Early China: History, Legends, and Myths


Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
(cont)
Moreover, the discoveries of the city gates and waterway entrances linking the water network illustrate city planning and water conservation and harvesting infrastructure of the early period of Chinese civilization.

Equally exceptional are a large number of unearthed utensils used in manufacturing, household, military, and religious rituals.

Among them are exquisite jade wares with typical "deity and animal mask pattern" showing the peak of prehistoric jade-ware production and reflecting the ultimate level of jade carving in China in ancient times.

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The Jade Cong, dubbed "Jade Cong King," weighs about 6,500 grams, wide and huge in size, and has a unique decoration pattern. /VCG Photo

The "Jade Cong King," a tubular vessel contained within a rectangular body, is widely considered the most representative cultural artifact as it showcases fine craftsmanship during the Liangzhu Culture period.

It is 8.8 centimeters in height and 17.6 centimeters in diameter, weighing 6,500 grams.

The site where the vestiges of religious and cultural artifacts were unearthed not only implies the existence of the largest ancient city of the late Neolithic Age in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, but also exhibits the "supreme achievements" of agricultural civilization in the Yellow River and the Yangtze River basins – going back some 5,000 years.

Witness to generations of preservation efforts

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A Chinese delegate delivers a speech after the Liangzhu Archaeological Site is declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee during its 43rd session in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, July 6, 2019. /Photo via UNESCO Live

Since initial excavation started in 1936, generations of Chinese archaeologists and scholars have made great efforts to explore the Liangzhu Archaeological Site and protect its heritage.

Named after the site in 1959, Liangzhu culture was universally recognized for its far-reaching influence. More than small-scale 100 archaeological sites scattered around the site had been unearthed by the late 1980s.

In 2007, some wall base relics of the ancient city were discovered, which then were confirmed to be the vestiges of the Liangzhu Ancient City, unfolding a mysterious picture of a city that remained obscured for nearly 4,000 years.

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The Liangzhu Culture Museum is situated at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, June 25, 2018. /VCG Photo

One year later, the Liangzhu Culture Museum was established and opened to the public.

In 2013, China added the Liangzhu Archaeological Site to its Tentative List, preparing for the official nomination proposal to UNESCO.

Last year, the nomination of the property was submitted for evaluation to the World Heritage Center, which, earlier this year, put it on the shortlist for final selection at its annual meeting.

The committee's 43rd session continues until July 10.

Video edited by Zhao Yuxiang

Cover image designed by Zhang Xuecheng
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
For years the western historian and archaeologist dismissed the idea of China's 5000 years civilization . They say lack of written text or any tangible proof. Now the UNESCO just granted the World Heritage site to Liangzhu archaeologist site in Yuhang District of Hangzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, .Effectively now recognizing Chinese claim
People said that yellow river basin is the cradle of Chinese civilization but I also believe southern China exactly Yangtze river delta is the other source of Chinese civilization

Firstly, civilization and state (and state building) are related but different concepts. So the "dismissal" could be about different things.

Chinese civilization is a multi-sourced civilization, this has never been disputed, nor denied by (Chinese) historian. The sources stretches from Inner-Mongolia "Hongshan" to the north, Liaoning "Hongshan" to the east, Gansu "Majiayao" to the west, Sichuan to the southwest and Zhejiang to the south-east. However, it is proven that the Yellow river valley culture "Yangshao" became the pre-dominant culture that evolved to the earliest Chinese states (Xia, Shang and Zhou) with the infusing of western "Majiayao" (Zhou and Qin) that expanded east and southward. These expansions (primarily by Zhou and its vassals) absorbed the local cultures and formed the Chinese state since Qin's unification. Although yellow river basin is not the sole cradle of the civilization, it certainly is the sole cradle of the statehood.

Two things to prove it. First, according to texts from the early Zhou era, the fiefs (King or Duke) of Zhou sent to rule areas like modern day Shandong (Qi), Zhejiang (Wu, Yue) and Middle-Yangtze-river (Chu) had stated that they ruled local population who did have very distinct customs from the ruling classes who are from the north. Second, modern DNA test by Chinese has shown both north and south Chinese share great Paternal lineage but less Maternal lineage, that is a reflection of armies and ruling classes from the north settling in the south and married local woman, and (unfortunately) partially displaced local male population due to war.

