Home Region:  North China (East Asia)

Erligang

D G SC WF HS EQ 2020  cn_erligang / CnErlig

Preceding:
1850 BCE 1600 BCE Erlitou (cn_erlitou)    [continuity]
Add one more here.

Succeeding:
No Polity found. Add one here.

Erligang culture developed during the final phase of Erlitou in the central Yellow River valley. In Sima Qian’s Basic Annals of the Yin, the last Xia king is overthrown and executed by the first king of Shang Cheng Tang. [1] Many scholars place Erligang culture within the Shang period to fit with the traditional chronology of Xia-Shang-Zhou. [2] The early Shang kings were have believed to have moved their capital several times because of natural disasters. [3] The material culture is referred to as both Erligang and early Shang.
Zhengzhou was the center of Erligang culture, and Yanshi was the secondary center. [4] The two cities were large fortified settlements with palaces and crafts workshops. [5] The bronze and ceramic workshops produced goods that varied from the ones produced in Shang and Erlitou settlements. [6] Erligang expanded its cultural influence with the development of regional outputs. Evidence of Erligang material culture is present in Shaanxi, Shandong, and the middle Yangzi region. [7]
Population and political organization
Erligang culture had at least three tiers of political hierarchy. [4] Walled palace cities were occupied by royalty, priests, and specialized craftsmen, while the general population and other craftsmen lived in surrounding villages. [8] The political and cultural core of Erligang had an estimated population of 500,000 to 1 million people. The wider Erligang region had a population of 1.5 million to 2 million people. [9]

[1]: (Major and Cook 2017, 77) Major, John S. and Constance Cook. 2017. Ancient China: A History. New York: Routledge. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/9DB56EP2

[2]: (Major and Cook 2017, 78) Major, John S. and Constance Cook. 2017. Ancient China: A History. New York: Routledge. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/9DB56EP2

[3]: (San, Koon Tan 2014, 17) San, Koon Tan. 2014. Dynastic China: An Elementary History. Malaysia: The Other Press. https://www.zotero.org/groups/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/TB95WB7F)

[4]: (Liu 2014, 278) Liu, Li and Xingchan Chen. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge: CUP. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KPQQWPK6

[5]: (Ross and Steadman 2017, 219) Ross, Jennifer C. and Sharon R. Steadman. 2017. Ancient Complex Societies. New York: Routledge. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/S7GPCJ9A

[6]: (Ross and Steadman 2017, 220) Ross, Jennifer C. and Sharon R. Steadman. 2017. Ancient Complex Societies. New York: Routledge. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/S7GPCJ9A

[7]: (Liu 2014, 285) Liu, Li and Xingchan Chen. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge: CUP. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KPQQWPK6

[8]: (Liu 2014, 295) Liu, Li and Xingchan Chen. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge: CUP. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KPQQWPK6

[9]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KVA5IWCB

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
50 S  
Original Name:
Erligang  
Capital:
Zhengzhou  
Huanbei  
Alternative Name:
Early Shang  
Erligang Empire  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[1,500 BCE ➜ 1,450 BCE]  
Duration:
[1,650 BCE ➜ 1,250 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]  
Supracultural Entity:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Succeeding Entity:
Late Shang  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Preceding:   Erlitou (cn_erlitou)    [continuity]  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
confederated state  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Sino-Tibetan  
Language:
archaic Chinese  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[78,000 to 104,000] people 1650 BCE 1601 BCE
[15,000 to 26,000] people 1600 BCE 1251 BCE
Polity Territory:
[350,000 to 400,000] km2  
Polity Population:
[2,000,000 to 3,000,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[3 to 4]  
Religious Level:
[2 to 3]  
Military Level:
3  
Administrative Level:
[3 to 4]  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
inferred present  
Professional Priesthood:
inferred present  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present  
absent  
Examination System:
inferred absent  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
inferred absent  
Judge:
inferred absent  
Formal Legal Code:
absent  
Court:
inferred absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
unknown  
Irrigation System:
inferred present  
Food Storage Site:
inferred present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
inferred present  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
inferred absent  
Script:
inferred present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
unknown  
Non Phonetic Writing:
unknown  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown  
Sacred Text:
unknown  
Religious Literature:
inferred present  
Practical Literature:
unknown  
Philosophy:
unknown  
Lists Tables and Classification:
inferred present  
History:
unknown  
Fiction:
unknown  
Calendar:
inferred present  
Information / Money
Token:
inferred present  
Precious Metal:
unknown  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
inferred present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
inferred absent  
General Postal Service:
inferred absent  
Courier:
inferred present  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
inferred present  
absent  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
absent  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
present  
  Fortified Camp:
unknown  
  Earth Rampart:
present  
  Ditch:
inferred present  
  Complex Fortification:
present  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
absent  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
inferred present  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
unknown  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
absent  
  Atlatl:
inferred absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
inferred present  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
unknown  
  Polearm:
present  
  Dagger:
inferred present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
inferred absent 1650 BCE 1300 BCE
present 1300 BCE 1250 BCE
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
present  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
inferred present  
  Shield:
inferred present  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
inferred absent  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
inferred absent  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Erligang (cn_erligang) was in:
 (1650 BCE 1251 BCE)   Middle Yellow River Valley
Home NGA: Middle Yellow River Valley

General Variables
Identity and Location


Capital:
Zhengzhou

"The Zhengzhou site is very large. Remains are spread over an area of 25 sq. km, and northwest of this area a palace or ritual complex has recently been discovered 20km away. Unfortunately the ancient city lies beneath the modern one and cannot be systematically explored. Nevertheless its main feature, a hangtu city wall nearly 7 km in circumference, is by itself enough to show that Zhengzhou was no ordinary place." [1]
"Huanbei probably arose in the middle or end of the 14th century BC, and lasted for less than one century; this period is now conveniently labeled the middle Shang." [2] "On the basis of new radiocarbon data, early Shang culture dates from around 1600 to 1300 BC (Expert Team 2000: 63-64). Because of the continuous cultural development from the first stage represented by the early Shang city of Zhengzhou to the later stage represented by the Xiaoshuang- qiao 小双桥 site about 20 km from Zhengzhou, the consensus is that they belong to the same culture. But we still have a short chronological gap between the early Shang remains at Xiaoshuangqiao and the later early Shang remains at Anyang in northern Henan represented by the Huayuanzhuang 花园庄 site, more commonly referred to as Huanbei 洹北 (Guangming Daily 2000). Given the similarities in artifacts and the chronological information so far, I tentatively conclude that Huanbei should be considered an early Shang site (see Chapter 17)." [3]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 165)

