About Us
LAM Weng Cheong
LAM Weng Cheong

Associate Professor

Office NAH 408
Office Tel. 3943 7705
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Educational qualification A.B, M.A. Peking University
Ph.D Harvard University


Prof. LAM is an associate professor of anthropological archaeology working in mainland China. His research incorporates interests in various archaeological techniques including metallurgy, zooarchaeology and GIS (Geographic Information System) to study the craft production and exchange network during the Han period. He has conducted archaeological research in Shaanxi, Guangdong, and Hunan to investigate the economic system and social development of the Han empire. His is the author and editor of three books, including the recent work on Connectivity, Imperialism, and the Han Iron Industry (Routledge, 2023). His articles have appeared in leading journals in the field of Journal of Archaeological Science and Archaeological and Anthropological Science. Current research and writing projects focus on the social development in Early China including: iron technology in ancient China, the expansion of the Han dynasty in the South, the Han exchange network in peripheral centers, interregional interaction through metal commodities, cultural transmission, and the market system of food.


Area of expertise

  • Archaeology of the Qin-Han empire and Bronze Age China
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • Ceramic analysis
  • Zooarchaeology
  • GIS in archaeology
  • Craft production
  • Gender archaeology
  • Commodities and economic anthropology


Teaching Interest

 I have taught 7 different courses for the Department of Anthropology and Department of History, including introductory (e.g., ANTH 1710 Understanding Archaeology), advanced-level courses for undergraduate students (HIST 4140 History of Material Culture in Ancient China), and research graduate student level (HIST 6106 Study of Material Culture: Theory and Method). Among my areas of teaching expertise, I have a particular passion for exploring cultural heritage in China.


Researcher’s project

Han iron industry

This book examines the rise of the iron industry during the Warring States and Western Han periods (ca. 400 BCE–9 CE) in ancient China. In this book, I combine archaeological and historical analyses to piece together fragmentary evidence and to refocus our gaze onto the economic and political mechanism that gave birth to an iron industry unique in the ancient world. Using various lines of evidence of iron production in Guanzhong and its connection with other production centers, this book shows how the production and transportation of iron at various scales played a significant role in generating the “connectivity” between various parts of the Western Han empire, and casts new light on the workings of the economic system in imperial China.

Lam, Wengcheong

           2023 Connectivity, Imperialism, and the Han Iron Industry. Routledge, New York.


Han archaeology

This book provides an up-to-date synthesis of the Han Empire, using archaeological discoveries from the twenty-first century to examine changing perceptions of early China’s imperial enterprise and influence over distant areas. Building on interdisciplinary approaches (archaeology, art history, and textual studies) at the forefront of recent scholarship, the book emphasizes the diversity and complexity of geographic, economic, technological and religious factors that shaped China’s territorial ambit and debates over unity versus diversity.

Alice Yao and Lam, Wengcheong

           Forthcoming. The archaeology of the Han Empire. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.




Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, and Luo Shengqiang 羅勝強

           2023   汉代荆州南部(郴州地区)铜器分析及所见汉代铜工业相关问题 (Metallurgical Analysis of bronzeware from the southern end of the Han Jingzhou and issues related to the bronze industry). 南方文物 [Southern cultural relics]. 2023(4).


Lam, Wengcheong

           2023   Connectivity, Imperialism, and the Han Iron Industry. Routledge, New York.


Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, Luo Shengqiang 羅勝強, Xiao Yuqi 肖毓琦, Mo Linheng 莫林恆 Mo, and Zhou Wenli 周文麗

           2022   楚地南緣戰國銅器的技術與傳統 (On the technology and tradition of Warring States bronzes from the southern frontiers of the Chu state). 南方文物 [Southern cultural relics] 2022(5):188-197.


Pryce, Thomas Oliver, Wengcheong Lam, Mélissa Cadet, Jiang Zhilong, Yang Wei, and Alice Yao   (second author)

           2022   A late 2nd/early 1st millennium BC interaction arc between Mainland Southeast Asia and Southwest China: Archaeometallurgical data from Hebosuo and Shangxihe, Yunnan. Journal of Archaeological Science 143.