About the "western dismiss". As far as I know, the dismiss is NOT about civilization, but the statehood. Actually, Chinese civilization is way longer than 5000 (3000BC) years, the marking culture defining the Chinese-ness "Yangshao" is 7000 years (5000BC). What is disputed is when the first Chinese STATE was founded, or any type of human settlement that bares a shape of government (a King) and army (organized fighting) and a defended territory (exclusive possession).

Archaeological findings we have today can only prove as early as the mid-Shang dynasty in Anyang (Yinxu) in modern-day Henan 1300BC (3300 BPD). Oracle bone scripts have proven to mention King and wars. Together with the fact that Yinxu is not the first capital of Shang (Oracle scripts) who must have established their Kingdom somewhere else (northern Hebei and southern inner-Mongolia) at an earlier time. What is certain is that Shang was a fully matured state, and it is established no later than 1300BC.

Now comes the dispute. The Chinese believes that Shang was established earlier than 1300BC further north-east (proven partially by Oracle scripts) and it succeeded an even earlier state Xia (later historical texts) in the north-west. However, there is no archaeological evidence to prove it (prior 1300BC). The western dismissals are contending on this ground.

I think the contention and counter-contention is a bit pointless. The contention goes like "It did NOT happen if I don't see it", that is like "the earth is flat because I don't see the ball-shape". To counter that position is waste of time. After all we only have some partial skeletons of apes millions years apart, but that does not prevent us (the believer of evolution) to believe human is from apes not from the eden, and those evidence is certainly not enough to stop the religious fellows to dismiss evolution. My advice, just leave it.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
Firstly, civilization and state (and state building) are related but different concepts. So the "dismissal" could be about different things.


About the "western dismiss". As far as I know, the dismiss is NOT about civilization, but the statehood. Actually, Chinese civilization is way longer than 5000 (3000BC) years, the marking culture defining the Chinese-ness "Yangshao" is 7000 years (5000BC). What is disputed is when the first Chinese STATE was founded, or any type of human settlement that bares a shape of government (a King) and army (organized fighting) and a defended territory (exclusive possession).

Archaeological findings we have today can only prove as early as the mid-Shang dynasty in Anyang (Yinxu) in modern-day Henan 1300BC (3300 BPD). Oracle bone scripts have proven to mention King and wars. Together with the fact that Yinxu is not the first capital of Shang (Oracle scripts) who must have established their Kingdom somewhere else (northern Hebei and southern inner-Mongolia) at an earlier time. What is certain is that Shang was a fully matured state, and it is established no later than 1300BC.

Now comes the dispute. The Chinese believes that Shang was established earlier than 1300BC further north-east (proven partially by Oracle scripts) and it succeeded an even earlier state Xia (later historical texts) in the north-west. However, there is no archaeological evidence to prove it (prior 1300BC). The western dismissals are contending on this ground.

I think the contention and counter-contention is a bit pointless. The contention goes like "It did NOT happen if I don't see it", that is like "the earth is flat because I don't see the ball-shape". To counter that position is waste of time. After all we only have some partial skeletons of apes millions years apart, but that does not prevent us (the believer of evolution) to believe human is from apes not from the eden, and those evidence is certainly not enough to stop the religious fellows to dismiss evolution. My advice, just leave it.

I thought they already found the archaeological site that coincide with the timeline of Xia dynasty And that is Erlitou in Hennan province which according to Shiji of Sima Qian should be where Xia is located
The written records of the Zhou Dynasty support the argument that western Henan and southern Shanxi was the area where the Xia ethnic group had inhabited. Due to geographic collusion, it is highly possible that the Erlitou Culture is also representative of the Xia Culture. (2) The discovery of 'palaces' indicated the existence of a nation-state. (3) The C14 dating results can prove that Erlitou existed within the scope of the Xia. (4) Since the Shang Dynasty in Sima Qian's 'Records of the Historian' (Shi Ji) has been proved reliable, the records of the Xia may be assumed to also be reliable