[2]: (Jing et al 2013, 346)

[3]: (Yuan 2013, 326)

Capital:
Huanbei

"The Zhengzhou site is very large. Remains are spread over an area of 25 sq. km, and northwest of this area a palace or ritual complex has recently been discovered 20km away. Unfortunately the ancient city lies beneath the modern one and cannot be systematically explored. Nevertheless its main feature, a hangtu city wall nearly 7 km in circumference, is by itself enough to show that Zhengzhou was no ordinary place." [1]
"Huanbei probably arose in the middle or end of the 14th century BC, and lasted for less than one century; this period is now conveniently labeled the middle Shang." [2] "On the basis of new radiocarbon data, early Shang culture dates from around 1600 to 1300 BC (Expert Team 2000: 63-64). Because of the continuous cultural development from the first stage represented by the early Shang city of Zhengzhou to the later stage represented by the Xiaoshuang- qiao 小双桥 site about 20 km from Zhengzhou, the consensus is that they belong to the same culture. But we still have a short chronological gap between the early Shang remains at Xiaoshuangqiao and the later early Shang remains at Anyang in northern Henan represented by the Huayuanzhuang 花园庄 site, more commonly referred to as Huanbei 洹北 (Guangming Daily 2000). Given the similarities in artifacts and the chronological information so far, I tentatively conclude that Huanbei should be considered an early Shang site (see Chapter 17)." [3]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 165)

[2]: (Jing et al 2013, 346)

[3]: (Yuan 2013, 326)


Alternative Name:
Early Shang

"While no large-scale graves have been found at Zhengzhou, graves dated to the Early Shang period from other sites hint at the size of the mortuary monuments at the purported political center." [1] "The Erligang period, also termed the “Early Shang” period in the Chinese literature, gets its name from the site of Erligang, Zhengzhou." [2] "Erligang Empire" [3]

[1]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 348)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 69)

[3]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.

Alternative Name:
Erligang Empire

"While no large-scale graves have been found at Zhengzhou, graves dated to the Early Shang period from other sites hint at the size of the mortuary monuments at the purported political center." [1] "The Erligang period, also termed the “Early Shang” period in the Chinese literature, gets its name from the site of Erligang, Zhengzhou." [2] "Erligang Empire" [3]

[1]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 348)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 69)

[3]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[1,500 BCE ➜ 1,450 BCE]

Phase III
"Phase III (the first phase of the upper Erligang period) is Zhengzhou’s apogee. Bronzes from this period increase in both numbers and type, and the foundry at Zijingshan North went into production. The foundry site at Nanguangwai continued to produce as well, meaning that in phase III, Zhengzhou had at least two major bronze workshops in simultaneous operation." [1]
1500-1450 BCE
"the political power of the Erligang state, as expressed through the early growth of the Shang dynasty, reached its peak during the middle of the second millennium BC (Sun, H. 2009)." [2]
"The Erligang expansion ceased around 1400 BC, when Zhengzhou and many of its regional centers in the core and periphery were abandoned, marking the end of this highly centralized system of political economy." [2]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 71)

[2]: (Liu and Chen 2012, 290) Liu, Li. Chen, Xingcan. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press.


Duration:
[1,650 BCE ➜ 1,250 BCE]

"On the basis of new radiocarbon data, early Shang culture dates from around 1600 to 1300 BC (Expert Team 2000: 63-64). Because of the continuous cultural development from the first stage represented by the early Shang city of Zhengzhou to the later stage represented by the Xiaoshuang- qiao 小双桥 site about 20 km from Zhengzhou, the consensus is that they belong to the same culture. But we still have a short chronological gap between the early Shang remains at Xiaoshuangqiao and the later early Shang remains at Anyang in northern Henan represented by the Huayuanzhuang 花园庄 site, more commonly referred to as Huanbei 洹北 (Guangming Daily 2000). Given the similarities in artifacts and the chronological information so far, I tentatively conclude that Huanbei should be considered an early Shang site (see Chapter 17)." [1]
Periodization:
"During Erligang phase I the ceramics show the influences of multiple traditions2 with many different styles of the diagnostic li-tripods (ZSKY 2003:171). Few bronze vessels either in terms oftype or quantity can be dated to this period (currently only some jue and few of those). The vessels, moreover, tend to have thin walls, suggesting, perhaps, that there was not much metal in circulation. Nevertheless, some of the “palace-temple” structures and city walls were constructed in this phase,3 while the bronze foundry at Nanguanwai began production as well.
During phase II the ceramic assemblage still shows the multiple influences of the previous period, but bronze artifacts increase in type and quantity, as well as in thickness. Both bronze jue and jia are known from this period. Phase II is considered to be a period of growth and development for the site.Phase III (the first phase of the upper Erligang period) is Zhengzhou’s apogee. Bronzes from this period increase in both numbers and type, and the foundry at Zijingshan North went into production. The foundry site at Nanguangwai continued to produce as well, meaning that in phase III, Zhengzhou had at least two major bronze workshops in simultaneous operation.
During Erligang phase IV (Xiaoshuang- qiao-Huanbei phase I), most of the large structures in the palace-temple area were built over with nonelite structures, and the bronze foundries went out of service by the end. Nevertheless, two bronze hoards, as well as several bronze-vessel-yielding tombs, have all been found at Zhengzhou dating to phase IV. If Zhengzhou was indeed in decline, the tombs suggest it had not yet been completely abandoned by its elites, at least as a burial ground. The hoards, on the other hand, might suggest a scenario of rapid abandonment similar to the case of the late Western Zhou bronze hoards." [2]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 326)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 70-72)


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]

"If the analogy to the Anyang period can be made, lacking the infrastructure of later Qin-Han-type imperial control, political relationships even within the Central Plains cultural sphere were likely indirect, mutable, and based on ritually reinforced kinship hierarchy, alliance, and sporadic, rather than routine, mechanisms of coercion. It is also likely that—as with the Zhou dynasts, who set up statelets in strategic areas after the conquest of the Shang—the political, economic, and cultural relationships between sites changed over the course of their occupation, each site and each region having its own local historical trajectory related to, but not necessarily determined by, the fate of the cultural and political core." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 100)


