Liye Xie

Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Undergraduate (UTM)
HSC 346 (Main), AP 242 (St. George)
(905) 828-3782


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Research Keywords: Archaeology, experimental archaeology, microwear analysis, technological changes, groundstone tools, bone tools, earthen construction, urbanization, cultural transmission.

Research Region: China


Dr. Liye Xie is a problem-oriented, interdisciplinary researcher and an anthropological archaeologist with a background in China’s historically-oriented approach to archaeology. Her research focuses on the co-construction of technology and society with specialties in preindustrial technologies of bone, stone, and earthen construction. She employs a broad range of theory and research strategies in order to explain technological choices, origins and intensification of agriculture, urbanization, and social transformation during the Neolithic period and Early Bronze Age in various regions in China. Many of her projects involve microwear analysis and intensive archaeological experimentation.

To learn more about Dr. Xie’s academic path and research plans, please check her UTM research profile and How we shaped the technologies that also shaped us.


Ph.D. (University of Arizona, 2014)


2020. Xie, Liye, Zahid Daudjee*, Chun Fu Liu**, Pauline Sebillaud, Settlement relocation, urban construction, and social transformation in China’s Central Plain, 2300-1500 B.C.. Asian Perspectives: The Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific 59(2): pages TBD.

2019. MacDonald, Danielle, Liye Xie, Tiziana Gallo*, Here’s the dirt: first applications of confocal microscopy for quantifying microwear of experimental ground stone earth working tools, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 26: 101861

2019. Xie, Liye, Tiziana Gallo*, Danielle A. MacDonald, Microwear analysis on experimental ground stone earth-working implements and its implication for investigating ancient agricultural practices. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25: 351-369.

2018. Xie, Liye, Scapulae for shovels: does raw material choice reflect accessibility and technical ease? Journal of Archaeological Science 97:77-89. 

2018. Xie, Liye & Mary Stiner, Raw material preferences for scapular tools: evaluating water buffalo age bias in the Early Hemudu Culture, ChinaInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology 28(6):645–655. 

2018. Peter Turchin, Thomas E. Currie, Harvey Whitehouse, Pieter Francois, Kevin Feeney, Daniel Mullins, Daniel Hoyer, Christina Collins, Stephanie Grohmann, Patrick Savage, Gavin Mendel-Gleason, Edward Turner, Agathe Dupeyron, Enrico Cioni, Jenny Reddish, Jill Levine, Greine Jordan, Eva Brandl, Alice Williams, Rudolf Cesaretti, Marta Krueger, Alessandro Cecceralli, Joe Figliulo-Rosswurm, Peter Peregrine, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Nikolay Kradin, Andrey Korotayev, Alessio Palmisano, David Baker, Julye Bidmead, Peter Bol, David Christian, Connie Cook, Alan Covey, Gary Feinman, Árni Daníel Júlíusson, Axel Kristinsson, John Miksic, Ruth Mostern, Cameron Petrie, Peter Rudiak-Gould, Barend ter Haar, Vesna Wallace, Victor Mair, Liye Xie, John Baines, Elizabeth Bridges, Joseph Manning, Bruce Lockhart, Po-Ju Tuan, Amy Bogaard, Charles Spencer. Quantitative historical analyses uncover a single dmension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (2): E144-151.

2017. Xie, Liye, Xuejiao Lu, Guoping Sun, and Weijin Huang. Functionality and Morphology: Identifying Si Agricultural Tools from among Hemudu Scapular Implements in Eastern China. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 24:377-423. DOI 10.1007/s10816-015-9271-x.

2016.  Jiang, Leping, Hanlong Sun, Liye Xie, Jiajing Wang, Chunxue Wang, Yan Wu, Yiting Shu, Xinxin Zuo. Pujiang Shangshan. Beijing: Cultural Relics Press. (In Chinese)

2015. Xie, Liye, Steven L. Kuhn, Guoping Sun, John W. Olsen, Yunfei Zheng, Pin Ding, and Ye Zhao. Labor costs for prehistoric earthwork construction: experimental and archaeological insights from the Lower Yangzi Basin, China. American Antiquity 80(1):67-88.

2010        Chen, Xingcan, Liye Xie, and Yongqiang Li. Cultural Difference is the Main Factor to Influence Ancient Population Estimates: Analysis of the Ethnoarchaeological Examination Questionnaire from Shijiazhai Village. In Karen Hardy ed. Archaeological Invisibility and Forgotten Knowledge: Conference Proceedings, Łódź, Poland, 5th–7th September 2007, pp. 41-52. BAR International Series 2183. Oxford, England: Archaeopress.

2008        Xie, Liye, Functional Analyses of Stone Axes and Knives from the Erlitou site. In Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (eds) Early Bronze Age Culture in China: Monographs on Erlitou Culture, pp.355-469. Beijing, China: Science Press. (谢礼晔:《二里头遗址石斧和石刀的微痕分析,中国社会科学院考古研究所编《中国早期青铜文化——二里头文化专题研究》,科学出版社,2008年,第355-469页。)

2008        Xie, LiyeYiyuan Li, Qiang Wang, and Yihui Qian. An experimental study of drilling use-wear). In Chen Shen and Xing Gao (eds) Archaeological Study of Lithic Use-Wear Experiments), pp.107-144, Chapter 6. Beijing, China: Science Press. (谢礼晔、李意愿、王强、 钱益汇:《钻孔运动方式实验与微痕分析报告》,沈辰、高星主编《石器微痕分析的考古学实验研究》,科学出版社 ,2008年,第107-144页。)

2006        Xie, Liye and Xingcan Chen. Reworked stone artifacts at Erlitou. In Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (ed.) Chinese Archaeology in the 21st Century, pp. 375-387. Beijing, China: Cultural Relics Press. (谢礼晔、陈星灿:《二里头遗址的改制石器初探》 中国社会科学院考古研究所编《二十一世纪的中国考古学 》, 文物出版社,2006年,第 375-387页。)

Graduate Students

Prospective Graduate Students

I encourage students who are interested in the following subjects or Chinese archaeology in general to apply for the graduate program in the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto.

  1. Regional trajectories of urbanism and socio-economic complexity in prehistoric China
  2. Cultural transmission and technological traditions in preindustrial societies
  3. Architecture energetics (a methodology that quantifies architectures in terms of labour-day cost to serve as the analytical basis for comparing labour management systems among past societies)
  4. Prehistoric bone and stone tools
  5. Prehistoric technological choices