Urban Construction as a Social Transformation Process

Author(s): Liye Xie

Year: 2016


Archaeological evidence and ancient Chinese text imply that the construction of early urban settlements in China were planned events initiated by rulers relocating their settlements in order to legitimize their arising power and establish hierarchical social systems. Accordingly, the construction of the urban settlements may have been the transformative social environments in which power was legitimized and enacted and new social structure was created. I hypothesize that whether this social-political practice succeeded was largely determined by how the rulers related themselves to their subjects.

To test this hypothesis, I compare the ruler-commoner relationships during the urban construction process in the lower Yangzi basin and the central plains in China during late Longshan and Erlitou periods. In particular, I examine the labor management and implement procurement strategies as examples of the rulers’ management skills and political strategies. I then examine how these strategies were related to the rise and collapse of complex social systems in these two regions.

Cite this Record

Urban Construction as a Social Transformation Process. Liye Xie. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402914)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

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