Backgrounds of emergence of the early states in central and northern China

Author(s): Xiangming Dai

Year: 2015


Traditionally Erlitou was considered the capital city of the first kingdom——the Xia dynasty, in Chinese history. However, an increasing amount of archaeological data in the past decades have suggested that Taosi was the first state-level society earlier than Erlitou emerging in central China. With the amazing discoveries of the Shimao walled site in north Shaanxi province in the past several years, I offered that Shimao was another early state appearing in northern China, which was approximately simultaneous with late Taosi and early Erlitou. In this paper I will demonstrate some common circumstances of the emergence of these three early states, including the similar economic activities, control and monopoly of prestige goods by elite, competition and warfare among different regional social groups, and so on. I will also attempt to demonstrate some differences for the causal factors resulting in the rise of the three states, and further discuss the similar and different dynamics of the formation of these early states.

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Cite this Record

Backgrounds of emergence of the early states in central and northern China. Xiangming Dai. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395637)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;