Thursday, March 11

Reading:  Neolithic China

On Thursday, we will engage the field of Chinese archaeology to ask the question: "What preceded the Shang Dynasty -- where did 'China' come from?"  Our tour, which will be  whirlwind fast, will take us from 7000 B.C. to 2000 B.C., and even a bit later, to the cusp of Shang society.

Your online reading walks you through four major "precursor" cultures, each names after the village where the culture's remains were first discovered:

Peiligang Culture,     7000-5000
Yangshao Culture,     5000-3000
Longshan Culture,     2700-2000
Liangzhu Culture,      3500-2000

Maps for each of these cultures appear in the readings, and each is described there in terms of the elements that seem most to suggest a role in contributing towards the later culture we call "China." 

We will end by discussing the possible historical existence of the Xia Dynasty (the "history" of which can be narrated on three pages [13-15], with plenty of room for notes), and the relation to the Xia of the archaeological type site at Erlitou, described in your reading on pp. 11-12.