Supracultural Entity:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI

"The civilizational sphere of influence centered on the Zhengzhou polity, though expansive, was neither homogeneous nor unique within the area currently occupied by the PRC. In Sichuan, the Sanxingdui tradition flourished, while lower down the Yangzi, local societies responded to Central Plains cultural and perhaps political intrusion with a variety of responses, exporting northward their characteristic stoneware and protoporcelains even as theyabsorbed bronze-casting techniques and perhaps other cultural forms. To the west, north, and northwest in western Shaanxi and Gansu, Inner Mongolia, and northern Shanxi provinces, local traditions, though showing increasing interaction with the Erligang period cultural world, nevertheless preserved material cultural traditions (including bronze-casting) and likely social organization and lifeways different from those of the Zhengzhou core. In Liaoning and Inner Mongolia in the northeast, the Lower Xiajiadian-tradition area was still home to societies living in networks of stone fortified sites, who shared certain cultural forms with other sites across a broad expanse of the north and northwest, while in the east the Yueshi areas, while showing increased contact with the Erligang-period cultural sphere, was nonetheless distinct. Although in its time, the Erligang-period urban site at Zhengzhou may have stood at the center of the largest and most influential sphere of civilization in contemporary East Asia, the elites at Zhengzhou nevertheless inhabited a complex cultural landscape, with multiple and multidirectional networks of resources, culture, and knowledge." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 101)


Succeeding Entity:
Late Shang

Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

"More certain is the continuity with later developments. The foundations, tombs, and artifacts just described all come from the third and fourth levels at the site. Radiocarbon determinations put those levels near the middle of the second millennium, and their contents, the pottery vessels in particular, suggest a close relationship with the Erligang culture defined at the Zhengzhou site 85 km to the east. On present evidence the Erlitou culture is the immediate ancestor of the Erligang culture, the first great civilization of East Asia." [1] "The transition between the Erlitou and Erligang pe- riods, moreover, appears to have been culturally seamless. Already, in Erlitou IV and increasingly toward the end of the phase, Erligang-type ceramics were found in the Erlitou assemblage. Six kilometers away and roughly contemporary with the second half of Erlitou IV, the large Shang walled site of Yanshi was built, and, in the Zhengzhou area, an even larger walled site was being constructed. The “Erlitou expansion” was not followed by a retraction of Central Plains material culture, but rather it was incorporated into an even larger “Erligang expansion.” " [2]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 165)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 99)


Preceding Entity:
Erlitou [cn_erlitou] ---> Erligang [cn_erligang]

"More certain is the continuity with later developments. The foundations, tombs, and artifacts just described all come from the third and fourth levels at the site. Radiocarbon determinations put those levels near the middle of the second millennium, and their contents, the pottery vessels in particular, suggest a close relationship with the Erligang culture defined at the Zhengzhou site 85 km to the east. On present evidence the Erlitou culture is the immediate ancestor of the Erligang culture, the first great civilization of East Asia." [1] "The transition between the Erlitou and Erligang pe- riods, moreover, appears to have been culturally seamless. Already, in Erlitou IV and increasingly toward the end of the phase, Erligang-type ceramics were found in the Erlitou assemblage. Six kilometers away and roughly contemporary with the second half of Erlitou IV, the large Shang walled site of Yanshi was built, and, in the Zhengzhou area, an even larger walled site was being constructed. The “Erlitou expansion” was not followed by a retraction of Central Plains material culture, but rather it was incorporated into an even larger “Erligang expansion.” " [2]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 165)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 99)


Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

"These scholars also see the presence of these walled sites and the Erligang expansion in general as evidence for the direct control of a huge territory by a centralized state (Bagley 1999). While the presence of walled Erligang-type sites over a large area suggests a common elite cultural sphere, even while the unparalleled scale of Zhengzhou suggests a cultural and political core, the actual relationships between sites and the mechanisms of putative political control remain unknown. If the analogy to the Anyang period can be made, lacking the infrastructure of later Qin-Han-type imperial control, political relationships even within the Central Plains cultural sphere were likely indirect, mutable, and based on ritually reinforced kinship hierarchy, alliance, and sporadic, rather than routine, mechanisms of coercion. It is also likely that—as with the Zhou dynasts, who set up statelets in strategic areas after the conquest of the Shang—the political, economic, and cultural relationships between sites changed over the course of their occupation, each site and each region having its own local historical trajectory related to, but not necessarily determined by, the fate of the cultural and political core." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 100)

Degree of Centralization:
confederated state

"These scholars also see the presence of these walled sites and the Erligang expansion in general as evidence for the direct control of a huge territory by a centralized state (Bagley 1999). While the presence of walled Erligang-type sites over a large area suggests a common elite cultural sphere, even while the unparalleled scale of Zhengzhou suggests a cultural and political core, the actual relationships between sites and the mechanisms of putative political control remain unknown. If the analogy to the Anyang period can be made, lacking the infrastructure of later Qin-Han-type imperial control, political relationships even within the Central Plains cultural sphere were likely indirect, mutable, and based on ritually reinforced kinship hierarchy, alliance, and sporadic, rather than routine, mechanisms of coercion. It is also likely that—as with the Zhou dynasts, who set up statelets in strategic areas after the conquest of the Shang—the political, economic, and cultural relationships between sites changed over the course of their occupation, each site and each region having its own local historical trajectory related to, but not necessarily determined by, the fate of the cultural and political core." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 100)


Language
Linguistic Family:
Sino-Tibetan

Language:
archaic Chinese

"The people whose material culture is studied here did not yet, as far as we know, use the Eastern Zhou term Zhongguo, or “middle kingdoms,” nor is there any evidence that they considered themselves to have a common collective identity. Indeed, it is likely that many, if not most, of those within the area of what is now the People’s Republic of China did not speak any language ancestral to modern Chinese. In addition to archaic Chinese, there would have been speakers of other Sino-Tibetan languages, as well as Altaic, Austroasiatic, Hmong-Mien, Tai-Kadai, Austronesian, and perhaps even Indo-European languages." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 13)


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[78,000 to 104,000] people
1650 BCE 1601 BCE

