Longshan culture
Overview
 
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 culture in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, centered on the central and lower Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The Longshan culture is named after the town of Longshan in the east of the area under the administration of the city of Jinan
Jinan
Jinan is the capital of Shandong province in Eastern China. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilisation and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub...

, Shandong Province, where the first archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 find (in 1928) and excavation (in 1930 and 1931) of this culture took place at the Chengziya Archaeological Site
Chengziya Archaeological Site
thumb|right|250px|Roadside marker of the siteThe Chengziya Archaeological Site is the location of the first discovery of the neolithic Longshan Culture in 1928. The discovery of the Longshan Culture at Chengziya was a significant step towards understanding the origins of Chinese civilization....

.
The distinctive feature of the Longshan culture was the high level of skill in pottery making
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, including the use of pottery wheels.
Encyclopedia
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 culture in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, centered on the central and lower Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The Longshan culture is named after the town of Longshan in the east of the area under the administration of the city of Jinan
Jinan
Jinan is the capital of Shandong province in Eastern China. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilisation and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub...

, Shandong Province, where the first archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 find (in 1928) and excavation (in 1930 and 1931) of this culture took place at the Chengziya Archaeological Site
Chengziya Archaeological Site
thumb|right|250px|Roadside marker of the siteThe Chengziya Archaeological Site is the location of the first discovery of the neolithic Longshan Culture in 1928. The discovery of the Longshan Culture at Chengziya was a significant step towards understanding the origins of Chinese civilization....

.

History

The distinctive feature of the Longshan culture was the high level of skill in pottery making
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, including the use of pottery wheels. The Longshan culture was noted for its highly polished black pottery (or egg-shell pottery). This type of thin-walled and polished black pottery has also been discovered in the Yangzi River valley and as far as today's southeastern coast of China. It is a clear indication that neolithic agricultural sub-groups of the greater Longshan Culture had spread out across ancient boundaries of China.

Life during the Longshan culture marked a transition to the establishment of cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

, as rammed earth
Rammed earth
Rammed earth, also known as taipa , tapial , and pisé , is a technique for building walls using the raw materials of earth, chalk, lime and gravel. It is an ancient building method that has seen a revival in recent years as people seek more sustainable building materials and natural building methods...

 walls and moats began to appear; the site at Taosi
Taosi
Taosi is an archaeological site in Xiangfen County, Shanxi, China. Taosi is considered to be part of the late phase of the Longshan culture in southern Shanxi, also known as the Taosi phase . Taosi was surrounded by a rammed earth wall; the Huaxia settlement outgrew the perimeter of the wall. At...

 is the largest walled Longshan settlement. Rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 cultivation was clearly established by that time. Small-scale production of silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 by raising and domesticating the silkworm Bombyx mori
Bombyx mori
The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmoth, Bombyx mori . It is an economically important insect, being a primary producer of silk...

in early sericulture
Sericulture
Sericulture, or silk farming, is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk.Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, Bombyx mori is the most widely used and intensively studied. According to Confucian texts, the discovery of silk production by B...

 was also known.

Remains found at archaeological sites suggest that the inhabitants used a method of divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

 based on interpreting the crack patterns formed in heated cattle bones.

The Neolithic population in China reached its peak during the Longshan culture. Toward the end of the Longshan culture, the population decreased sharply; this was matched by the disappearance of high-quality black pottery found in ritual burials.

Periodization

The early period of the Longshan culture is considered to be 3000 to 2600 BC, while the late period is 2600 to 2000 BC.
A variety of geographic regions of China are involved among the various sub-periods of the Longshan civilisation, particularly for the Late Longshan period. For example the middle reaches of the Jing River
Jing River
The Jing River or Jing He , also called Jing Shui , is a tributary of the Wei River , which in turn is the largest tributary of the Yellow River....

 and Wei River
Wei River
The Wei River is a major river in west-central China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization....

 evince settlement known as the Shaanxi Longshan. The We'i River valley would participate in key historic events in China as the North Silk Road developed in that same area.

See also

  • List of Neolithic cultures of China
  • Yangshao culture
    Yangshao culture
    The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921...

  • Prehistoric Beifudi site
    Prehistoric Beifudi site
    The Beifudi prehistoric site, near Yi County in Hebei Province, China, is the excavation of a recently discovered prehistoric Neolithic village that Chinese archaeologists say is one of the most important sites found so far...

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