Zhichun Jing

Dr. Jing’s areas of interest include archaeology of Shang civilization, early urbanization, culture contact, environmental archaeology, geoarchaeology, archaeology of collapse and sustainability, archaic jades, archaeological ceramics, and archaeometry.

Zhichun Jing (Ph.D, University of Minnesota, 1994) is an archaeologist who has conducted fieldwork in China, Greece, and the United States.  After completing his doctoral degree in interdisciplinary archaeology at the University of Minnesota, Jing held postdoctoral and research positions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Harvard University before taking current position at the University of British Columbia in 2002.

Since 2002, Professor Jing has been the principal investigator, directing the Anyang Project, a long-term and interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of British Columbia and the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, with the support from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Canada Foundation for Innovation, the University of British Columbia Research Funds, Henry Luce Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.

Professor Jing and his collaborators were directly responsible for the discovery of two major Bronze Age capital cities: Great City Song (Shang to Eastern Zhou periods) and Huanbei Shang City (13th century B.C.) in the province of Henan, China.

Professor Jing also directs an archaeological field school in Anyang, China on a regular basis, as part of an on-going research on the urban organization and population dynamics in early China, funded by the SSHRC Insight Grants.


 Authored and Edited Books

Jing, Z., Tang, J., and Takashima, K. (Ed.). (2008). Shang Dynasty and Early Chinese Civilization – Multiple Perspectives. Beijing: Science Press (21 chapters; in Chinese; published in October 2008)

Jing, Z. (Ed). (2007). Earth Science in Archaeology: Integration Comes of Age. Geoarchaeology: 22(1): 1-154 (special issue, containing 7 chapters)

Zhang C. Wen, G., and Jing, Z. (2007). Jades from the Western Zhou Cemetery at Zhangjiapo, 416 p. Beijing: Cultural Relics Press.

Rapp, G. Jr., Allert, J., Vitali, V., and Jing, Z., Henrickson, E. (2000). The Determination of Sources of North American Artifact Copper Using Trace-Element Patterns, 156 p. Washington, D.C. The University Press of America.


Journal Articles and Book Chapters


Jing, Z. and Wen, G. (2014). A geoarchaeological study of jades from Taosi. In Xiangfen Taosi, edited by Gao Wei, pp. 109-126. Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe.

Jing, Z., J. Tang, G. Rapp and J. Stoltman (2013). Recent discoveries and some thoughts on early urbanization in Anyang, China. In A Companion to Chinese Archaeology, edited by A. P. Underhill, pp. 343-366. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Jing, Z. Tang, J., and He, Y. (2012). Jade Use and the Materialization of Social Relations during the Shang Dynasty. In Yinxu and Shang Culture, edited by the Insitute of Archaeology, CASS, pp. 86-117. Beijing: Science Press.

Rapp, J. and Jing, Z. (2011). Human-environment interactions in the development of early Chinese civilization. In Human Interactions with the Geosphere: The Geoarchaeological Perspective, edited by L. Wilson. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, vol. 352, p. 125–136.

Tang, J. and Jing, Z. (2010). Architectural reconstruction of two palace/temple complexes at Huanbei Shang City. Kaogu (Archaeology) 1:23-35.

Tang, J. Jing, Z., and Liu, Z. (2010). The survey and excavation of the inner city at Huanbei Shang city. Kaogu (Archaeology) 1:3-8.

Tang, J., Jing, Z. and M. Wagner, M. (2010). New discoveries in Yinxu/Anyang and their contribution to the chronology of Shang capitals in Bronze Age China. In Bridging Eurasia, edited by M. Wagner and W. Wang, pp. 125-144. Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin.

Cao, X., Xu, Q., Jing, Z. and Tang, J. (2010). Holocene climate change and human impacts implied from the pollen records in Anyang, central China. Quaternary International 227(1):3-9.

Jing, Z. (2009). Mineralogical Investigation into the jades excavated from Tomb 71 at Shizhaishan. In Fifth Excavation of the Shizhaishan Site, Yunnan, edited by Jiang Zhilong, pp. 220-231. Beijing: Cultural Relics Press.

Tang, J. and Jing, Z. (2009). The Shang yi-settlements and the ”Great City Shang” in Anyang. Kaogu (Archaeology), 9:70-80.

Stoltman, J., Jing, Z., Tang, J., and Rapp, G. (2009). Ceramic production in Shang societies of Anyang. Asian Perspective, 33(1): 181-202.