Inhabitants. "If we use the population density range derived from Erlitou (60-100 persons/ha), as discussed earlier in text, Zhengzhou’s population would have been 78,000-130,000 with a mean of 104,000 persons." [1] Erlitou’s population declined in Phase IV (1600-1500 BCE). Liu (2006) uses number of pits and burials to calculate population range. [2]
Zhengzhou.
[6,000-12,000] for area inside unknown wall. [60,000-120,000] for area inside inner wall. [300,000-600,000] for area inside outer wall. [500,000-1,000,000] for total area of site.
If the walled area enclosed 30 hectares (calculated from length of a perimeter wall of 6,960 meters [3] ) and its population density was between 200-400 persons per hectare (a standard based on ancient cities), the number of inhabitants at the core would be between 6,000-12,000.
However, the above wall is not the only one. According to Shelach and Jaffe (2014) "The inner walls of Zhengzhou enclosed an area of about 300 ha, but the area inside the recently discovered outer walls was as large as 1,500 ha (Fig. 8)." [4] This would provide an estimate of between 60,000-120,000 for the area inside the inner wall.
If the city of Zhengzhou is considered to be the whole site, spread over 25km2 [5] or 2500 hectares, the estimated number of inhabitants balloons to 500,000 at the (relatively low) density per hectare of 200 people.

[1]: (Liu and Chen 2012: 278-81, 286) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/DE5TU7HY?.

[2]: (Liu 2006: 184) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/DPH4F6DB.

[3]: (Bagley 1999, 168) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

[4]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 347-348) Shelach, G. and Y. Jaffe. 2014. The Earliest States in China: A Long-term Trajectory Approach. Journal of Archaeological Research 22: 327-364.

[5]: (Bagley 1999, 165) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

Population of the Largest Settlement:
[15,000 to 26,000] people
1600 BCE 1251 BCE

Inhabitants. "If we use the population density range derived from Erlitou (60-100 persons/ha), as discussed earlier in text, Zhengzhou’s population would have been 78,000-130,000 with a mean of 104,000 persons." [1] Erlitou’s population declined in Phase IV (1600-1500 BCE). Liu (2006) uses number of pits and burials to calculate population range. [2]
Zhengzhou.
[6,000-12,000] for area inside unknown wall. [60,000-120,000] for area inside inner wall. [300,000-600,000] for area inside outer wall. [500,000-1,000,000] for total area of site.
If the walled area enclosed 30 hectares (calculated from length of a perimeter wall of 6,960 meters [3] ) and its population density was between 200-400 persons per hectare (a standard based on ancient cities), the number of inhabitants at the core would be between 6,000-12,000.
However, the above wall is not the only one. According to Shelach and Jaffe (2014) "The inner walls of Zhengzhou enclosed an area of about 300 ha, but the area inside the recently discovered outer walls was as large as 1,500 ha (Fig. 8)." [4] This would provide an estimate of between 60,000-120,000 for the area inside the inner wall.
If the city of Zhengzhou is considered to be the whole site, spread over 25km2 [5] or 2500 hectares, the estimated number of inhabitants balloons to 500,000 at the (relatively low) density per hectare of 200 people.

[1]: (Liu and Chen 2012: 278-81, 286) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/DE5TU7HY?.

[2]: (Liu 2006: 184) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/DPH4F6DB.

[3]: (Bagley 1999, 168) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

[4]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 347-348) Shelach, G. and Y. Jaffe. 2014. The Earliest States in China: A Long-term Trajectory Approach. Journal of Archaeological Research 22: 327-364.

[5]: (Bagley 1999, 165) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.


Polity Territory:
[350,000 to 400,000] km2

in squared kilometers
[350,000-400,000] based on idealised circle centered a bit south of the capital Zhengzhou that reaches as far south as Panlongchen
"Bagley has described Panlongchen, which was located in eastern Hubei on a tributary of the Yangtze River, 450 km to the south of Erligang, as a "site of Erligang civilization" where the "indigenous population was ruled by an intrusive Erligang elite." [1] Erligang remains at Panlongcheng were spread over 1 km2. Part of area enclosed by rectangular wall 260m by 290m. [2]
"The extent of the Erligang polity also is disputed, but even skeptical reviewers agree that its political influence (and probably direct political control) extended considerably beyond the immediate region around Zhengzhou. [3]

[1]: (Howard 2012, 111) Howard, Michael C. 2012. Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies: The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel. McFarland.

[2]: (Bagley 1999, 168) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

[3]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 355)


Polity Population:
[2,000,000 to 3,000,000] people

People.
500,000-1,000,000 at the political and cultural core, with 1,500,000-2,000,000 in the wider Erligang region which included non-Erligang ceramic traditions. The combination of the two figures might be called the total population of an "Erligang Empire". [1]
If the city of Zhengzhou is considered to be the whole site, spread over 25km2 [2] or 2500 hectares, the estimated number of inhabitants is 500,000 at a (relatively low) density per hectare of 200 people or 1,000,000 at the higher estimate.
Within the Erligang cultural sphere "each site and each region [had] its own local historical trajectory related to, but not necessarily determined by, the fate of the cultural and political core." [3] This can be visualised with a map of ceramic traditions.
Including the Erligang variant, 9 ceramic traditions (Central Plains metropolitan traditions) have been identified within the Erligang cultural sphere. [4] These traditions may represent the quasi-polities that came under some form of influence from the Erligang core at Zhengzhou, or their provincial elites.
For a hard upper limit to an estimate, McEvedy and Jones (1978) suggest no more than 5 million in the later Shang period. "By 3000 BC we can think in terms of a million peasants in the area either side of the lower Huang Ho". [5] They continue: "even in the full Bronze Age - the era known as the Shang period ... the agricultural zone did not exceed 1m km2, nor the population within it 5m, nor the population of China proper 6m." [5]
Within the Erligang period we could infer the upper limit would be slightly less than the more developed later Shang, perhaps 3 million rather than 5 million.

