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The Anyang Xibeigang Shang royal tombs revisited: a social archaeological approach

  • Koji Mizoguchi (a1) and Junko Uchida (a2)
Abstract

The Shang Dynasty has attracted much archaeological research, particularly the renowned ‘royal tombs’ of the Xibeigang cemetery at Anyang Yinxu, the last Shang capital. Understanding of the social strategies informing Shang mortuary practices is, however, very limited. A new reconstruction of the detailed chronology of the cemetery is presented here, allowing social theory to be applied, and reveals the strategic social decisions behind the placement of the tombs in relation to each other. The results of this analysis are important not only for the reconstruction of the social structure and organisation of the late Shang dynasty, but also for understanding the relationship between mortuary practices and the functioning of early states in other regions.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-ncnd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence (Email: mizog@scs.kyushu-u.ac.jp)
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Antiquity
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