Allard Publishes on Imperial China’s Early Southern Expansion

Posted on 1/23/2015 10:42:30 AM

Francis Allard, Department of Anthropology, published “China’s Early Impact on Eastern Yunnan: Incorporation, Acculturation, and the Convergence of Evidence” in the Journal of Indo-Pacific Archaeology (vol 35).


In 109 BC, armies dispatched by the Han dynasty ruler Wudi reached present-day eastern Yunnan in southwestern China, defeating the non-Chinese kingdom of Dian and establishing the prefecture of Yizhou. Historical sources and archaeological data—mainly objects recovered from Dian burials—highlight China’s impact on the region both before and after the conquest.

For the first century of Han occupation, the texts and grave assemblages—whose elaborate “Chinese style artifacts” make up only a small percentage of elite burial goods—point to the native inhabitants’ limited acculturation and incorporation into the Han administration. In contrast, textual entries and the widespread appearance of Han-style tombs and burial assemblages during the first century AD provide clearer evidence of acculturation and incorporation. However, divergent interpretations also emerge in light of textual evidence for continuing local uprisings against the Han presence, as well as evidence from later historical periods of China’s uneven and incomplete control of eastern Yunnan.

Department of Anthropology