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The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States

The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States

Paperback New Studies in Archaeology

By (author) Li Liu

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 332 pages
  • Dimensions: 174mm x 247mm x 18mm | 530g
  • Publication date: 3 September 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521010640
  • ISBN 13: 9780521010641
  • Illustrations note: 82 b/w illus. 38 maps 6 tables
  • Sales rank: 834,483

Product description

This book studies the formation of complex societies in prehistoric China during the Neolithic and early state periods, c. 7000-1500 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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Author information

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).

Review quote

"The Chinese Neolithic is a major achievement. The book presents a coherent and methodologically quite sophisticated vision of the late prehistory of the middle and lower Yellow River basin...Liu's compelling investigation into the precursors of the early Chinese dynasties elicits great admiration." - Lothar von Falkenhausen, University of California, Los Angelos Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

Table of contents

List of illustrations; List of tables; Preface; 1. Setting the scene; 2. The changing environmental contexts of China's first complex societies; 3. Household subsistence and ritual; 4. Spatial organization and social relations in communities; 5. Community burial patterns; 6. Development and decline of complex societies in the Central Plains; 7. Development and decline of social complexity beyond the Central Plains; 8. Trajectories toward early states; 9. Reconstructing social processes; Notes; Appendixes; References; Index.