Here is general article about Erlitou from China daily
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The problem is that the western scholar does not trust the motive of Chinese archaeological undertaking. since they say the motivation of the project is to confirm the existence of 5000 years Chinese civilization. so they have every inclination to to label the site as Xia site. I found an excellent reference on the subject
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2.1 Field Surveys and Excavations

After the discovery of the Erlitou site by Xu Xusheng and test excavation conducted by the Institute of Archaeology, eight excavations were subsequently conducted by the field team from Luoyang between 1960 and 1964. Three separate phases were identified from the basis of pottery classification and relative dating. The age of the Erlitou site was placed between that of the Longshan Culture of Henan and the Shang Culture of Erligang in Zhengzhou (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1965: 223-224).

In 1974, the field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology uncovered the first palace foundation (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1974: 238-48). In 1977, the second palace foundation about

150 m northeast of the first foundation was unearthed. On the basis of rammed earth layers and recovered potsherds, it was proposed that the second foundation of 'palace' was built in the third phase of the Erlitou site and abandoned in the late fourth phase of the Erlitou or the early Erligang phase. In addition, a large tomb dating from the same phase was discovered to the north of the palace (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1983: 206-16). This excavation furthered the division of the Erlitou Culture into four distinct phases.

In 1980, a third excavation was conducted out at the Erlitou site in coordination with a construction project. The cultural characteristics of the second, third and fourth phases were identified on the basis of the strati-graphic context and pottery typology (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1980b: 119-205). It was realized that the fourth phase was contemporary to the lower layer of Erligang and had developed directly to the upper layer of Erligang (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1984: 582-593). A number of excavations were conducted during the 1980s by the field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology, yielding many discoveries of residential foundations, artifacts, tombs and ash pits from different phases (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1982: 1085-1094, 1108; 1987: 294-303).

Here why they don't accept the finding of Chinese archaeological team

The problems revealed by the study of the Xia Culture and 'The Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties Chronology Project' include not only the differences in stances but also divergence in research orientation and paradigms. For instance, establishing the existence of the Xia is closely related with the affirmation of the history of Chinese civilization of five thousand years and the propagation of China's sense of national pride. Therefore, the project was also called 'the Project of Cohesion'. If the research has such obvious pre-inclination, it is problematic to guarantee academic neutrality when scholars are drawing their conclusions. M. Johnson pointed out that interpreting the past is always a political act and always has political resonance. If scientific neutrality is a myth, then our statements about the past are never objective judgments detached from the real world and jumbled mixture of political and moral judgments (Johnson 1999: 107). Influenced by such values, some unusual sentiments permeated normal academic discussions. For instance, critiques that some western scholars had made of 'The Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties Chronology Project' were regarded as 'imperialist' and 'hostile' speeches and bitterly attacked. Some Chinese scholars maintained their negative attitude and claimed, 'as to individual foreign scholar who argues that the Xia Culture was merely a legend, let her

do as she pleases. It won't affect our studies of China's ancient history. We don't need her to solve the chronology of China's ancient history' (Tian 1994: 33). Such attitude and opinion are obviously contrary to scientifically based argumentation.



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Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
I thought Tam already posted this youtube episode on this thread I also posted this excellent video on Chinese tradition thread
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
I thought they already found the archaeological site that coincide with the timeline of Xia dynasty And that is Erlitou in Hennan province which according to Shiji of Sima Qian should be where Xia is located
The written records of the Zhou Dynasty support the argument that western Henan and southern Shanxi was the area where the Xia ethnic group had inhabited. Due to geographic collusion, it is highly possible that the Erlitou Culture is also representative of the Xia Culture. (2) The discovery of 'palaces' indicated the existence of a nation-state. (3) The C14 dating results can prove that Erlitou existed within the scope of the Xia. (4) Since the Shang Dynasty in Sima Qian's 'Records of the Historian' (Shi Ji) has been proved reliable, the records of the Xia may be assumed to also be reliable

Here is general article about Erlitou from China daily
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


КиберЛенинка:
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The problem is that the western scholar does not trust the motive of Chinese archaeological undertaking. since they say the motivation of the project is to confirm the existence of 5000 years Chinese civilization. so they have every inclination to to label the site as Xia site. I found an excellent reference on the subject
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


2.1 Field Surveys and Excavations

After the discovery of the Erlitou site by Xu Xusheng and test excavation conducted by the Institute of Archaeology, eight excavations were subsequently conducted by the field team from Luoyang between 1960 and 1964. Three separate phases were identified from the basis of pottery classification and relative dating. The age of the Erlitou site was placed between that of the Longshan Culture of Henan and the Shang Culture of Erligang in Zhengzhou (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1965: 223-224).

