CHINA MEMORIES

JOURNAL OF AN ARCHAEOLOGIST

IN THE THREE GORGES OF THE YANGTZE RIVER IN 1999
 

BY

IAN W. BROWN

(UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, USA)

CURATOR OF GULF COAST ARCHAEOLOGY,
ALABAMA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

ISBN: 978-1-937030-63-6

These memories derive from a journey that the author took in China in February and March of 1999 as a member of the Zhong Xian Archaeological Project. His trip largely focused on the province of Sichuan, but several days were spent in and around Beijing. An archaeological study of salt was the purpose of the expedition, but in the process of traveling hither and yon, Dr. Brown experienced life in China that was undergoing major changes, both in urban and rural areas. The account is extracted directly from his detailed diary and offers many insights as to how local peoples reacted to a team of strange archaeologists that happened to wander into their lives.

            Instead of the usual day-by-day account of the travels as they played out, the author has chosen to divide his memories by subject matter. Headings include The Adventure of Travel, Burden Bearers, Hotel Experiences, Life on the Roof Tops, Vendors and Their Wares, Red Hot Cuisine, The Chinese People, and a concluding section on The Rhythm of Life. As Dr. Brown says, "a journal is a life experience as it is being lived, so hopefully the reader will find some value in my relation. China is a wonderful place, but unfortunately its character seldom can be expressed adequately in words." Numerous beautiful photographs enhance the text and give validity to the (supposedly) Chinese proverb that, "a picture is worth a thousand words." In this case, as the text amounts to 25,236 words and the picture count is 86, the adage may have to be modified somewhat to "a picture is worth 293 words," which is really quite a nice ratio.

Dr. Ian W. Brown is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama and Curator of Gulf Coast Archaeology at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Dr. Brown specializes in the archaeology and history of Southeastern U.S. Indians and has spent over four decades excavating sites in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and writing about the role of salt in North America, England, and China. Dr. Brown was educated at Harvard College (B.A. 1973) and Brown University (M.A. 1975, Ph.D. 1979). In the 1980s he taught at Harvard and also served as Assistant Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and Associate Curator of North American Collections. He came to the University of Alabama in 1991 and since then has been awarded numerous teaching awards and commitment to student awards. He has also had the honor of being a past President of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (1992-94) and the Association for Gravestone Studies (2009-13).

  

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