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Vincent Sun

Postgraduate Research Student

Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Archaeology


  • 2021-now: Durham University, PhD candidate
  • 2018-2021: Sichuan University, MA Archaeology
  • 2014-2018: Lanzhou University, Honours BA History
  • Exchange student: National Tsing Hua University(2017); the University of Adelaide(2016)
Research Topic and Abstract
  • "Sirens" along the Silk Road: an "art-historical geography"
  • Human-bird hybrid images are widely found from the 2nd BC to 10th centuries AD or even later, in tombs and religious sites in ancient Western Asia, Central Asia, East Asia and South Asia in the forms of stone carvings, sculptures and murals. Although they look similar, all having physical characteristics of birds and humans, they have diverse cultural meanings in different cultural groups.
    In the past, some of these images and their regional meanings, as well as cultural exchanges along the Silk Road in ancient Asia, have been studied, but no definitive transmission routes of this motif have been drawn. This project utilizes this motif as a key source for the historical geography of what is known as ‘The Silk Road’, by investigating the transmission of the motif and its adaptation and application in differing environments. A synthetic study of this motif and its geographic and cultural patterning will enable illumination of larger historical concerns: the relationship between Asian environments, social, historical and ecological, and visual cultures; the processes of transmission of ideas; and how this relates to the idea of the Silk Road.

Talks and Presentations
  • 2022 (Sep.) China-Japan Youth Archaeology Forum, online. Oral presentation titled "Research on Images of the Guided Ascension of the Immortals on Pictorial Sarcophagi in the Northern Song Dynasty".
  • 2019 (Nov.) The First Archaeological Graduate Forum, Nanjing, China. Oral presentation titled "Re-exploration of the Nature of Architectural Sites Before the Qi Han's Tomb & the Connection Between Gongde Temple and Ancestral Hall".

2022/2023: Tutoring undergraduate modules

Cities in Antiquity ARCH1131_2022

Ancient Civilisations of The East ARCH1111_2022