In 1974, the field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology uncovered the first palace foundation (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1974: 238-48). In 1977, the second palace foundation about

150 m northeast of the first foundation was unearthed. On the basis of rammed earth layers and recovered potsherds, it was proposed that the second foundation of 'palace' was built in the third phase of the Erlitou site and abandoned in the late fourth phase of the Erlitou or the early Erligang phase. In addition, a large tomb dating from the same phase was discovered to the north of the palace (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1983: 206-16). This excavation furthered the division of the Erlitou Culture into four distinct phases.

In 1980, a third excavation was conducted out at the Erlitou site in coordination with a construction project. The cultural characteristics of the second, third and fourth phases were identified on the basis of the strati-graphic context and pottery typology (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1980b: 119-205). It was realized that the fourth phase was contemporary to the lower layer of Erligang and had developed directly to the upper layer of Erligang (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1984: 582-593). A number of excavations were conducted during the 1980s by the field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology, yielding many discoveries of residential foundations, artifacts, tombs and ash pits from different phases (Field team of Erlitou from the Institute of Archaeology 1982: 1085-1094, 1108; 1987: 294-303).

Here why they don't accept the finding of Chinese archaeological team

The problems revealed by the study of the Xia Culture and 'The Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties Chronology Project' include not only the differences in stances but also divergence in research orientation and paradigms. For instance, establishing the existence of the Xia is closely related with the affirmation of the history of Chinese civilization of five thousand years and the propagation of China's sense of national pride. Therefore, the project was also called 'the Project of Cohesion'. If the research has such obvious pre-inclination, it is problematic to guarantee academic neutrality when scholars are drawing their conclusions. M. Johnson pointed out that interpreting the past is always a political act and always has political resonance. If scientific neutrality is a myth, then our statements about the past are never objective judgments detached from the real world and jumbled mixture of political and moral judgments (Johnson 1999: 107). Influenced by such values, some unusual sentiments permeated normal academic discussions. For instance, critiques that some western scholars had made of 'The Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties Chronology Project' were regarded as 'imperialist' and 'hostile' speeches and bitterly attacked. Some Chinese scholars maintained their negative attitude and claimed, 'as to individual foreign scholar who argues that the Xia Culture was merely a legend, let her

do as she pleases. It won't affect our studies of China's ancient history. We don't need her to solve the chronology of China's ancient history' (Tian 1994: 33). Such attitude and opinion are obviously contrary to scientifically based argumentation.



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Thanks for the post. My knowledge was not well updated since my school years. The conclusion of Erlitou being of Xia was very recent as the latest C-14 carbon dating was done only in 2006. The carbon dating put Erlitou as early as 1750BC which certainly was earlier than Shang. Being a real capital city with palaces, it is almost certain to be Xia capital as being corroborated with later written record.
 

solarz

Brigadier
The problems revealed by the study of the Xia Culture and 'The Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties Chronology Project' include not only the differences in stances but also divergence in research orientation and paradigms. For instance, establishing the existence of the Xia is closely related with the affirmation of the history of Chinese civilization of five thousand years and the propagation of China's sense of national pride. Therefore, the project was also called 'the Project of Cohesion'. If the research has such obvious pre-inclination, it is problematic to guarantee academic neutrality when scholars are drawing their conclusions. M. Johnson pointed out that interpreting the past is always a political act and always has political resonance. If scientific neutrality is a myth, then our statements about the past are never objective judgments detached from the real world and jumbled mixture of political and moral judgments (Johnson 1999: 107). Influenced by such values, some unusual sentiments permeated normal academic discussions. For instance, critiques that some western scholars had made of 'The Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties Chronology Project' were regarded as 'imperialist' and 'hostile' speeches and bitterly attacked. Some Chinese scholars maintained their negative attitude and claimed, 'as to individual foreign scholar who argues that the Xia Culture was merely a legend, let her

do as she pleases. It won't affect our studies of China's ancient history. We don't need her to solve the chronology of China's ancient history' (Tian 1994: 33). Such attitude and opinion are obviously contrary to scientifically based argumentation.

