Zhichun Jing

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Early China
Shang Civilization
Archaeological Science
Early Urbanism

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.

Research Methodology

archaeological excavation
archaeological survey
isotope analysis
near-infrared spectorscopy
Scanning Electron Microscopy
ceramic petrography
machine learning


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in hiring Co-op students for research placements.

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  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
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These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Everyday life in the making : daily practice, ordinary people, and urbanism at Yinxu, Late Shang (ca. 1250-1046 B.C.) (2022)

The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Late Shang (1200 BCE - 1046 BCE) Bronze Casting and Technological Behaviour (2014)

This project examines the bronze casting technology of the late Shang Dynasty (1200-1046 BCE). Despite extensive scholarship on the bronzes themselves, the details of the casting process have remained unclear. Considering the relevance of the bronzes in terms of ritual and burial practices, class hierarchy, and royal affiliation, understanding the production behind the bronzes can reveal a great deal about the lives of everyday Shang craftspeople and Shang society as a whole.This project examines bronze foundry remains from Yinxu, the ruins of the last capital of the Shang Dynasty, in an attempt to uncover more information about the late Shang bronze casting process. Emphasizing the behavioural nature of technology, and the information embedded within technological action, this project undertakes replication experiments to explore how the physical properties of the materials directly influenced the behavioural nature of the bronze casting process. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) suggests that the loess used to create bronze molds was processed differently than in other ceramics, with a notably reduced amount of clay. This information is integrated with an experimental program, which concludes that the removal of clay fundamentally facilitates the bronze casting process by minimizing shrinkage, providing structural stability and enabling long-term decoration. This has implications on the labour of the bronze-casting industry, emphasizing an initial process (the removal of clay) in order to facilitate mold construction, decoration and casting at later stages. Examining the ways in which technologies are developed and used, and for what purposes, is a way in which archaeologists can examine past behaviour on both a personal and societal scale. The integration of petrographic analyses with an experimental program highlights how specific behaviours in the late Shang, such as materials processing and labour organization, are reflected in the technological remains of bronze casting. This project concludes that further examination into late Shang bronze casting technology is necessary in order to understand such a politically, socially and spiritually significant industry of the time, offering insight into the daily perspectives of the Shang people due to the inherently behavioural nature of technology.

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The archaeological investigation of human sacrifice at Xibeigang in Anyang during the late Shang dynasty (2010)

The Late Shang dynasty is well-known for its intensive practice of human sacrifice. Headless skeletons and bodiless skulls have been found by archaeologists working at Xibeigang in Anyang, once a royal cemetery in the Late Shang dynasty. Based on the contexts in which they were found, these remains have come to be seen as a result of human sacrifice. While human sacrifice has been a topic of the Late Shang study for many decades, it lacks a thorough study rooted in archaeological materials. Therefore, the characteristics of human sacrifice in the Late Shang remain unclear and the function of human sacrifice has not been thoroughly examined against the archaeological record. In this thesis, I present a systematic qualitative and quantitative analysis of published data of sacrificial human remains at Xibeigang. I analyze the characteristics of human sacrifice at Xibeigang (i.e. physical conditions, gender and age profiles, burial postures and spatial and temporal patenting). Based on these observations, I examine the function of human sacrifice especially within the broad ritual development happening in Anyang during the Late Shang. By doing so, I suggest that Shang rulers were increasingly being honored by human sacrifice which, in earlier times, was dedicated to certain deities. It was under this process that human sacrifice became a powerful instrument for Shang rulers to legitimize their political power and transform their status – in effort becoming divine kings.

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Membership Status

Member of G+PS
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Program Affiliations

Academic Unit(s)


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