The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 6, 2005 - Social Science - 310 pages
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This book studies the formation of complex societies in prehistoric China during the Neolithic and early state periods, c. 70001500 BC. Archaeological materials are interpreted through anthropological perspectives, using systematic analytic methods in settlement and burial patterns. Both agency and process are considered in the development of chiefdoms and in the emergence of early states in the Yellow River region. Interrelationships between factors such as mortuary practice, craft specialization, ritual activities, warfare, exchange of elite goods, climatic fluctuations, and environmental changes are emphasized. This study offers a critical evaluation of current archaeological data from Chinese sources, and argues that, although some general tendencies are noted, social changes were affected by multiple factors in no pre-determined sequence. In this most comprehensive study to date, Li Liu attempts to reconstruct developmental trajectories toward early states in Chinese civilization and discusses theoretical implications of Chinese archaeology for the understanding of social evolution.
  

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Contents

1 Setting the scene
1
2 The changing environmental contexts of Chinas first complex societies
19
3 Household subsistence and ritual
33
4 Spatial organization and social relations in communities
73
5 Community burial patterns
117
6 Development and decline of complex societies in the Central Plains
159
7 Development and decline of social complexity beyond the Central Plains
192
8 Trajectories toward early states
223
9 Reconstructing social processes
239
NOTES
254
1 APPENDIXES
256
REFERENCES
275
INDIX
301
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Li Liu is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at La Trobe University. She has published various articles on the Chinese Neolithic and is the author of State Formation in Early China (with Xingcan Chen) (Duckworth, 2003).

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