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Bagley 1999, 165) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

[3]: (Campbell 2014, 100) Campbell, R. B. 2014. Archaeology of the Chinese Bronze Age from Erlitou to Anyang. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

[4]: (Campbell 2014, 70) Campbell, R. B. 2014. Archaeology of the Chinese Bronze Age from Erlitou to Anyang. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

[5]: (McEvedy and Jones 1978, 170-172) McEvedy, Colin. Jones, Richard. 1978. Atlas of World Population History. Penguin Books Ltd. London.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[3 to 4]

levels.
1. Capitals. Zhengzhou (1500 ha), Xiaoshuangqiao, and Huanbei
"Exemplified by Zhengzhou and Anyang, each city was composed of a centrally situated ceremonial and administrative enclave occupied primarily by royalty, priests and a few selected craftsmen, whereas the peasantry and the majority of artisans lived in villages dispersed throughout the surrounding countryside (Wheatley 1971: 30-47)." [1]
2. Auxiliary capitals or important military stations, with a surrounding wall of rammed earth. Yanshi (190 ha)
3. Small cities that served as military fortresses, with a surrounding wall. Panlongcheng 盘龙城 (75 ha)
4. Smaller villages. 10-30ha. Mengzhuang 孟庄 (30ha) in size.
Tertiary center
"The structure of the political centers of the Erligang period is different from anything seen before. Although many of them are enclosed by rammed-earth walls, a tradition that was underway during the Neolithic period, their standard rectangular shape and clear internal division suggest a much more formal definition of what such a city should look like (Fig. 7). The walls of two sites are impressive, measuring 17-25 m wide at the base and 9 m tall. The inner walls of Zhengzhou enclosed an area of about 300 ha, but the area inside the recently discovered outer walls was as large as 1,500 ha (Fig. 8). The area inside the walls of Yanshi, which may have been one of the secondary centers of Zhengzhou, is roughly 200 ha. While there has not yet been a systematic survey, settlement around the two sites is reportedly very dense, including relatively large tertiary centers (Liu and Chen 2003, pp. 87-101; Yuan and Zeng 2004)." [2]
"Differences in site size for the early Shang period can be explained with reference to terms for different kinds of settlements from various Chinese historical texts. It seems that the different settlement tiers identified by archaeologists represent a hierarchical social structure which included large settlements that were regional capitals (du 都), military towns or large sites that served as auxiliary capitals (yi 邑), small cities that functioned as military strongholds, and common settlements. My colleagues and I have identified four sizes or ranks of settlements for the early Shang period as a whole (ranks 1-4, from large to small). My discussion below focuses on interpreting the functions of each type of site for the entire early Shang period.
The very large or rank 1 sites such as Zhengzhou, Xiaoshuangqiao, and Huanbei should be interpreted as capitals (see Table 16.1). Each of these sites is several hundred hectares in size, and each has a walled palace zone. [...] Rank 2 settlements are large sites that served as auxiliary capitals or important military stations. Most of these sites have a surrounding wall of rammed earth. The site of Yanshi, for example, is rectangular and covers an area of 190ha. [...] Rank 3 sites are relatively small cities that served as military fortresses. These settlements are considered cities because they are walled. Generally they are located at important transportation junctions in the peripheral region of the early Shang dynasty.Panlongcheng 盘龙城 is located about 5km from Wuhan city, Hubei province. Since it has a walled palace zone, it also probably once had a wall surrounding the settlement as well. Therefore, many scholars regard it as a city. The walled zone is approximately rectangular in plan, encompassing an area of 75 ha. [...] Commoners lived in the smallest (rank 4) settlements about 10-30 ha in size. They must have had close relations with larger, neighboring sites. For instance, Mengzhuang 孟庄 is relatively large and circular in shape, around 30ha in size. The excavations there discovered trash pits, building foundations, pottery kilns, water wells, and burials (Henan Provincial 1999: 241-246)." [3]

[1]: (Liu and Chen 2012, 295) Liu, Li. Chen, Xingcan. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 347-348)

[3]: (Yuan 2013, 327-330)


Religious Level:
[2 to 3]

levels.
There was a religion or cult centered around royalty. At least two levels if the king did not do everything.
1. King2. Priest or assistant/High priest inferred3. Low priest inferred
"The scale of the palace-temples and the existence of the palace-temple district from the very beginning of the site suggest that Yanshi Shangcheng was planned and built as an elite religious/political structure from the start." [1]
"Exemplified by Zhengzhou and Anyang, each city was composed of a centrally situated ceremonial and administrative enclave occupied primarily by royalty, priests and a few selected craftsmen... (Wheatley 1971: 30-47)." [2]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 75)

[2]: (Liu and Chen 2012, 295) Liu, Li. Chen, Xingcan. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press.


Military Level:
3

levels.
At least 3 levels.
1. King2. Chiefgrave of a "chief" or "lord" found at Dayangzhou. [1]
3. Individual solider

[1]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Administrative Level:
[3 to 4]

levels. Several levels of territorial government, but difficult to establish in the absence of texts.
1. King
__Central government__
2. AdministratorsNo concrete evidence, but inferred from the following: "The list of activities dependent on administration for the Erlitou state - agriculture, the construction of public buildings and city walls, the bronze industry, the army - is equally applicable to Erligang, but the scale of those activities had increased enormously." [1]
3.4.
__Provincial government__
2. Local governorGrave of a "chief" or "lord" found at Dayangzhou. [2]
"Social stratification started developing in China prior to the Shang period and was largely solidified by the Shang dynasty. As previously discussed, settlement patterns are one kind of data that support this conclusion. The highest-ranking people would have lived in the cities, and the large capital city of Zhengzhou was where the king would have resided. The elite residents of smaller cities in other areas such as Panlongcheng, Yuanqu, and Yanshi would have been local governors or military leaders who were chosen by the Shang king." [3]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.

[3]: (Yuan 2013, 334)


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

Soldiers stationed in Panlongchen - so far from Zhengzhou core, these would have to be professional?
"Bagley has described Panlongchen, which was located in eastern Hubei on a tributary of the Yangtze River, 450 km to the south of Erligang, as a "site of Erligang civilization" where the "indigenous population was ruled by an intrusive Erligang elite." The reason for this intrusion so far from home appears to have been the desire to provide security for the trade routes that brought copper from even further south - the closest being about 100 km to the south of Panlongchen. Panlongchen itself developed into a center of bronze making, indicating that artisans from the bronze making centers of Erligang Culture to the north probably settled in the city along with Erligang elites and soldiers." [1]
Professional soldiers can be inferred present in Erligang and Erlitou. [2]

[1]: (Howard 2012, 111) Howard, Michael C. 2012. Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies: The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel. McFarland.

