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Salt Production and Social Hierarchy in Ancient China
An Archaeological Investigation of Specialization in China's Three Gorges

$50.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107629936

$ 50.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the organization of specialized salt production at Zhongba, one of the most important prehistoric sites in the Three Gorges of China's Yangzi River valley. Rowan K. Flad demonstrates that salt production emerged in the second millennium BCE and developed into a large-scale, intense activity. As the intensity of this activity increased during the early Bronze Age, production became more coordinated, perhaps by an emergent elite who appear to have supported their position of authority by means of divination and the control of ritual knowledge. This study explores evidence of these changes in ceramics, the layout of space at the site, and animal remains. It synthesizes the data retrieved from years of excavation, showing not only the evolution of production methods, but also the emergence of social hierarchy in the Three Gorges region over two millennia.

    • Relates to the Three Gorges of China, a region of international interest because of the recently constructed dam
    • Salt is a vital resource for all human societies and this study helps us understand how early populations acquired it
    • Contains a personal account of a foreign archaeologist working in China
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Flad’s insightful study, including a thoughtful review of ethnohistoric data and material remains from other areas of the ancient world where salt was produced, will be an inspiration for other research projects on salt production." -Anne P. Underhill, Current Anthropology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107629936
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 71 b/w illus. 2 maps 15 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The organization of ancient salt production in Sichuan
    3. Ancient salt production in Sichuan
    4. The Zhongba site
    5. Ceramic evidence
    6. Parameters of production according to ceramics
    7. Features and spatiality
    8. Animal remains and divination
    9. Conclusions and implications

  • Author

    Rowan K. Flad, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Rowan K. Flad is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. He is actively engaged in archaeological field work in China and has lectured widely on Chinese archaeology. He co-edited a book on specialization in the series Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association and has contributed articles to many edited volumes and journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Anthropology, the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology and the Journal of Field Archaeology.

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