Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

Building the Chronology of Early Chinese History

File Size Format  
AP-v41n1-15-42.pdf 13.39 MB Adobe PDF View/Open

Item Summary

Title:Building the Chronology of Early Chinese History
Authors:Lee, Yun Kuen
Three Dynasties
high-precision dating
LC Subject Headings:Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Date Issued:2002
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation:Lee, Y. K. 2002. Building the Chronology of Early Chinese History. Asian Perspectives 41 (1): 15-42.
Series:Volume 41
Number 1
Abstract:The generally accepted chronology of Chinese history begins in 841 B.C., seventy years before the end of the Western Zhou Dynasty. In Shiji, Sima Qian (c. 14589 B.C.) compiled a chronological table of twelve contemporary states starting with 841 B.C. Over the past two thousand years, scholars have tried to extend the dates farther back, but without agreement. The Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project was recently commissioned by the Chinese Government to systematically reconstruct a reliable chronology of early Chinese history starting with the Xia Dynasty. After almost five years and the efforts of some 200 experts in different fields of study, a new chronological table of early China was disseminated in November 2000. It was anticipated that all future discussions on the absolute dates of early China would have to be based on the project's results. This paper discusses the main debates stimulated by the project and critically evaluates the methodology it employed. As a well-informed observer of the project, the author becomes aware of a number of intriguing issues regarding the study of the past in China, such as politics and the reconstruction of the past, the relationship between the archaeological record and the documentary record, and the compatibility of archaeological dates and historical dates. A discussion of these issues has broad implications for archaeology in other parts of the world. KEYWORDS: China, dates, Three Dynasties, palaeography, high-precision dating.
ISSN:1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections: Asian Perspectives, 2002 - Volume 41, Number 1 (Spring)

Please email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.

Items in ScholarSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.