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Findings and Methods at Guigang and Mao'ergang, Two Important Sites for Early Nanyue Archaelogy

Jian XU (Sun Yat-sen University)
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This paper uses the site re- visit approach to review the archaeological study of two critical sites in early Nanyue kingdom archaeology, the Guigang tomb, discovered in 1916, and the brick-chambered Mao'ergang tomb, excavated in 1931. The paper re-assesses the tombs' placement, form, and material assemblage in light of Qin and Han tombs unearthed in Guangzhou since the 1950s, and offers hypotheses on the dating and status of the owners of the tombs. The Mao'ergang tomb should actually be dated to the Eastern Han dynasty period. The Guigang tomb is confirmed as dating from the Nanyue kingdom period, but is not the grave of a member of the high elite of the kingdom. Since both of these tombs were at one time identified as Nanyue graves, it is productive to consider how archaeological findings can contribute to the study of history. Rather than proving or disproving written accounts, the real significance of archaeological evidence lies in constructing a material-oriented historical narrative independent of textual evidence.

Journal of History and Anthropology