About

This blog is about Johan Gunnar Andersson (1874-1960), the Swedish archaeologist who helped discover East Asian prehistory. To begin with, it will include a bibliography of Johan Gunnar Andersson’s own works, and of writings about him and his works — on the next pages. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

More information about J.G. Andersson and his life can be found in, among other sources, the book China Before China: Johan Gunnar Andersson, Ding Wenjiang, and the Discovery of China’s Prehistory by Magnus Fiskesjö and Chen Xingcan. Bilingual, in both Chinese and English. Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 2004. ISBN 91-970616-3-8.

Apart from the list of references printed in that book, the attached bibliography is the most complete bibliography of publications and writings by Johan Gunnar Andersson (1874-1960) available anywhere.

Johan Gunnar Andersson was an archaeologist, geologist and paleontologist who served as the founding Director of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, Sweden. Previously, he was Director of Sweden’s Geological Survey, and was a geology and mining adviser to the Chinese government in 1914-26. Andersson’s work in China included training Chinese scholars in geology and archaeology, benefiting the development of modern science, as well as China’s modern mining industry.

Andersson is most famous for his unprecedented discoveries in prehistoric archaeology. His most important discoveries began with the prehistoric Neolithic cultural remains at Yangshao, Henan Province, excavated in 1921, and continued with more spectacular finds in China’s Northwestern provinces; numerous paleontological, geological, and ethnographical materials were also discovered and collected. In Sweden, these archaeological finds are housed mainly in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Ostasiatiska Museet), and the paleontological finds partly in Uppsala University’s Museum of Evolution, and partly in the Museum of Natural History, Stockholm. Some of the portions of collections left in China or returned to China were later lost there (on this matter, see the above-cited book (Fiskesjö and Chen, China Before China).

Andersson’s archaeological discoveries laid the foundation for the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, which was established by Sweden’s Parliament as a national institution in 1926. Andersson, famously known in Sweden as Kina-Gunnar (China-Gunnar), served as the museum’s first Director, 1926-38, and as Sweden’s first Professor of East Asian Archaeology, at Stockholm University. He continued research and writing until his death, contributing frequently to the museum’s scientific journal, the Bulletin of the MFEA, founded by Andersson, and which appears annually since 1929.

Also note that Johan Gunnar (alternatively written “J.G.”, “J. Gunnar,” or “Kina-Gunnar”) Andersson (1874-1960) should not be confused with Gunnar Andersson (1865-1928), his older contemporary and associate who was a geographer, botanist, and onetime secretary of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography, editor of its journal Ymer, and who was also a member of the China Committee, a group of prominent Swedes which supported of Johan Gunnar Andersson’s research in China.

Magnus Fiskesjö (Dept. Anthropology, Cornell University)
October 2, 2012

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