Let's say your great-grandpa buried a box in his backyard in the 19th century. After he grew up and moved away, he told your grandpa, who in turn told your dad, who in turn told you. Now somehow you've come into possession of your great-grandpa's house. You dig around in the yard hoping to find that box, and lo and behold, you find a box containing toys that can be dated to the 19th century.

Obviously, you're happy that you found your great-grandpa's box after all these years, but now your ex-girlfriend comes over and tells you that there's no proof this box belonged to your great-grandpa.

"Okay, sure," you say, "it's possible that great-grandpa didn't personally bury this box. Maybe someone else did and great-grandpa just told grandpa he did it, but isn't that a trifling thing to quibble over?"

"Well no," your ex-girlfriend replies. "Maybe your great-grandpa never buried any box, maybe your grandpa made up the whole story!"

"But where did the box come from then?" You ask incredulously.

Your ex-girlfriend looks at you as if you were an idiot. "Obviously," she says with exaggerated patience, "Someone else buried the box, but who knows who that is? Maybe it was someone completely unrelated to your great-grandpa."

"So let me get this straight," you say, "you think that someone, completely unrelated to my great-grandpa, buried a box of toys in the backyard of the house where my great-grandpa grew up, and then my grandpa made up a story about his dad burying a box in his yard when he was a child, and passed it on to my dad?"

"Exactly. That's the only scientific explanation." You ex-girlfriend says with a smug smile.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
Don't get me wrong as an ethnic Chinese I believe in the story of flood and Yu the great is one of my hero But we need further study to tie Erlitou to Xia dynasty. Here is an excellent article I believe I posted earlier on this thread
It got the right vibe of right timeline , right place, right human evolution from Neolitihic to bronze age
Now even archaeological proof of deluge, existence of palace structure( State), wide spread of the culture, large urban center etc
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An ancient landslide once blocked the Yellow River at Jishi Gorge in China, shown here. The resulting lake eventually burst through the rubble dam, causing what may have been one of history’s largest floods.

QINGLONG WU
Massive flood may have led to China's earliest empire
By
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Aug. 4, 2016 , 2:00 PM

Many cultures trace their origins to the hazy horizon where history meets legend. In China's case, that blurry line occurs sometime between 2200 B.C.E. and 2000 B.C.E., when a legendary hero named Yu tamed Yellow River flooding and earned a mandate to become the founding emperor of the Xia dynasty, the country's first. That’s the story according to texts written long after the fact, and many Chinese believe their civilization started with emperor Yu. But archaeologists have been unable to find convincing evidence for either the flood or the Xia dynasty itself.

Now, an international team of scientists drawn from the fields of archaeology, anthropology, seismology, and geology have gathered disparate evidence from ancient texts, sedimentary deposits, earthquake-triggered landslides, and skeletons in collapsed cave dwellings to craft a scenario presented this week in Science that they claim
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. If the findings hold up, they could lend credence to early historical texts and help resolve a long-running debate over the origins of China and its people.

It is "a groundbreaking study," says Qingwei Sun, an archaeologist at Peking University in Beijing who was not involved in the work. Still, "more data is needed [for the findings] to be widely accepted," he says.

The paper was nearly a decade in the making. In spring 2007, the study's lead author, geologist Qinglong Wu, was working as a postdoc at the China Earthquake Administration's Institute of Geology in Beijing, when his team found ancient lakebed sediments in the Jishi Gorge at the upper reaches of the Yellow River, about 1300 kilometers west of Beijing. They speculated that at some point a lake had formed in the gorge behind rubble from a landslide. If that dam gave away, they reasoned, it would have caused a major flood.