[2]: (Mair, Victor. North China Workshop 2016)


Professional Priesthood:
present

King likely top priest due to palaces being both religious and political structures. However, due to the significance of the ceremonial enclave, and the sacrificial rituals, must have been helped by full-time specialists.
"Exemplified by Zhengzhou and Anyang, each city was composed of a centrally situated ceremonial and administrative enclave occupied primarily by royalty, priests and a few selected craftsmen... (Wheatley 1971: 30-47)." [1]
"The scale of the palace-temples and the existence of the palace-temple district from the very beginning of the site suggest that Yanshi Shangcheng was planned and built as an elite religious/political structure from the start." [2]
Ritual specialists were present from at least Shang onwards [3]

[1]: (Liu and Chen 2012, 295) Liu, Li. Chen, Xingcan. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 75)

[3]: (North China Workshop 2016)


Professional Military Officer:
unknown

Grave of a warrior "chief" or "lord" found at Dayangzhou, contained many weapons. [1] Likely full-time, but whether paid by the state in land or salary is unknown. Officers may have been members of the elite and not full-time, paid warriors.

[1]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

"Exemplified by Zhengzhou and Anyang, each city was composed of a centrally situated ceremonial and administrative enclave occupied primarily by royalty, priests and a few selected craftsmen... (Wheatley 1971: 30-47)." [1] Were there specialized buildings for administration, set apart from palaces?

[1]: (Liu and Chen 2012, 295) Liu, Li. Chen, Xingcan. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press.

Specialized Government Building:
absent

"Exemplified by Zhengzhou and Anyang, each city was composed of a centrally situated ceremonial and administrative enclave occupied primarily by royalty, priests and a few selected craftsmen... (Wheatley 1971: 30-47)." [1] Were there specialized buildings for administration, set apart from palaces?

[1]: (Liu and Chen 2012, 295) Liu, Li. Chen, Xingcan. 2012. The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press.


Examination System:
absent

"Before the Northern Sung, the principal means of entry into the social and political elite was by official recommendation or kinship relations." [1]

[1]: (Elmam 2000, 5) Elman, B. 2000. A cultural history of civil examinations in late imperial China. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

"In terms of legal systems, its implement and practical application in the dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou had all centered on the will of the monarchs. As a result, the law was overtopped by the imperial power, and both law and punishment were made by the rulers. For example, the law of the Xia Dynasty was generously referred to as Yu Xing (The Penal Code of Yu), which was named after the emperor." [1]

[1]: (Zhang 2014, 154) Zhang, Jinfan. 2014. The Tradition and Modern Transition of Chinese Law. Springer Science & Business Media.


"In terms of legal systems, its implement and practical application in the dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou had all centered on the will of the monarchs. As a result, the law was overtopped by the imperial power, and both law and punishment were made by the rulers. For example, the law of the Xia Dynasty was generously referred to as Yu Xing (The Penal Code of Yu), which was named after the emperor." [1]

[1]: (Zhang 2014, 154) Zhang, Jinfan. 2014. The Tradition and Modern Transition of Chinese Law. Springer Science & Business Media.


Formal Legal Code:
absent

"In terms of legal systems, its implement and practical application in the dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou had all centered on the will of the monarchs. As a result, the law was overtopped by the imperial power, and both law and punishment were made by the rulers. For example, the law of the Xia Dynasty was generously referred to as Yu Xing (The Penal Code of Yu), which was named after the emperor." [1]
"The evolution of China’s customary law into codified law occurred during the Warring States Period (770 BCE to 256 BCE). During that period successive warlords would each codify and publish their own sets of laws according to the needs of society." [2] -- this variable requires that the law be written down. Customary law can be written down.

[1]: (Zhang 2014, 154) Zhang, Jinfan. 2014. The Tradition and Modern Transition of Chinese Law. Springer Science & Business Media.

[2]: (Liang 2010, XI) Liang, Huixing. 2010. The Draft Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China: English Translation (Prepared by the Legislative Research Group of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.


Specialist, full-time judge unlikely at this time. Before specialist judge we might expect a generalist or part-time judge would evolve, but we have no data. Due to central importance of religious ritual to this authoritarian society we could infer there was no secular sphere of law over which a non-religious specialist could adjudicate.


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
unknown

First evidence of markets found in the Western Zhou [1]

[1]: (Feinman, Gary. North China Workshop 2016)


Irrigation System:
present

During the Shang (exact period not mentioned): "Progress in hydraulic technology allowed the creation of great systems of irrigation, increasing the productivity of cultures along the Yellow river." [1] Since the source did mention three periods just before this quote and no period is assigned to this data one may infer that it implies a development that encompassed all periods, including the Erligang.

[1]: (Lemoy 2011, 72) Lemoy, Christian. 2011. Across the Pacific: From Ancient Asia to Precolombian America. Universal Publishers. Florida.


Food Storage Site:
present

"These structures have a diameter of about nine meters and were about 30—50 cm above the contemporaneous surface. They have cross-shaped depressions on the floor surface and no doors. Many Chinese archaeologists speculated that these buildings were granaries, but recent soil chemical analysis has suggested they were used for salt storage (Chen et al. 2010)." [1] "The early and middle part of Erligang period III was another period of florescence, but one that was short-lived. No major changes occurred in the site in terms of site structure, but the “storage area” (group II) underwent extensive renovation and rebuilding." [2] This ’storage area’ might not have been dedicated to food storage, however. In Yanshi: "Aside from the palace-temple area, there was a group of buildings in the southwest of the site surrounded by a wall occupying an area of about 4 ha. Inside the wall were more than 100 large structures arranged in six rows running east-west. Moreover, despite renovations and rebuilding, this area retained its basic layout through the occupation of the site (ZSKY 2003). Because there are no remains of living activities in the area (neither hearths nor middens) and because of the enclosed nature and orderly structure of the area and its location near the palace-temple compound, most Chinese archaeologist interpret it as a storage area of some sort (Du et al. 1999; Wang Xuerong 2000; Liu and Chen 2003; Wang Wei 2005; etc.)." [3]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 82)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 75)

[3]: (Campbell 2014, 75-76)


Transport Infrastructure

Government administration needed to maintain walls [1] so highly likely they maintained roadways at least within the core region.

