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Department of Archaeology



I am from central China, close to the Yellow River. I took an MA in Public Archaeology at UCL and in the history of art and archaeology at SOAS, University of London (2003-04). I was employed as Deputy Director, Expert Committee of China Cultural Heritage Foundation, in the Ministry of Culture, P.R. China (2008-2010).  In addition, I worked as a Heritage Expert (National Programme Assistant for Culture) at UNESCO Office Beijing (2008-09) focussed on the production of an international textbook: Paper Conservation Guidelines: The Methodology of Paper Conservation and Paper Making Traditions in East Asia. I also worked as a free-lance Assistant Researcher on the project “Chinese Sites for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List: Presentation and Management” for SOAS, University of London, UK, in collaboration with Bologna University, Italy (2009-2010). I am the author of World Heritage in China (English and Chinese), Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2008. I came to University of Cambridge in 2009 to start a PhD in Archaeology on World Heritage Studies, under the supervision of Professor Marie Louise Stig Sørensen (Supervisor) and Professor Martin Jones (Advisor). 


My interest is ancient cultures and ancient civilizations of China. Previous projects have investigated the use of the concept of patriotism in the state promotion of heritage in China, the ideological significance of World Heritage designation, and development of the Chinese script.

In my current position as Senior Research Associate on the Heritage Centre project ‘Yangshao Culture: 100 Year Research History and Heritage Impact’; I focus on the roles of museums in the dissemination of a notion of the Yanshao culture as regional and national heritage. This research will investigate what effects emerging practices of Heritage Studies and museums building programs have on the state’s ideological use of the Yangshao Culture, and whether the notions of authenticity, difference and uniqueness on which local museums are based will undermine the ‘official narrative’ which uses Yangshao Culture objects to legitimise the current ethnic configuration of China.



Key publications: 

Yang, G. & S. Tan 2013. Mysterious, Holy, Imperial: Splendours of Jade in the Yuzu Museum of Art in China (English and Chinese). Beijing: China Social Sciences Press.

Yang, G. 2008. World Heritage in China (English and Chinese). Beijing: Central Party Literature Press .

Yang, G. 2001. (ed.) The Collected Works of Sanmenxia Archaeology, for Xu, H. & H. Yang. Singapore Trend (F.E.) Publishing Centre and Beijing: National Archives Press.

Yang, G. 2000. (ed.) The Discoveries and Researches of Guo State Tombs Sites, for Wang, B. Singapore Trend (F.E.) Publishing Centre and Beijing: China Social Science Academy Press.

Yang, G. 1996. Shijimo de muyangren (The End of the Century Shepherd). Beijing: International Culture Press (a book of Chinese poetry).

Other Professional Activities

I am a Fellow of the Cambridge University Philosophical Society since 2012. Currently, I am a Member of the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre and a Member of the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Chinese Character Studies.

Job Titles

Senior Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Museum Studies
Socio-Politics of the Past
Heritage Management
Cultural Heritage

Contact Details

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Department of Archaeology Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER


Person keywords: 
East Asia, Neolithic, Museum Studies, Heritage Studies and Archaeology
Heritage Studies
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Material Culture
Geographical areas: 
East Asia
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Other Historical
Other Late Prehistory
Other Prehistory