Pryce, T. O., Mélissa Cadet, Francis Allard, Nam C. Kim, Trinh Hoang Hiep, Lam Thi My Dung, Wengcheong Lam, and Eddy Foy     (contributor)

           2022   Copper-base metal supply during the northern Vietnamese Bronze and Iron Ages: metallographic, elemental, and lead isotope data from Dai Trach, Thành Dên, Gò Mun, and Xuân Lâp. Archaeological and Anthropological Science 14(16).


Lam, Wengcheong

              2020  Iron technology and its regional development during the Eastern Zhou China. In The Oxford

Handbook on Early China, Childs-Johnson, Elizabeth, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lam, Wengcheong, Qianglu Zhang, Jianli Chen, and Sumyi Wu

           2020   Provision of Iron Objects in the Southern Borderlands of the Han Empire: A Metallurgical Study of Iron objects from Han Tombs in Guangzhou. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12(230).


Lam, Wengcheong

              2019  Integration and the regional market system in the Early Chinese empires: a case study of the

distribution of iron and bronze objects in the Wei river valley. Asian Perspectives 59(1).


Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, Zhang, Qianglv 張強祿, and Chen, Jianali 陳建立

              2019  汉代岭南铁器的传播与运输方式:以墓葬随葬铁器的空间分析为视角 (Spread and Transportation of Iron Implements in Lingnan during the Han period: a perspective from the spatial analysis of iron implements contained in tombs). 南方文物 [Southern Cultural Relics]  2019(3). (Chinese)

Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌

              2019  秦汉陶文性质与所见行政与手工业制度演变:以关中为中心 (Ceramic Inscriptions during the Qin-Han Periods and Changes of Craft-Production System: a Case Study of Guangzhong). 中国古代政治制度与历史地理——严耕望先生百龄纪念论文集 [Ancient political system and histro-geography:Yan Gengwang memorial volume], Pp.81-103. 齐鲁书社 Qilv Press,山东 Shandong.  (Chinese)


Hunan et al., [Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology 湖南省文物考古研究所 等] (second author)

     2019  湖南桑植官田冶炼遗址发掘简报及冶金分析研究 (The preliminary report on the excavation of the ironworks at Guantian site in Shanzhi, Hunan, and archaeometallurgical analysis of manufacturing remains), 南方文物 [Southern Cultural Relics] 2019(3). (Chinese)

Shaanxi, [Shang Academy of Archaeology 陕西省考古研究院] (Lam Wengcheong as one of the editors)

           2018   邰城铸铁:陕西杨凌汉代铸铁遗址发掘与研究 [Taicheng ironworks: Report on the Excavation and Research of a Cast Iron Foundry of the Han Period in Yangling, Shaanxi]. 上海古籍出版社 Shanghai Guji Press, 上海 Shanghai. (Chinese)


Lam, Wengcheong, Jianli Chen, Jianrong Chong, Xingshan Lei, and Wai Lun Tam

           2018   An iron production and exchange system at the center of the Western Han Empire: Scientific study of iron products and manufacturing remains from the Taicheng site complex. Journal of Archaeological Science 100:88-101.


Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, et al.

           2017   西汉地方铸铁作坊的技术选择:以关中邰城作坊冶金陶瓷科技分析为例 (Technological Choice of Local Iron Foundries in the Western Han period: Scientific Analysis of Metallurgical Ceramic from Taicheng in the Guanzhong Basin),南方文物 [Southern Cultural Relics] 2017(2): 121-130. (Chinese)


Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, and Chen, Jianli 陈建立

              2017  东周时期铁器技术与工业的地域性差异 (On the regional variation of iron technology and iron

industry during the Eastern Zhou period). 南方文物 [Southern Cultural Relics] 2017(3):98-106. (Chinese)


Lam Wengcheong林永昌, et al.

