Lecture: Exploration of Ancient Civilizations and Mysterious Areas on the Plateau

April 21, 2018 Multifunction Room, B1 200 people


Exploration of Ancient Civilizations and Mysterious Areas on the Plateau


Tong Tao

Tong Tao, associate researcher of the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He graduated from the Department of Archaeology of the School of History & Culture (Sichuan University) and received a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Tübingen in Germany. His primary work in recent years has involved archaeological excavation and research on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. He presided over the excavation of the Gurugyam and Chuvthag cemeteries in Ngari Prefecture. The excavation in 2014 was listed in the "The 10 New National Archaeological Discoveries in 2011" of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the "Six New Archaeological Discoveries" of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His major works include The Silk Roads of the Northern Tibetan Plateau during the Early Middle Ages (from the Han to Tang Dynasty) as Reconstructed from Archaeological and Written Sources, Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2013; Silk Roads of Western Tibet, Discussion on the Shape & Structure, Age and Owner of the Necropolis No.1 in Dulan County Reshui Township, Himalayan Gold Masks Seen in the Eurasian Perspective, etc.


In recent years, the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in collaboration with the Tibet Autonomous Regional Institute of Relics Preservation, has carried out archaeological work in Ngari Prefecture in Western Tibet, with extremely important achievements in revealing unknown ancient cultures in the mysterious plateau area.

The excavation work mainly focused on the two cemeteries - Gurugyam and Chuvthag – on the upper reaches of the Sutlej River. This is a relatively concentrated area of ancient relics in Western Tibet, and was the ruling center during a period of the Guge Kingdom. Archaeological findings demonstrate that the two cemeteries cover a large area, and have intensively-distributed tombs producing a variety of unearthed artifacts with extremely rich cultural connotations, which fill gaps in archaeological work in Western Tibet and deepen our understanding of the ancient culture of the "pre-Tubo period" in Western Tibet. The unearthed silk fabrics, gold masks, teas, lacquerware and woodware, ironware, passementerie, and so on, demonstrate this area was in an area of convergence between neighboring civilizations in the Han and Jin dynasties, and that the Himalayas were not an insurmountable natural barrier, since the Silk Road in Xinjiang extended to the area and had a comprehensive and profound influence on ancient social life in Ngari region.

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Registration Date: April 21, 2018

1. The sign-in table is located at the doorway of the Multifunction Room. Sign-in starts one hour before the lecture begins, and audience members with a reservation should queue before the table. 2. Please turn off your mobile phone ringtone before the lecture begins so as to ensure quiet in the hall. 3. If unable to attend for personal reasons, please cancel your reservation on Wechat (Activities—Recent Activities—Lectures) at least 24 hours before the lecture. Absence without advance notification will be filed and affect any future applications. Thank you for your cooperation!