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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Staff

Ms Jiajing Mo

Contact Ms Jiajing Mo

Academic Biography

I completed my BA in Archaeology from Nanjing University (2008-2012) and gained my master degree in Archaeology from Peking University (2012-2015). Before I began my MPhil program in Durham in 2018, I worked as an academic editor in Imaginist.

I have long been interested in the archaeology of religion. In previous researches I studied the introduction and spread of Buddhism in China through archaeological materials, especially the Buddhist caves constructed during the 5th-6th century CE.

My current MPhil research is focused on the western Nepal terai, a region featured with pilgrimage sites associated with the life of Buddha. Meanwhile, I am also engaged in the UNESCO chair project “The Natal Landscape of Buddha”.

Research Topic

The Changing Landscape in Western Nepal Terai in the Second Half of the First Millennium

Abstract

Western Nepal terai began to be populated as early as the second millennium BCE and reached its heyday in Kushan period. Yet in the next few centuries most sites began to show signs of decay as most sites were dwindled and abandoned. When the Chinese pilgrims, Faxian and Xuanzang, visited here in the 5th and 7th century, what they saw was mainly ruins and jungles. It was not until the early medieval period (7th -13th century) that the region a new wave of construction arose with a series of new sites cropping up. But this ‘revival’ seems to be associated more with religion as many sites were temples, some of which are built with exquisite carved bricks. My project is focused on this change in landscape in the early medieval time based on the textual and archaeological evidence.

Selected Grants

  • 1st Class Postgraduate Scholarship from Peking University, 2012
  • National Scholarship from the Ministry of Education of China, 2010

Research Groups

  • Heritage, Archaeology, People & Places Research & Impact Group
  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group