            2017    论秦国铁器普及化与关中地区战国时期铁器流通模式 (The spread of iron industry in the Qin state and distribution network of iron in the Guanzhong basin during the Warring States period). 中国国家博物馆馆刊 [Journal of National Museum of China]  2017(3): 36-53. (Chinese)

Lam Wengcheong  林永昌

            2017    试论东周晋系墓葬的长幼之序与男女之别 (On the age and gender difference in the burial practice of Eastern Zhou Tombs of the Jin State),古代文明(第十三卷) [Ancient Civilization] (vol.13). 上海古籍出版社 Shanghai Guji Press, 上海 Shanghai. (Chinese)


Lam Wengcheong

            2017    New trends and insights for archaeometallurgical research in East Asia and beyond: a brief summary report on metallurgical talks in the SAA 82nd meeting,  SAS Bulletin 2017, 40(2): 25-27.


Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, et al.

             2015  试论汉代关中地区铁器生产原料的来源与流通—邰城铸铁作坊出土铁遗物的冶金分析 (On the

Provenience and Circulation of Raw Materials for Iron Production in the Guangzhou Area of the Han Period: a

Case Study of Iron Remains Identified from the Taicheng Foundry). 考古與文物 [Archaeology and cultural relics]

2015(6):95-109, 124. (Chinese)


Lam, Wengcheong

           2014   Everything Old is New Again? Rethinking the Transition to the Cast Iron Production in the Central Plains of China. Journal of Anthropological Research 70(4):511-542.


Lam, Wengcheong 林永昌, Chong, Jianrong 种建荣, and Lei, Xingshan 雷兴山

              2013  周公庙商周时期聚落动物资源利用初识 (Preliminary Analysis of Animal Resources Utilization during the Shang-Zhou Period at the Zhougongmiao Site). 考古与文物 [Archaeology and Cultural Relics] 2013(3):45-54. (Chinese)

Lam Wengcheong林永昌

                2011        东山文化的若干问题再检讨 (A Restudy on Several Critique Issues Related to the Dongson

Culture: Bronze Technology and Politics). 南方民族考古 (第七卷) [Southern Ethnology and Archaeology] (Vol.7).

Beijing 北京: Science Press 科学出版社. (Chinese)





Projects and Grants (External)


  • GRF #14621718
    Project Title : Market System at the Conjunction of the Imperial Interregional Network: An Archaeological Study of Metal Objects in the Jingnan Region of the Han Empire (PI)
  • ESF # 24607916

Project Title: The archaeology of iron technology and the sovereignty of the Han dynasty in its southern periphery




Current student projects

I am currently supervising PhD and Mphil students working on the following topic:

  • Chen Yutong (2020-) The foodways in the Guanzhong basin during the Pre-Qin periods
  • Neil O’Neil (2021-) Neolithic culture in ancient Hong Kong
  • Xiao Yiyang (2022-) Difficult cultural heritage in China


  • Zhang Zhao (2019-2022)  西漢南嶺南北的高等級墓葬、喪葬 和社會 ——以荊州刺史部南部和交阯刺史部為中心   High-status Tombs, Funerals and Society to the North and South of Nanling Mountains in the Western Han Dynasty ——Centering on the Southern Part of Jinzhou Cishi Bu and Jiaozhi Cishi Bu [Chinese]
  • Xiao Yuqi (2018-2022) The making of bronze, frontier, and Early Chinese Empire: an archaeometallurgical case study of Chenzhou (4th century BCE- 3rd century CE)
  • Zou Yuqi (2019-2021) 漢代銅鏡區域流通與生產:以關中和古荊州為中心 (Regional Circulation and Production of Bronze Mirrors in Han Dynasty: a Case Study of the Guanzhong and Jingzhou Regions) [Chinese]
  • Tse Nga yin (2017-2019) 送死與佐生:兩周賵賻現象再研究 To the living and the dead: Rethinking of the fengfu practice in Zhou Dynasty [Chinese] (publication see  謝雅妍 2021  战国遣策与楚地墓葬所见的赗赙现象新探. 古代文明 (第15卷). 上海:上海古籍出版社)
  • Ho, Chun Him (2017-2019) 晚商都城的人口、族群與地方管理  Demography, ethnic communities, and local administration of the Late Shang capital  (publication see  何俊謙 2020  殷墟墓地人口复原及殷墟都城人口规模的蠡测. 古代文明 (第14卷). 上海:上海古籍出版社)
  • Poh Yijia (2016-2018) The made and the making: Double-F pottery production and community construction in Bronze Age eastern Lingnan

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