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Article contents

The emergence of complex society in China: the case of Liangzhu

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2018

Colin Renfrew*
Affiliation:
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER, UK
Bin Liu
Affiliation:
Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Hangzhou 310014, China
*
*Author for correspondence (Email: acr10@cam.ac.uk)

Abstract

Recent research at Liangzhu in China documents the settlement as a fortified town dating from 3300–2300 BC, accompanied by an impressive system of earthen dams for flood control and irrigation. An earthen platform in the centre of the town probably supported a palace complex, and grave goods from the adjacent Fanshan cemetery include finely worked jades accompanying high-status burials. These artefacts were produced by a complex society more than a millennium before the bronzes of the Shang period. The large-scale public works and remarkable grave goods at Liangzhu are products of what may be the earliest state society in East Asia.

Type
Research
Copyright
© Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2018 

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