Social Complexity in North China during the Early Bronze Age: A Comparative Study of the Erlitou and Lower Xiajiadian Cultures

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1994
Authors
Shelach, Gideon
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University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
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Abstract
The archaeological record of two areas is examined: the Yuxi region of the Zhongyuan, where the Erlitou Culture is centered; and the Chifeng-Aohan region of Inner Mongolia, where lower Xiajiadian Culture sites are found. This comparison suggests that although the data from the Erlitou Culture can be interpreted as reflecting a polity that covered a somewhat larger area and was perhaps more centralized than polities of the lower Xiajiadian Culture, the social and political systems of these two areas were not fundamentally different. The chronology of these cultures as well as evidence for interaction between societies of the Zhongyuan and the Chifeng-Aohan area are used to challenge the traditional Chinese model that describes the emergence of social complexity as the result of political and cultural expansion from the Zhongyuan. Based on these data, several models are presented that, although not ignoring the importance of external outputs, emphasize the way these influences were played out at the local level as well as other local processes. KEYWORDS: Chinese archaeology, North China, Late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, complex societies, pastoralism.
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Chinese archaeology, North China, Late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, complex societies, pastoralism
Citation
Shelach, G. 1994. Social Complexity in North China during the Early Bronze Age: A Comparative Study of the Erlitou and Lower Xiajiadian Cultures. Asian Perspectives 33 (2): 261-92.
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