State Archaeologist David Madsen has been invited to China to explore the possibility of joint research projects with Chinese archaeologists.

Madsen will share his expertise on cave excavations with Nanjing University scientists working on the Beijing Man (etter known as Peking Man) excavation - a site with homo erectus occupation dating from 200,000 to 300,000 years ago."I know as much as anybody about how to excavate caves, and they've invited me to come over to explore the possibility of working on their sites," Madsen said.

The joint field school is in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh, with which Madsen frequently works.

Madsen hopes the China visit will pave the way for Chinese scientists to study Utah archaeology while Utah archaeologists study Chinese prehistory. They would then compare their research.

"There is an area in western China that is an exact duplicate of the Great Basin," Madsen said. "We want to look at a joint project to study whether environment was a more important factor than historical factors."

The trip is being funded by the University of Pittsburgh, "but I'm using the trip to set up research projects for Utah," he said.