Following a hunch that came during a sleepless night in July 2008, Wu traveled 25 kilometers downstream from the gorge, where a major earthquake had destroyed numerous cave dwellings in a Neolithic settlement called Lajia. Subsequently, a thick layer of mud engulfed the ruins and the victims, preserving them for discovery in the 1990s. Wu found that the Lajia mud matched material from Jishi Gorge, suggesting that the same earthquake that had destroyed the dwellings had also triggered the upstream landslide that set the stage for the flood. Because the sediment was quite different from what would have been washed into the ruins by rainstorms, "the earthquake and flood must have occurred in the same year," says Darryl Granger, a geologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who is a co-author of the paper.

At that point, Wu began thinking that this event could be the basis for China’s great flood legend. "I didn’t tell others because it would invite laughter," he says. Instead, he quietly gathered evidence from lake deposits in the gorge and flood sediments downstream, and reached out to specialists around the world to help him interpret the data. The team concluded that the landslide created a dam 200 meters high that choked off the mighty Yellow for 6 to 9 months. The rising water finally overtopped the rubble and then quickly washed it away, causing a torrent that could have been among the largest floods of the Holocene epoch, Granger says. It is difficult to determine when ancient floods happened, but radiocarbon dating of the Lajia human remains pegged the catastrophes to about 1900 B.C.E.

How a great flood may have spurred China’s first civilization.
SCIENCE
The massive flood “provides us with a tantalizing hint that the Xia dynasty might really have existed," says David Cohen, an archaeologist and co-author at National Taiwan University in Taipei. The devastating flood could have inundated settlements even a thousand or more kilometers downstream, he says, and created chaos from which a new political order emerged. This sequence of events neatly fits the legend of Yu controlling the flooding by dredging channels to confine the Yellow River and its tributaries. This feat, the ancient texts say, allowed him to claim a mandate as the first emperor of the Xia dynasty.

The timing is curiously coincidental. Around 1900 B.C.E., Cohen says, Chinese society was transitioning from the Neolithic to the Bronze age. The date also correlates with what is called the Erlitou culture, which is known from palace buildings and bronze smelting workshops discovered near Zhengzhou, about 2500 kilometers downstream from Jishi Gorge. Many scholars have argued that Erlitou is a manifestation of the elusive Xia dynasty, but a link is not firmly established.

Nevertheless, with hard evidence of a catastrophic flood occurring at a time of social and political change, "It's an amazing story of all these different lines of evidence coming together," Cohen says. “If the great flood really happened, then the Xia dynasty likely happened, too,” he concludes.


"It's a thought-provoking piece of work," agrees Tristram Kidder, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri, who works on several sites on the lower Yellow River. "They've done a great job showing that there was a major, catastrophic flood.”

But Haiwang Liu, an archaeologist at the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Zhengzhou, China, who collaborates with Kidder, says that at their sites in the lower Yellow, "no hard physical evidence of great floods during that time has been found." And Lothar von Falkenhausen, an archaeologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, cautions against "proposing too direct a linkage between such environmental events with semimythical accounts recorded in texts of much later date."

The new paper's findings are also at odds with other recent studies, which have proposed alternative explanations for both the Jishi Gorge deposits and the Lajia sediment, says Wenxiang Wu, a geographer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences's Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research in Beijing. He adds that recent radiocarbon dating refinements have suggested the Erlitou culture thrived between 1750 B.C.E. and 1530 B.C.E.—much later than the proposed new date for the Xia dynasty. The paper "needs more supporting evidence," for its claims regarding a great flood and the Xia dynasty, Wenxiang Wu concludes.

Qinglong Wu, now at Nanjing Normal University, acknowledges the paper is certain to stir up several long-simmering controversies. But in trying to make sense of disparate historical and physical evidence "our data involves fewer contradictions" than alternative explanations, he says.

One point all agree on is the need for further study. Finding evidence for a great flood along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River "would undoubtedly strengthen the persuasiveness of the paper,” Sun says. Wu’s team "sets out a hypothesis we can follow up—it gives us something to look for," Kidder says.

