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The Archaeology of China
From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age


Part of Cambridge World Archaeology

  • Authors:
  • Li Liu, Stanford University, California
  • Xingcan Chen, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Date Published: June 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521644327

£ 34.99

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About the Authors
  • This book explores the roles of agricultural development and advancing social complexity in the processes of state formation in China. Over a period of about 10,000 years, it follows evolutionary trajectories of society from the last Palaeolithic hunting-gathering groups, through Neolithic farming villages and on to the Bronze Age Shang dynasty in the latter half of the second millennium BC. Li Liu and Xingcan Chen demonstrate that sociopolitical evolution was multicentric and shaped by inter-polity factionalism and competition, as well as by the many material technologies introduced from other parts of the world. The book illustrates how ancient Chinese societies were transformed during this period from simple to complex, tribal to urban, and preliterate to literate.

    • Covers major topics including the roles of agricultural development, advancing social complexity and state formation in ancient China
    • Considers the origins of archaic states in the Yellow River valley
    • Includes discussion of regional interactions within China and between China and the outside world
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521644327
    • length: 498 pages
    • dimensions: 251 x 178 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.86kg
    • contains: 97 b/w illus. 42 maps 11 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Chinese archaeology: past, present, and future
    2. Environment and ecology
    3. Foragers and collectors in the Pleistocene-Holocene transition (24,000–9000 cal. BP)
    4. Domestication of plants and animals
    5. Neolithization: sedentism and food production in the Early Neolithic (7000–5000 BC)
    6. Emergence of social inequality: the Middle Neolithic (5000–3000 BC)
    7. Rise and fall of early complex societies: the Late Neolithic (3000–2000 BC)
    8. Formation of early states in the Central Plain: Erlitou and Erligang (1900/1800–1250 BC)
    9. Bronze cultures of the north frontiers and beyond during the early second millennium BC
    10. The Late Shang dynasty and its neighbors (1250–1046 BC)
    11. Chinese civilization in comparative perspective.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Rise of Old World Civilizations
    • The Archaeology of East Asia
    • Traditional China
  • Authors

    Li Liu, Stanford University, California
    Li Liu is Sir Robert Ho Tung Professor in Chinese Archaeology in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University, California. She is the author of two books, The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States and (with Xingcan Chen) State Formation in Early China, as well as more than seventy journal articles in both English and Chinese.

    Xingcan Chen, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
    Xingcan Chen is Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as well as Professor in the Department of Archaeology, Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including The History of Chinese Prehistoric Archaeology (1895–1949), Essays on Archaeology and (with Li Liu) State Formation in Early China.

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