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present

"The pottery, however, is said to show differences from Erligang, an observation for which the most obvious explanation would be an indigenous population ruled by an intrusive Erligang elite. Since ancient copper mines are known at places 100 km or so further south, Panlongcheng might have been a fortress securing trade routes that brought metal to the north." [1] "The military power of the more northern cities of Yuanqu (phase II), Dongxiafeng (phase II), and Fucheng (phase II) allowed the control of salt and copper mines in the area and the control of other polities located there." [2]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 170)

[2]: (Yuan 2013, 332)


Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent

Pat Savage: Barend ter Har distrusted this and other references claiming early origins of writing as being politically motivated to establish early Chinese invention. He says the first true writing isn’t attested until the Shang oracle bone script [1] [2] . "Despite the almost complete absence of other written remains, it is clear that Erligang had a writing system that was in its capabilities at least the equal of the Egyptian writing from tomb U-j ... Both systems come to our notice in a ritual context, where their function was some sort of display, but we must remember that normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it. Because administrative documents were almost certainly written on perishable materials like bamboo and papyrus, we will probably never find them." [3] "The emergence of writing is one of the indicators of civilization, and there is abundant evidence for this from early Shang sites. Inscribed symbols have been found mainly in phase III deposits at Zhengzhou (rank 1), Xiaoshuangqiao (rank 1), and Taixi (rank 2). Several symbols were found at Zhengzhou, as well as some resembling modern characters. These symbols were found mostly on dakou zun (大口尊 “large-mouthed” zun jars). In addition, some vessels from Xiaoshuangqiao have incised symbols under the rim. Some of these symbols seem similar to inscriptions on oracle bones from the late Shang period." [4] Other scholars suggest that there was no established writing system before the Late Shang or Anyang period. "Nevertheless, the Anyang period is notable for two important new developments: writing and the introduction of the chariot. The first of these, although possibly having unpreserved antecedents (Keightley 2006; Bagley 2004 but see Smith 2008 for the argument that the script could have developed rapidly), appeared in two forms in the Anyang period." [5]

[1]: William G. Boltz. The origin and early development of the Chinese writing system. (American Oriental Society, 2003).

[2]: Keightley, D. N. The ancestral landscape: Time, space, and community in late Shang China (ca. 1200-1045 B.C.). (University of California Press, 2000).

[3]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.

[4]: (Yuan 2013, 337)

[5]: (Campbell 2014, 130)


Script:
present

"Despite the almost complete absence of other written remains, it is clear that Erligang had a writing system that was in its capabilities at least the equal of the Egyptian writing from tomb U-j ... Both systems come to our notice in a ritual context, where their function was some sort of display, but we must remember that normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it. Because administrative documents were almost certainly written on perishable materials like bamboo and papyrus, we will probably never find them." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
unknown

Unknown. "The emergence of writing is one of the indicators of civilization, and there is abundant evidence for this from early Shang sites. Inscribed symbols have been found mainly in phase III deposits at Zhengzhou (rank 1), Xiaoshuangqiao (rank 1), and Taixi (rank 2). Several symbols were found at Zhengzhou, as well as some resembling modern characters. These symbols were found mostly on dakou zun (大口尊 “large-mouthed” zun jars). In addition, some vessels from Xiaoshuangqiao have incised symbols under the rim. Some of these symbols seem similar to inscriptions on oracle bones from the late Shang period." [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 337)


Non Phonetic Writing:
unknown

Unknown. "The emergence of writing is one of the indicators of civilization, and there is abundant evidence for this from early Shang sites. Inscribed symbols have been found mainly in phase III deposits at Zhengzhou (rank 1), Xiaoshuangqiao (rank 1), and Taixi (rank 2). Several symbols were found at Zhengzhou, as well as some resembling modern characters. These symbols were found mostly on dakou zun (大口尊 “large-mouthed” zun jars). In addition, some vessels from Xiaoshuangqiao have incised symbols under the rim. Some of these symbols seem similar to inscriptions on oracle bones from the late Shang period." [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 337)


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
unknown

Unknown. "normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Sacred Text:
unknown

Unknown. "normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Religious Literature:
present

"A few inscribed oracle bones have been found in the Zhengzhou city site since the early fieldwork there, raising many debates about context and interpretation. Three bone fragments were found with characters. One of them is a cattle bone found in April 1953 within a disturbed layer. Eleven characters were inscribed in three lines as follows (Henan First Team 1957: Plates 4-5). Fang Hui 方辉 provides the Englishtranslation from the Chinese translation by Chang Yuzhi 常玉芝 (2007): 乙丑贞:及孚.七月. Divination on the day of Yi Chou, we can make captures for sacrifices. . . . 贞:又乇土羊 Divination on one day, use sheep to sacrifice to the god of land at the place called Bo. As already mentioned, many sacrificial pits containing human victims, cattle heads and horns, dogs, and other remains were found at the large Xiaoshuangqiao site. The ceramic jars excavated from these sacrificial pits can be classified into two groups on the basis of their size. About 10 jars show traces of more than 20 characters written in cin- nabar. They mostly indicate single words that can be put into three categories: numbers (such as 二 two, 三 three, 七 seven); human-like symbols and pictographs (one from pit H101 has a human-like symbol near the vessel rim with a clear head, body, arms, and legs); and animal-like symbols. It should be pointed out that although these symbols or words were written on pottery vessels with cinnabar, their shape, strokes, structure, and techniques of expression reveal that they are in the family of oracle-bone inscriptions and inscriptions on bronze artifacts. The characters with smooth lines and beautiful structure are dated earlier than inscriptions on bone and bronze. It appears that these types of words represent a stage in the development of ancient Chinese writing. During the early Shang period, it was already quite developed (Song 2003)." [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 338-339)


Practical Literature:
unknown

Unknown. "normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Philosophy:
unknown

Unknown. "normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Lists Tables and Classification:
present

"normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it. Because administrative documents were almost certainly written on perishable materials like bamboo and papyrus, we will probably never find them." [1] The administrative system must have used written lists, such as for items to procure for ritual occasions or building projects.

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


History:
unknown

Unknown. "normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Fiction:
unknown

Unknown. "normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it." [1]

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Calendar:
present

"normally it is only after writing comes to be used for display that archaeology begins to find traces of it. Because administrative documents were almost certainly written on perishable materials like bamboo and papyrus, we will probably never find them." [1] We could infer that a ritual calendar was written down.

[1]: (Wang 2014, 179) Wang, Haicheng. 2014. Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.