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lostinldn512

Just Hatched
Registered Member
Don't get me wrong as an ethnic Chinese I believe in the story of the flood and Yu the Great is one of my heroes But we need further study to tie Erlitou to Xia dynasty. Here is an excellent article I believe I posted earlier in this thread
It got the right vibe of the correct timeline, right place, right human evolution from Neolithic to the bronze age
Now even archaeological proof of deluge, the existence of palace structure( State), widespread of the culture, sizeable urban centre et

As a Chinese, even myself consider some early histories of our ancestors being mythical. And this is a perfect example. I remember this news about YU the Great. Coincidently my family name comes from YU the Great, which is the exact character '禹'. Back in the village where most my ancestors lived, we keep a long-lasting record of the family tree dated back from about 250C.E. The Book of the YU family from TUANSHAN (团山,the name of the village), as the record is called, has been revised and reedited considerably over the past 1800 years. The latest version is version 6. But nothing was written down before 250C.E in any previous versions.
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
Very interesting reading.

Two thoughts about the countering arguments:
But Haiwang Liu, an archaeologist at the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Zhengzhou, China, who collaborates with Kidder, says that at their sites in the lower Yellow, "no hard physical evidence of great floods during that time has been found." And Lothar von Falkenhausen, an archaeologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, cautions against "proposing too direct a linkage between such environmental events with semimythical accounts recorded in texts of much later date."
I am not sure if Mr. Liu forget (I would be surprised if he did) that the lower yellow river has been flooded repeatedly in the past thousands years. As a result, Kaifeng (60km east to Zhengzhou) are more than 10 meters higher than it used to be many hundreds years ago. I remember there were 6 cities sitting one on top of the other.

So no, not having found a physical evidence means nothing as a counter argument.

Mr. Liu is also implying that the flood upstream must have led to physical impact downstream in Morden Henan province.

The new paper's findings are also at odds with other recent studies, which have proposed alternative explanations for both the Jishi Gorge deposits and the Lajia sediment, says Wenxiang Wu, a geographer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences's Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research in Beijing. He adds that recent radiocarbon dating refinements have suggested the Erlitou culture thrived between 1750 B.C.E. and 1530 B.C.E.—much later than the proposed new date for the Xia dynasty. The paper "needs more supporting evidence," for its claims regarding a great flood and the Xia dynasty, Wenxiang Wu concludes.

I am very interested to what the alternative explanations are. Unfortunately the article did not elaborate.

I do agree with the two researchers' doubt which is also the next step to find. That is to find the missing link between the event of the flood and Erlitou site thousands kilometre downstream. One possibility is, instead of the flood reaching Henan as Mr. Liu implies, the flood forced the people around upper section of Yellow river to migrate eastward to Henan. This is actually consistent to many waves of eastwardly migrations of early Chinese, besides the possible Xia people, Zhou and Qin are other ones from the same region.
 

solarz

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A grimacing figure wearing an elaborate feathered headdress is riding on the back of a frightening monster. He must be powerful, perhaps even supernatural, because he effortlessly subdues this sharp-clawed beast with bulging eyes. But who, exactly, is he? A shaman? A god? And why is he forcing historians to tear up the conventionally accepted timeline of Chinese history?

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Earlier this year, while filming
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, a new six-part television documentary series for BBC World News, I encountered this mysterious character incised on a spectacular ancient jade carving that now belongs to the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in the city of Hangzhou. Known as a ‘cong’ (pronounced ‘ts-ong’) – essentially, a jade cylinder, squared on the outside, with a circular tube within – this squat column was recovered by archaeologists from a cemetery for elite members of a complex late Neolithic society that flourished at the site of Liangzhu, around 100 miles (160km) southwest of Shanghai, in the 3rd millennium BC. Traditionally, historians have taught that China’s earliest recorded dynasty was the Shang, who ruled during the Bronze Age, in the 2nd millennium BC.



