.

87. Rouse, “The Classification of Artifacts in Archaeology,” 314, fig. 1.

88. Irving Rouse, Prehistory in Haiti: A Study in Method (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1939), 18–19.

89. Yu Weichao, “Guanyu ‘kaogu leixingxue’ wenti,” 7.

90. Read, Artifact Classification, 31.

91. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 71.

92. Adams and Adams, Archaeological Typology and Practical Reality, 283.

93. Read, Artifact Classification, 74 and 249.

94. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 78, emphasis added.

95. Personal communication, Dwight Read.

96. Willett Kempton, The Folk Classification of Ceramics: A Study of Cognitive Prototypes (New York: Academic Press, 1981).

97. Chang, Rethinking Archaeology, 228.

98. Krieger Alex D., “The Typological Concept,” American Antiquity 9.3 (1944), 272 .

99. K. C. Chang, Shang Civilization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980), 26–27.

100. Brew, “The Use and Abuse of Taxonomy,” 46.

101. Li Ling, “On the Typology of Chu Bronzes,” 71.

Generous financial support for independent research on this topic was provided by the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the form of the Golda Meir Postdoctoral Fellowship. The author is greatly indebted to Dwight W. Read for his in-depth introduction to issues of typology and classification and for his willingness to read and comment on drafts of discussions on methodological and theoretical aspects of this topic. Discussions with Lothar von Falkenhausen were crucial to understanding K. C. Chang's research and theoretical outlook. The author would also like to thank Dennis Lee, Katherine Brunson, and Lee Hsiu-ping for providing comments on drafts of this article. A very special note of thanks goes to Magnus Fiskesjö for providing valuable insights into the history of Chinese archaeology and providing important references.

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