These periods came to include rice farming and the formation of l

These periods came to include rice farming and the formation of large, often fortified villages and towns. With these developments came also the establishment of socially, politically, and economically dominant elites whose wealth and power were attested by their grand living quarters and the rich bronzes, jades, and other manifestations of wealth and high social status. The earliest stage of such highly developed society in north China is traditionally

ascribed to “the Three Dynasties” – Xia, Shang, and Zhou – collectively dated to about 3900–2200 cal BP. The site of Erlitou, on the Middle Yellow River some 300 km east of modern Xi’an and dated to final Longshan Neolithic times, displays the above characteristics ON-01910 nmr and is thought by many to represent China’s legendary Xia period, which came before the dawn of written documentation during the Shang-Zhou period. The following Qin period, marking the accession of China’s first recognized Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, is dated to 221–206 BC. Qin Shihuangdi was the lord of a Zhou noble family, who achieved his imperial status by fighting and maneuvering his way to political dominance over the other lords of the area (Chang, 1986, Liu, 1996 and Liu and Chen, 2012). Historians and archeologists long saw this Wei/Yellow River nexus as the central

place where Chinese civilization flowered, and from which it spread (Barnes, 1999, Chang, 1986, Liu, 1996 and Liu and Chen, 2012), but more recent research now suggests that socially, economically, and politically complex Chinese polities did not

simply arise in this place and then spread across China as a whole. Instead, the two great river valley zones of China – the Yellow River in the north and the Yangzi River in the south, together constituting China’s great Central Plain – developed their cultures and histories in parallel fashion and with ample inter-regional communication and interaction. The two regions are now seen Amine dehydrogenase as fundamentally contemporaneous and interactive, which gave rise to elite politico-economic subgroups that intensively engaged peasant labor in agricultural, industrial, and commercial processes that transformed the landscapes on which everyone depended (Liu and Chen, 2012). Since the culture history of the northern zone has been more fully explicated, we use examples from this area to illustrate how radical social and anthropogenic change proceeded on the landscape of China. Both archeological and written records indicate that the broad economic base established in China during the Neolithic came over in time to support many small sociopolitical entities that controlled local agriculture, commerce, and warfare.

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