Xia Nai (夏鼐, 1910, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China – 19 June 1985) was an eminent Chinese archaeologist, celebrated on the international academic scene as a member of the British Academy (1974), the Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities (1983), the U.S. Academy of Sciences (1984), the Italian Institute of Far Eastern Studies, the Third World Academy of Sciences and the German Institute of Archaelogy.
After majoring in economic history at Tsinghua University in Beijing (1934), he studied Egyptology at the University College of London and later joined the Beijing Central Museum. A professor at Zhejiang University, he worked on many excavation sites in China (including the discovery of the Yin ruins in Anyang, dating back to the Shang dynasty) and was appointed Director of the Institute of Archaeology within the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) (1962–1982).
Persecuted and submitted to 're-education' during the Cultural Revolution, between 1966 and 1972, he resumed his academic and field work afterwards and published in 1981 a major, annotated edition of Zhou Daguan's Customs of Cambodia. He also contributed to the development of the Wenzhou Museum, Wenzhou being his and the famous Chinese traveler Zhou Daguan's hometown.
In Anyang,1935 (Source: School of Archaeology and Museology)
Xia Nai (center) checking findings at the Ding Mausoleum (Ming Dynasty) near Beijing, 1958 (Source: China Daily)