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The Bronze Technology in Xinjiang, China during the Second Millenium BC

Jianjun Mei, Colin Shell (University of Cambridge)

Recent archaeological finds have thrown light on the development of early metal technology in prehistoric Xinjiang, China. This paper summarizes the evidence presently available for the beginning and early use of copper and bronze in Bronze Age Xinjiang, and presents some preliminary results of scientific analysis of a number of metal artefacts recovered in Xinjiang during the recent years. Based on typological comparison and analysis results, this paper has argued that nothwestern Xinjiang, which was shown in some previous studies to be a blank in the archaeological records of the Bronze Age, played a pivotal role in the spread of bronze technology in eastern Central Asia. It has been suggested that there existed a close cultural and technological relationship between Xinjiang, China and its neighbours to the northwest in Kazakhstan and Kirghizia during the latter part of second millenium BC. The possible existence of Andronovo cultural influence in Xinjiang has been discussed.

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