Neolithic China
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Neolithic China

This is a list of Neolithic cultures of China that have been unearthed by archaeologists. They are sorted in chronological order from earliest to latest and are followed by a schematic visualization of these cultures.

It would seem that the definition of Neolithic in China is undergoing changes. The discovery in 2012 of pottery about 20,000 years BP indicates that this measure alone can no longer be used to define the period.[1] It will fall to the more difficult task of determining when cereal domestication started.

The list

Dates (BC) English name Chinese name Modern-day name and location
18000-7000 Xianren Cave culture Wannian County, Shangrao, Jiangxi
8500-7700 Nanzhuangtou culture Yellow River region in southern Hebei
7500-6100 Pengtoushan culture central Yangtze region in northwestern Hunan
7000-5000 Peiligang culture Yi-Luo river basin valley in Henan
6500-5500 Houli culture ? Shandong
6200-5400 Xinglongwa culture Inner Mongolia-Liaoning border
6000-5000 Kuahuqiao culture Zhejiang
6000-5500 Cishan culture ? southern Hebei
5800-5400 Dadiwan culture Gansu and western Shaanxi
5500-4800 Xinle culture ? lower Liao River on the Liaodong Peninsula
5400-4500 Zhaobaogou culture Luan River valley in Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei
5300-4100 Beixin culture ? Shandong
5000-4500 Hemudu culture Yuyao and Zhoushan, Zhejiang
5000-3000 Daxi culture ? Three Gorges region
5000-3000 Majiabang culture Lake Tai area and north of Hangzhou Bay
5000-3000 Yangshao culture ? Henan, Shaanxi, and Shanxi
4700-2900 Hongshan culture ? Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, and Hebei
4100-2600 Dawenkou culture Shandong, Anhui, Henan, and Jiangsu
3800-3300 Songze culture ? Lake Tai area
3400-2250 Liangzhu culture ? Yangtze River Delta
3100-2700 Majiayao culture upper Yellow River region in Gansu and Qinghai
3100-2700 Qujialing culture middle Yangtze region in Hubei and Hunan
3000-2000 Longshan culture ? central and lower Yellow River
2800-2000 Baodun culture ? Chengdu Plain
2500-2000 Shijiahe culture middle Yangtze region in Hubei
1900-1500 Yueshi culture ? lower Yellow River region in Shandong

Schematic outline

These cultures are brought together schematically for the period 8500 to 1500 BC. Neolithic cultures remain unmarked and Bronze Age cultures (from 2000 BC) are marked with *. There are many differences in opinion by dating these cultures, so the dates chosen here are tentative:

Yellow River
Sichuan (7) Southeast
8500     Nanzhuangtou            
7000           Pengtoushan      
6500   Dadiwan Peiligang Houli   and Zaoshi)   Zengpiyan  
Xinglongwa Laoguantai Cishan 6500-5500   7000-5800   7000-5500  
6200-5400 = Baijia Jiahu            
6000   6500-5000 Lijiacun   Kuahuqiao        
    6500-5000   6000-5000        
Xinle     5300-4500          
5000 5300-4800 Yangshao     Hemudu Daxi   Dapenkeng  
  5000-3000     5000-3400 5000-3300   Fuguodun  
        Majiabang     5000-3000  
4500 Zhaobaogou       5000-4000        
4500-4000     Dawenkou Songze        
      4300-2600 4000-3000        
3500           Qujialing      
Hongshan         3500-2600 Yingpanshan    
(incl. Fuhe) Majiayao     Liangzhu   ca 3100?    
3000 3400-2300 3300-2700     3200-1800     Tanishan  
  Banshan *Henan-     Shijiahe Baodun Shixia  
  2700-2400 Longshan *Shandong-   2500-2000 2800-2000 Nianyuzhuan  
2500   Machang 2800-2000 Longshan   Qinglongquan   Qinglongquan  
  2400-2000   2600-2000   = (Hubei-   Hedang Baiyangcun
  *Qijia       Longshan)   3000-.... 2200-2100
2000 *Xiajiadian 2300-1800       2400-2000     Dalongtan
2000-300   *Erlitou *Yueshi         2100-2000
  *Siba 1900-1500 1900-1500 *Maqiao        
1500   1950-1500 Xia
  1800-1200 *Chang Jiang
from 1500    

For this schematic outline of its neolithic cultures China has been divided into the following nine parts:

  1. Northeast China: Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.
  2. Northwest China (Upper Yellow River): Gansu, Qinghai and western part of Shaanxi.
  3. North-central China (Middle Yellow River): Shanxi, Hebei, western part of Henan and eastern part of Shaanxi. This is called the North China Plain, until recently seen as where Chinese civilization originated from and spread out along the country.
  4. Eastern China (lower Yellow River): Shandong, Anhui, northern part of Jiangsu and eastern part Henan.
  5. East-south-eastern China (lower Yangtze): Zhejiang and biggest part of Jiangsu.
  6. South-central China (middle Yangtze): Hubei and northern part of Hunan.
  7. Sichuan and upper Yangtze.
  8. Southeast China: Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, southern part of Hunan, lower Red River in the northern part of Vietnam and the island of Taiwan.
  9. Southwest China: Yunnan and Guizhou.
Map of the Chinese Neolithic

See also


  1. ^ Xiaohong Wu, Chi Zhang, Paul Goldberg, David Cohen, Yan Pan, Trina Arpin, Ofer Bar-Yosef (2012). Early Pottery at 20,000 Years Ago in Xianrendong Cave, China. Science, 336, 1696-1700.


  • Chang (1986). The archaeology of ancient China. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03784-8. 
  • Loewe, Michael (1999). The Cambridge history of ancient China : from the origins of civilization to 221 B.C. Cambridge, UK New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47030-7. 
  • Higham, Charles (1996). The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-49660-8. 
  • Liu, Li (2004). The Chinese neolithic : trajectories to early states. Cambridge, UK New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81184-8. 
  • Maisels, Charles (1999). Early civilizations of the old world : the formative histories of Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, India, and China. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10976-0. 
  • Scarre, Christopher (2005). The human past : world prehistory & the development of human societies. New York, N.Y: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28531-4. 
chapter 7, Higham, Charles, 'East Asian Agriculture and Its Impact', p.234-264.
chapter 15,Higham, Charles, 'Complex Societies of East and Southeast Asia', p.552-594

External links

Media related to Neolithic cultures of China at Wikimedia Commons

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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