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February Lecture: “‘Auspicious Gold’ and ‘Precious Stones’: Rethinking Weapons in Bronze Age Shang China (c.1250-1050 BCE)”

23rd February 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Finds from tomb Huayuanzhuang M54, Anyang - Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

This will be a hybrid event hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland which will take place both in Augustine United Church and online. Immediately after the lecture there will be a drinks reception.

It may be necessary, due to any future local restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, to move certain events to fully online only. Please keep an eye on the Society website, e-newsletters and your email inbox for the latest news and further information on Society events.

This event is free and open to all.

Lecture will be presented by Dr Qin Cao

Renowned for its magnificent bronze vessels, the Shang is a major period foundational to the forming of Chinese civilization. However, the even larger quantities of bronze and jade weapons from Shang tombs have attracted less scholarly attention. Do they simply represent the status and military role of the deceased? Were they merely ritual implements?  This lecture explores the significance of weapons to early Chinese civilization, and how the application of European archaeological theories and methods benefit research into Chinese Bronze Age material remains

For further information, please see Qin’s book page here.

Please note, this lecture contains images of human remains and pictographic depictions of violent deaths which may be upsetting to some viewers. There will be clear warnings if graphic images are to be shown on screen.

Lecturer Details

Dr Qin Cao is currently the Curator of Chinese collections at the Oriental Museum, Durham University and was previously a Senior Curator of Chinese collections at National Museums Scotland. She specialises in Chinese Bronze Age archaeology and East Asian numismatics. Qin has published bi-lingually for both academic and public audiences, and curated permanent displays and temporary exhibitions. Her book titled ‘Weapons in Late Shang (c.1250-1050 BCE) China: Beyond Typology and Ritual is published by Routledge in Autumn 2022.  

February Lecture 2023 Registration



House Rules

The Society has a zero-tolerance policy on harassment and bullying.

All attendees are requested to act with respect to one another during this hybrid event.

Anyone making comments which we believe to be inappropriate (e.g. offensive or abusive) will be removed from the event immediately. Equivalent procedures (e.g. with regard to spam) will apply online.


COVID-19 Precautions for attending in-person events

To ensure all attendees and members of staff have a safe and enjoyable experience at these events, please make sure you adhere to the following rules:

We request that you do not attend if you have any COVID-19 symptoms prior to the event

Try to maintain social distancing where possible and respect those with Distance Aware badges or lanyards

Please use hand sanitising stations provided

Listen to further announcements made by members of staff



The main entrance to the church is up four steps with a handrail.

Step free access is available via a door to the right of the building – please ring the bell for attention. Please note there is a tight turn in this passageway.

A standard accessible toilet is available on the ground floor and lower level (accessible via lift).

The venue (AUC sanctuary) has a hearing loop included.

Assistance dogs are allowed inside the venue.

If attending via Zoom, captions are included.

You can find further information on Accessibility here.



23rd February 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL United Kingdom

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