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Resources, technology, and distribution: a discussion on models of early bronze production in China

Author(s): Huaiying Chang

Year: 2017

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This presentation tries to provide several models to capture major shifts of the bronze production system in the China's Bronze Age. The earliest evidence of bronze production was found in the Yellow River Valley dated to 2,500 BC. But during 2,500 – 1,900 BC, most products were small bronzes cast by two-part molds. Copper or arsenic bronze products made by hammering also existed but no evidence proves tin bronze technique was yet invented. Around 2,300 BC, political entities in the middle Yellow River valley procured the basic skills for bronze manufacturing, which eventually led to the section-molds technique employing tin bronze for casting vessels established about 2,100 BC. After the Erlitou period, this technique became the mainstream tradition in Early China producing prestige vessels for elite class in the Central Plains between 1,800- 1,200 BC. The pattern that resources and technology monopolized by the Central Plains dynasty was significantly transformed about 1,000 BC due to the expansion of the Zhou Dynasty. The new political regime transferred not only techniques but also the authority to procure raw materials to regional political entities. This change opened the prologue of a new era of bronze production and the exploitation of new ore resources.

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Resources, technology, and distribution: a discussion on models of early bronze production in China. Huaiying Chang. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431121)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16770

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America