Jing, Z. (2007). Geoarchaeology of the excavated jades from Tomb 54 at Huayuanzhuang, Anyang. In Excavation at Huayuanzhuang East, Anyang, edited by the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pp. 345-387, plates 58-67. Beijing: Science Press.

Jing, Z. (2007). Integration comes of age: a conversation with Rip Rapp. Geoarchaeology, 22(1):1-15.

Jing, Z., Tang, J., Liu, Z., and Yue, Z. (2004). Survey and test excavation of the Huanbei Shang city in Anyang. Chinese Archaeology 4:1-20.

Jing, Z. and Rapp, G. Jr. (2003). The coastal evolution of the Ambracian embayment and its relationships to archaeological settings. Hesperia Supplement 32:157-198.

Tang, J., Jing, Z., Rapp, G., and Liu, Z. (2003). Archaeological survey of the Huanbei Shang city in Anyang, Henan. Kaogu (Archaeology) 5:3-16.

Chen, T. Rapp, G. Jr., Jing, Z., and He, N. (1999). Provenance studies of the earliest Chinese protoporcelain using instrumental neutron activation analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 26:1003-15.

Rapp, G. Jr., Rothe, Russell, and Jing, Z. (1999). Using neutron activation analysis to source ancient tin (cassiterite). In Metals in Antiquity, edited by S. M. M. Young, A. M. Pollard, P. Budd, R. A. Ixer, pp. 153 – 162. Oxford, Archaeopress.

Gao, T., Jing, Z., Murowchick, R. Rapp, G. Jr., and Niu, S. (1998). The investigation of the Eastern Zhou city in Shangqiu, Henan. Kaogu (Archaeology) 12:18-27.

Jing, Z. and Rapp, G. Jr. (1998). Environmental Magnetic indicators of the sedimentary context of archaeological sites in the Shangqiu area of China. Geoarchaeology 13(1):37-54.

Jing, Z., Rapp, G. Jr., and Gao, T. (1997). Geoarchaeological aids in the investigation of early Shang civilization on the floodplain of the lower Yellow river. World Archaeology 29(1):36-50.

Wen, G. and Jing, Z. (1997). A geoarchaeological study of Chinese archaic jade. In Chinese Jade, edited by R. E. Scott, pp. 105-122. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Jing, Z., Rapp, G. Jr., and Gao, T. (1997).  Holocene geomorphic changes and the prehistoric and early historic sites in the Shangqiu area, Henan. Kaogu (Archaeology) 5:68-84.

Wen, G., and Jing, Z. (1996). Mineralogical studies of Chinese archaic jade. Acta Geologica Taiwanica 32:55-83.

Jing, Z., Rapp, G. Jr., and Gao, T. (1995). Holocene landscape evolution and its impact on the Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in the Shangqiu area, northern China. Geoarchaeology 6:481-513.

Wen, G., and Jing, Z. Geoarchaeologic study of the Western Zhou jade artifacts from Fengxi site, – Geoarchaeologic study of ancient Chinese jades, III. Acta Archaeologia Sinica 1:251-280, Plates 13-20.

Among courses Professor Jing is currently teaching on a regular basis:

ARCL 203: Methods of Anthropological Archaeology
This course is a short introduction to modern archaeological methods, focusing on how archaeologists investigate and learn about our human past through both field and laboratory endeavors. It discusses the nature of archaeological record, various approaches of recovering different types of archaeological data, and the role of modern science in archaeology today. Case studies of archaeological investigations through the world are presented to examine the ways in which archaeological methods and techniques are utilized to address questions concerning the human condition and change of the past societies around the world. Through this course students shall develop basic intellectual skills needed to understand how archaeological research is practically performed.

ARCL 204: Great Archaeological Discoveries
This course explores a selection of the world’s momentous discoveries in archaeology that have shaped our knowledge of the ancient world, discussing breathtaking finds and the remarkable stories behind the discoveries. The discoveries discussed and examined come from a wide array of different contexts, in terms of places, times and culture (both prehistoric and historic), ranging from ice age cave paintings to African Olduvai Gorge, from the volcanic mummified ruins of Pompeii to the great tomb of King Tut, from the terracotta army of the First Emperor in China to Machu Picchu, lost city of the Incas. By learning major archaeological discoveries, students are expected to increase their interest in archaeological inquiry of past cultures and civilizations worldwide, and understand the importance and relevance of archaeological knowledge to the contemporary world.

