China: Yangguanzhai Excavation (IFR)

Location: Gaoling, Xi'An, Shaanxi, China

Session Dates: June 16-July 20, 2024

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Institute for Field Research (IFR), UCLA, Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology

Project Director:
Dr. Li Yue, Dr. Zhai Linlin, Dr. Zhouyong Sun & Yang Liping

Project Description:

The Yangguanzhai Neolithic Archaeological Project focuses on one of the largest known prehistoric villages in China, dating to the Middle to Late Yangshao period (4,000-3,000 BCE). Yangguanzhai is located in the Jing River Valley, approximately 25 kilometers north of the ancient city of Xi’an in northwest China. Excavation of 18,000 sq. meters has revealed a moat, a row of cave dwellings, subterranean houses, child urn-burials, and extensive pottery kilns.  Whereas earlier excavations focused on exposing large architectural features, current investigations are focused on evidence for changes in how the Neolithic settlement was used over its long history of occupation. For example, recent analyses of local stratigraphic data and samples collected with micromorphological methods are revealing shifts in uses of key features like moats and pits. These and other data are essential to a fuller understanding of life at different stages of Yangguanzhai’s history and provide an empirical foundation for exploring why behavior changed over time.

The Yangguanzhai project makes evident how archaeological inquiry is truly a multidisciplinary endeavor. Learning and training alongside local Chinese archaeology students, participants in this program are introduced to micromorphological, paleoethnobotanical, zooarchaeological, and geochemical methods. This field school promises a full immersion into the practice of Chinese archaeology through lectures, museum visits, and training in methodologically rigorous field investigations with experienced Chinese archaeologists.

Period(s) of Occupation: Prehistoric, Neolithic China Archaeology

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Students are expected to stay the full length of the program.

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
During the first week of the field school, students will live in a student dormitory at Xibei University in the city of Xi’an. While in the field, students will reside at the Wufulinmen Hotel near the site. Food is provided Monday to Saturday (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Students are responsible for their own meals on Sundays. While students are free to obtain their own breakfast and lunch with a daily allowance we provide, all dinners are taken together, since we will use this opportunity to get the whole team together and catch up on the progress of the day. The daily diet in North China is heavily based on rice, noodles, and vegetables. Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain in this location. Vegetarians may find options somewhat limited and should be prepared to be flexible when eating the local food, or should bring supplemental food (e.g. protein bars) if they think it will be necessary.

Academic Credit:
8 semester (12 quarter)

Contact Information:

Institute for Field Research

2999 Overland Ave Suite 103

Los Angeles




Phone: 424-209-1173

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