Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 4-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-xvi

A Note on Documentation

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pp. xvii-xviii

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Preface

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pp. xix-xxviii

For anyone interested in ancient China, the last three decades have been a proverbial golden age. This era began in 1972, even before the chaos of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (wenhua da geming) had subsided. Two actions taken by the government introduced the world to contemporary Chinese archaeology. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-20

Early Bronze Age societies grew from deep roots in several regions of modern-day China. Before embarking on our survey of those developments, we should review both the physical setting and cultural developments at the beginning of this new age. ...

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1. Dawn of the Bronze Age: The Erlitou Culture

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pp. 21-61

In Chinese archaeology today, discussions of the origins of civilization and of the Bronze Age generally begin with Erlitou. Erlitou is a village south of the Luo River in Yanshi County that resembles many others in this part of North China. In archaeology, Erlitou is both a site, specifically a type site, and the name for an archaeological culture ...

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2. Foundations of the Bronze Age: The Erligang Culture

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pp. 62-116

If Erlitou witnessed the dawn of the Bronze Age in North China, then the far more extensive Erligang Culture represents its broad foundations. The material evidence documented at sites of this archaeological culture (Map 5) underlies the civilization with which Chinese history properly begins, and also constitutes the baseline for developments outside the central plains. ...

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3. The Shang Kings at Anyang

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pp. 117-171

Our discussions of the Erlitou and Erligang Cultures established the pedigree of the archaeological culture known from the large complex of sites near Anyang, in northern Henan province (Map 6). Work here began at about the same time the discovery of the Longshan type site took place. ...

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4. Shang Cult: Divination and Sacrifice

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pp. 172-213

The development of oracle-bone studies has made our view of the Late Shang (or Yinxu) period categorically different from all earlier eras. History begins at Anyang, and so too does the study of those ideas and practices that characterized Shang society. The emphasis on cult in this chapter matches this evidence, both inscriptional and archaeological. ...

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5. The Late Shang World

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pp. 214-263

In rediscovering the Shang kings and their civilization, archaeologists and historians have created an "Anyang-centered" view of the late second millennium B.C.E. Contemporary cultures have generally been judged against the archaeological record at Anyang. They are classified as more or less advanced, even civilized, by the degree to which they manifest the traits of Yinxu: ...

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Afterword: The Invention of Chinese Civilization

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pp. 264-266

Throughout this book I have been at pains to qualify what I write. My efforts are more than an abundance of scholarly caution or a nod to contemporary academic fashion. As a non-Chinese researcher writing about the early Bronze Age, I am acutely aware that my assumptions are not the same as those of my Chinese peers. ...

Suggested Reading

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pp. 267-274

Notes

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pp. 275-282

Index

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pp. 283-290

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 291-292

I have been fascinated by the Shang since a day in 1971 when I first walked into a gallery at the National Palace Museum, Taibei, and there came face-to-face with a marble owl excavated in the 1930s from the royal tombs at Anyang (see Figure 3.18). Nearby, reverently displayed in velvet-lined boxes, were whole plastrons and scapulas with oracle-bone inscriptions ...