ARCL 305: Theory in Archaeology
This course is an introduction to archaeological theory. It reviews major theoretical developments and debates in modern archaeology. Following the general survey of diverse approaches into archaeological interpretation, case studies are discussed to show the use of archaeological theories in the investigation of some selected key subjects in archaeology, including colonial encounters, culture contact, materiality, and the resilience and collapse of coupled human and ecological systems.

ARCL 306: Summer Field Training in Archaeology (China)
This summer archaeological training is held regularly in Anyang, China, a UNESCO world heritage site. Anyang is the modern city where the last capital of Shang civilization, the earliest literate civilization in East Asia, was located. The field training is affiliated with the joint research project between the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Department of Anthropology at UBC. In addition to active participation and involvement in on-going archaeological excavation, this summer field training has a focus on learning ancient technologies and material culture through actual manufacture and examination of a range of artifacts, particularly ceramics and bronzes. In addition to excavation and experiment-related activities, lectures are given on the introduction of Shang archaeology so that students are expected to acquire a good understanding of archaeological research in Anyang, and its comparative value and significance in the investigation of early cities and civilizations across the world.

ARCL 309: Archaeology of Collapse and Sustainability
Among the challenges facing humanity today is the sustainability of our coupled ecological and social systems. Archaeology, with its insight into tens of thousands of years of human activities in all parts of the globe, can provide unique and invaluable insights into the sustainability of human societies. The archaeological record encodes hundreds of situations in which societies were able to develop long-term sustainable relationships with their environments, and thousands of situations in which the relationships were short-lived and mutually destructive. This course examines the challenging issues of sustainability and collapse from an archaeological perspective. Following the discussion of fundamental concepts, issues and perspectives on resilience, vulnerability, adaptation, collapse and reorganization, an array of alternative conceptual models and analytic approaches are introduced to investigate coupled social and ecological systems in the past. This course examines selected cases d resilience among diverse kinds of ancient societies from American Southwest, Mesoamerica, Mesopotamia, Angkor, Easter Island, and Norse Greenland, assessing the interacting societal and environmental factors in transforming societies during the period of radical change often termed “collapse”. The discussion emphasizes the multicausality of prehistoric and historical collapses, the diversity of human responses to environmental and societal crises, and the regeneration of complex societies after periods of decentralization and collapse.

ARCL 322: Archaeological Foundations of East and Southeast Asia
This course offers an introduction to the archaeology of East and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on the particularities of East and Southeast Asia in the context of world prehistory. Archaeological methods and theories are discussed for understanding the causes and consequences of major social and cultural transformations from the beginnings of agriculture through the emergence of early states and civilizations. Topics to be covered in the class include the history of archaeological research, the origins of agriculture, the farming / language dispersals, the emergence and development of social complexity, bronze metallurgy, and the earliest cities, states, and civilizations.

ARCL 406: Analytical Techniques in Archaeology
This course is an introduction to the use of analytical techniques and methods in contemporary archaeology. It has its focus on two most important archaeological materials – ceramics and lithics; and the goals are to gain the fundamental knowledge of ancient stone and pottery production and technology through hands-on experimental replications including stone knapping, grinding, and pottery forming and firing, and to understand major theoretical and methodological issues involved in the archaeological analysis and interpretation of stone tools and ceramics.

ANTH 517: Archaeological Theory (Graduate Seminar Course)
This graduate course examines a range of major approaches in contemporary archaeological thought and how they are used to explore archaeological data, and it aims to help students acquire a critical understanding of current issues and debates within archaeology. Upon successful completion of this course, you are expected to have a solid understanding of major trends in archeological thought, and be able to place archaeological case studies within a broader theoretical framework. The major thematic issues to be examined mainly include the nature of archaeology as a discipline, epistemologies of archaeological explanation, culture contact and colonialism, technologies, material culture and materiality, collapse and resilience of social and ecological systems, and urbanism. Through the course, students are expected to learn how archaeologists have developed approaches to understanding past human societies, either by adopting theoretical frameworks developed within anthropology and other cognate disciplines, or by developing theory within archaeology itself.

Book Award for the Excavation at Huayuanzhuang East in Anyang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2013, co-author)

UBC Anthropology Student Association Undergraduate Teaching Award (2007)

Canada Research Chair in Asia-Pacific Archaeology (2007, renewal)

Research Award for the Discovery and Excavation of Huanbei Shang City, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2004, co-principal investigator)

Canada Research Chair in Asia-Pacific Archaeology (2002)