Over the last five years, excavation of a large, stone, fortified site at Shimao, on the northern edge of the Loess Plateau in Shaanxi Province, China, has radically changed our understanding of the events that precipitated the development of the first bronze casting in central China at Erlitou (Figure 1). An international conference on the Shimao site, held at Shenmu in August 2016, explored many aspects of this major discovery.
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