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How Leaded Bronze Transformed China, 2000-1000 BCE

Limin Huan
Publication Year:
204 pages
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of East Asia, 10
BAR number:


In China’s Metal Age, which began around 2000 BCE, leaded bronze was widely used. The additional lead distinguishes early Chinese bronze objects from unleaded objects used by most other Metal Age communities in Eurasia. This book focuses on the lead question in early China.

By combining the geology and material properties with case studies of early metal-using communities, the research challenges the current hypothesis that craftspeople added lead for technological reasons. Instead, it argues that the widespread usage of leaded bronze objects was mainly due to socio-economic factors and interregional interaction.

Its broad scope and discussion on research methods make the book of interest to researchers concerned with archaeometallurgy, early China, and prehistoric archaeology.

Limin Huan received his DPhil and MSt in Archaeology from University of Oxford. He has a BSc in Physics from Shanghai Jiaotong University, China.

‘The perspective addressed by this book covering several geographical regions within present day China, has rarely been studied. It provides systematic, in-depth research on leaded bronze. It is truly original.’ Dr Xiuzhen Li, UCL Institute of Archaeology 

‘This work is highly innovative and probably the only one that explores leaded bronze with such intellectual depth. It demonstrates a high degree of originality and makes a significant contribution to the field.' Associate Professor Lam Weng Choeng, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Table of Contents (S3147_Huan_9781407315249_-_contents.pdf, 196 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (Huan_9781407315249_Introduction.pdf, 6,498 Kb) [Download]