Shijiahe culture

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Shijiahe culture
Qujialing map.svg
Geographical range middle Yangtze
Period Neolithic
Dates c. 2500 – c. 2000 BC
Preceded by Qujialing culture
Chinese name
Chinese 石家河文化
Tubular pottery sacrificial vessel, Shijiahe culture, Hubei Provincial Museum

The Shijiahe culture (2500–2000 BC) was a late Neolithic culture centered on the middle Yangtze River region in Hubei, China. It succeeded the Qujialing culture in the same region and inherited its unique artefact of painted spindle whorls. Pottery figurines and distinct jade worked with advanced techniques were also common to the culture.

Shujiahe site

The type site was discovered at Tianmen County, Hubei, China. The lower layer of the site belonged to the Qujialing culture.

The Shijiahe culture is considered by some scholars to be a variant of the Longshan culture. It is located along the Central Yangtze River Valley. The city-site is said to be a "nearly perfect square" in shape and is 120 hectares (300 acres) in size and was densely populated, it may have housed from between 15,000 and 50,000 inhabitants within the settlement's walls. At Dengjiawan, within the Shijiahe site complex, some pieces of copper were discovered, making these the earliest copper objects discovered so far in southern China.[1] This subtradition is known for its moat defenses as well as walled sites.[2][3] Some scholars have speculated that Shijiahe could have been considered an ancient state due to its relatively advanced socio-political structure.[4][5]

The primary mode of travel was thought to be watercraft. People even built channels as makeshift rivers to connect urban core areas to adjacent rivers or from towns to main rivers. In addition to walls, moats were also dug around towns and urban centers in the same fashion as the constructed channels. At the town site at Chengtoushan, the moat is about 40–50 m in width. Researchers estimate that a total labor force of 200,000 to 470,000 people was needed to construct the moat and walls at this site.[6] Shijiahe is said to have a population size and land area greater than Erlitou, however it is not very clear if they had the same level of centralized control over these regions that the Erlitou did.[7]

The people of the Shijiahe culture grew both rice and millet.

See also


  1. Zhang (2013), p. 524.
  2. Anne P. Underhill, ed., A Companion to Chinese Archaeology. John Wiley & Sons, 2013 ISBN 1118325729 p524
  3. Renfrew (2014). The Cambridge World Prehistory.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Anne P. Underhill, ed., A Companion to Chinese Archaeology. John Wiley & Sons, 2013 ISBN 1118325729
  5. Zhang, Chi (2008). The Neolithic of Southern China-Origin, Development, and Dispersal. p. 11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Underhill, Anne (2013). A Companion to Chinese Archaeology. pp. 516–520.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Underhill, Anne (2013). A Companion to Chinese Archaeology. p. -531.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Works cited

  • Allan, Sarah (ed), The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective, ISBN 0-300-09382-9
  • Lui, Xujie (2002), "The Origins of Chinese Architecture", in Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman, Chinese Architecture, Yale University Press, pp. 11–32, ISBN 978-0-300-09559-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Zhang, Chi (2013), "The Qujialing–Shijiahe culture in the middle Yangzi River valley", in Underhill, Anne P., A Companion to Chinese Archaeology, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 510–534, ISBN 978-1-118-32578-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Zhang, Chi; Hung, Hsiao-chun (2008), "The Neolithic of Southern China-Origin, Development, and Dispersal", Asian Perspectives, 47 (2): 299–329.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>