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The jade cylinder was recovered by archaeologists from a cemetery for members of a late Neolithic society (Credit: Getty)



Intricate bronze artefacts – ritual food and wine vessels; ceremonial axes embellished with bloodcurdling, grinning faces – have been excavated from Shang cities in modern-day Henan province, along the Yellow River. Many are decorated with the mask-like face of a monster with bulging eyes and curling horns known as a ‘taotie’, the precise meaning of which is still debated. Recent discoveries at Liangzhu, however, which is situated in the lower Yangtze River Basin, more than 600 miles (965km) southeast of the last Shang capital of Anyang, have upended the standard chronology of Chinese history. This is because, according to archaeologists, the impressive ancient settlement at Liangzhu was home to a sophisticated civilisation that was already prospering 1,700 years before the establishment of the Shang. Contemporaneous with the ancient Cycladic civilisation of the Aegean Sea in the West, it was possibly the earliest state society in East Asia.

Freed from the daily, hand-to-mouth struggle for survival, the Liangzhu elite became besotted with art

Some scholars even suggest that the origins of the famous Shang ‘taotie’ motif may be the gargoyle-like, frog-eyed monster that decorates artefacts from Liangzhu, including the ‘cong’ – which is known as the ‘king of cong’, because of its impressive heft of 6.5kg (14.33lbs) – that I saw at Zhejiang Provincial Museum.

Earlier this year, the archaeological ruins at Liangzhu were
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. Today, visitors can marvel at extraordinary artefacts from the city at the beautiful Liangzhu Museum, designed by British architect David Chipperfield. On display are many more jade grave goods, including ceremonial axe-heads, ornamental combs, and circular discs with a central hole, which look like oversized Polo mints and are known as ‘bi’. Located at the foot of Mount Tianmu, the principal settlement of Liangzhu was a fortified town encompassing a rectangular area of approximately 740 acres (299 hectares), protected by a system of moats and rammed-earth walls at least 65ft (19.8m) wide. Visitors could enter via one of eight water gates – suggesting that,
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, “this was a town of canals as much as of roads”.

A civic emblem?

The sophistication of the civilisation that flourished at Liangzhu from approximately 3300-2300 BC is evident not only in the precious finds from the town’s high-status cemetery, but also from a remarkable network of monumental earthen dams, amounting to an extensive system of hydraulic works, and carefully managed rice paddy fields, arranged across the surrounding area. These ensured a regular supply of food for the city’s inhabitants. Within the settlement, archaeologists discovered a massive pit of charred rice – “perhaps burnt in a granary located in the palace nearby and subsequently discarded,” say Renfrew and Liu.



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The principal Liangzhu settlement was located at the foot of Mount Tianmu – protected by a system of moats (Credit: Getty)




Clearly, then, thanks to their social organisation and mastery of irrigation techniques, the Liangzhu people had a hefty surplus of food – and this bought them an important stimulant to civilisation: the luxury of time. Freed from the daily, hand-to-mouth struggle for survival, the Liangzhu elite became besotted with art. Just look at their obsession with jade, an obstinate, almost impossibly tough mineral, which their craftsmen painstakingly worked into spectacularly fine grave goods.

In the past, Chinese scholars believed that the earliest dynasty to value jade was the long-lasting Zhou, which followed the Shang in the 1st millennium BC. The evidence from Liangzhu, though, suggests otherwise. And the ‘king of cong’ that I saw – carved from a pure, creamy-coloured type of jade called nephrite – is arguably the most spectacular of all the Liangzhu jades. What struck me was how sleek and crisp and gracefully minimal it was – if you weren’t familiar with it and were told that it had been carved by, say, the 20th Century modern sculptor Constantin Brancusi, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.



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The Liangzhu people’s surplus of food brought them the luxury of time (Credity: Getty)




And the precise significance of that ‘man/beast motif’, as some art historians describe it? Well, in the absence of written records from the site of Liangzhu, scholars can only speculate. For now, we can’t be sure if the figure is a deity or a member of the Liangzhu elite – some of whom wore feathered headdresses – such as a shaman or priest. Or maybe, as Renfrew and Liu propose, the motif could be interpreted “in social terms, as representing the corporate community of Liangzhu town”. In other words, perhaps the solution to the riddle of this puzzling design is that it is a kind of civic emblem, akin to a Western coat of arms.

I have to laugh at the article claiming the discovery is "challenging" Chinese history. How utterly egocentric!

Quite the contrary, far from challenging Chinese history, this discovery is simply confirming what Chinese historians have said all along, that Chinese history begins with the Xia dynasty.
 

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