Audio Tours


Dr. Agnes Hsu

Hello, I'm Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang archaeologist and host of the "Mysteries of China" series. I am thrilled to invite you into the mysterious world of China's lost civilization, Sanxingdui.

In 1986, archaeologists made an amazing discovery in Sichuan, China that would forever change the way historians thought about early Chinese culture and history.

The artifacts uncovered at Sanxingdui date from 1250-1100 BCE and prompted so many questions ... who were these people? How did their culture relate to the rest of China? And how did they produce these incredible and remarkable artifacts? Our guest curator Suzanne Cahill is one of the people looking for these answers. She will be your guide on today's tour.

Suzanne Cahill

One of the startling things about Sanxingdui is just how big it is. How large this civilization that nobody knew anything about actually turned out to be. It's bigger than a lot of the archaeological sites that we've known about for years. So it was obviously a very important culture hidden sort of in plain sight.

Dr. Agnes Hsu

The story became even more complicated and interesting 15 years later, in 2001, when another location full of artifacts was unearthed just 31 miles away at an ancient settlement called Jinsha. You will see objects from both discoveries today, and can compare the similarities and differences for clues about what happened to these people. Together, these discoveries remain one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of our time.

As you tour the exhibition, I encourage you to look closely and develop your own theories. Perhaps you can find the key to China's Lost Civilization.


Throughout today's tour, you will be prompted to look down at your screen for additional images. You'll know when to look when you hear this sound [SFX].

This exhibition was organized by the Bowers Museum and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Sichuan Province, China. Major funding has been provided by John and Mary Tu, Jim and Angela Hsu, China Southern Airlines, Van Cleef & Arpels, the James Irvine Foundation and East West Bank. Additional support has been provided by the Bowers Chinese Cultural Arts Council, the Medellas, and Capital Group.

For detailed instructions on using this Acoustiguide, press 4-1-1 and the 'play' button at any time.

This is an Acoustiguide production.

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