Information / Money
Token:
present

Cowries: "The clear functional division of labor between the different workshop areas at Zhengzhou means that efficiency in production was a priority. The presence of workshops specializing in the production of particular kinds of goods indicates that there must have been considerable trade of goods during the early Shang period. This also suggests that a system of currency could have existed. Many scholars have proposed that the presence of cowries (haibei 海贝) in early Shang graves were used as currency. These shells usually are found in large graves. In comparison to the Erlitou graves with no more than 12, one early Shang grave had 460 cowries." [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 336-337)


Precious Metal:
unknown

No data.


Paper Currency:
absent

Paper did not exist at this time. It has been suggested that cowrie shells were used as a currency. [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 336-337)


Indigenous Coin:
absent

Coins evolved at a later time. It has been suggested that cowrie shells were used as a currency. [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 336-337)


Foreign Coin:
absent

Coins evolved at a later time. It has been suggested that cowrie shells were used as a currency. [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 336-337)


Article:
present

"The clear functional division of labor between the different workshop areas at Zhengzhou means that efficiency in production was a priority. The presence of workshops specializing in the production of particular kinds of goods indicates that there must have been considerable trade of goods during the early Shang period." [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 336-337)


Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent

No data on whether the Erligang elite at Zhengzhou used relay stations to transmit messages faster. This might be considered unlikely as elsewhere relay stations evolved and were used in context of much larger bureaucracies and more culturally homogeneous empires.


General Postal Service:
absent

Little literacy so there would have been nobody to use a general postal service, if such had existed.


Courier:
present

It is likely that the political core in Zhengzhou communicated to the elites in the regions, such as at Panlongcheng, through messengers.


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
unknown

Earthen walls used. Wooden walls not impossible but these less likely to leave archaeological record, unless very substantial (post holes).


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present

Walls used earth surrounding by bricks or wood [1] At Zhengzhou: "The two external protective walls were similarly pounded, and the outer one was coated with a layer of protective pebbles, presumably to forestall erosion by falling rain and perhaps buttress it against floodwaters." [2] Walls of Zhengzhou made out of earth. [3] No stone used for fortification. Stone walls present in the Neolithic period [4]

[1]: (Lovell 2006, 31)

[2]: (Peers 2011, 191)

[3]: (Bagley 1999, 166) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

[4]: (Feinman, Gary and Liye, Xie. North China Workshop 2016)

Stone Walls Non Mortared:
absent

Walls used earth surrounding by bricks or wood [1] At Zhengzhou: "The two external protective walls were similarly pounded, and the outer one was coated with a layer of protective pebbles, presumably to forestall erosion by falling rain and perhaps buttress it against floodwaters." [2] Walls of Zhengzhou made out of earth. [3] No stone used for fortification. Stone walls present in the Neolithic period [4]

[1]: (Lovell 2006, 31)

[2]: (Peers 2011, 191)

[3]: (Bagley 1999, 166) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.

[4]: (Feinman, Gary and Liye, Xie. North China Workshop 2016)


Stone Walls Mortared:
absent

Walls used earth surrounding by bricks or wood [1] At Zhengzhou: "The two external protective walls were similarly pounded, and the outer one was coated with a layer of protective pebbles, presumably to forestall erosion by falling rain and perhaps buttress it against floodwaters." [2] Walls of Zhengzhou made out of earth. [3] No stone used for fortification.

[1]: (Lovell 2006, 31)

[2]: (Peers 2011, 191)

[3]: (Bagley 1999, 166) Bagley, R. in Loewe, Michael. Shaughnessy, Edward L.1999. The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

Yen-shih: "It was probably erected shortly after the conquest in the heart of enemy territory to serve as a fortress" [1]

[1]: (Peers 2011, 180)


Modern Fortification:
absent

Gunpowder not present for another couple thousand years.


"The inner walls surrounded an area of about 289 ha, while some parts, if not all, of the inner and outer walls were apparently surrounded by a moat up to 20 m wide." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 72)


Fortified Camp:
unknown

No data.


Earth Rampart:
present

Rammed-earth defensive walls: "Comparing the inner and outer walls, the inner walls are built on a more or less rectangular plan aligned roughly 20 degrees east of north5 and were built directly upon the ground surface. The outer wall, on the other hand, was built according to the contours of the land, with a foundation trench to strengthen it, and is currently 12-17 m thick at the base. These facts suggest to Yuan and Zeng (2004) that the walls served different defensive functions, the inner wall protecting the “palaces,” and the outer wall, moat, and lake defending the site as a whole. An- other, additional possibility, is that the outer wall served as flood protection." [1]

[1]: (Campbell 2014, 72)


Ditch. [1]

[1]: (Sawyer 2011, 41)


Complex Fortification:
present

"The layout of the ancient city of Zhengzhou has been identified after many years of excavations. The city plan is nearly rectangular with two rings of protective walls that form the outer and the inner city. The inner city is approximately rectangular with a perimeter of almost 7,000m and an area of 300ha. The outer city wall only protects the southern and western portions of the site, located 600-1,100m away from the inner city wall (Figure 16.1). The outer wall was designed to follow natural topography surrounding the inner city, obviously having a defensive function." [1]

[1]: (Yuan 2013, 327)



Military use of Metals

Steel not discovered at this time.


Iron not discovered at this time.


Used to make bronze.


"Many lines of evidence point to a dramatic increase in the sophistication of craft production and the level of specialization during the Erligang period. The technology used to cast bronze vessels —the piece-mold or section-mold technique— was already developed by the Erlitou period, but it reached a much higher level of sophistication during this period. Vessel shapes were now much more varied than before and much more lavishly decorated. The complexity and sheer size of some of these vessels show their casting to have been a real technological achievement. For example, one bronze square ding (fangding 方鼎) dated to the Erligang period is 100 cm tall and weighs 86.4 kg. More bronze was used to cast this single vessel than was used for all of the known Erlitou vessels combined. Another example is three hoards of bronze objects discovered in the outer city of Zhengzhou, containing 28 bronzes with a total weight of over 500 kg (Thorp 2006, pp. 89-91). Mold parts found at the different bronze workshops in Zhengzhou suggest that one, the Nanguanwai (南关外), specialized in the production of ritual vessels (although it also produced tools and weapons), while another, Zijingshan (紫荆山), produced few vessels, if any, and focused instead on weapons and small tools (Fig. 8) (Henan 2001, pp. 307-383). Such workshop specialization, which can be seen in other crafts as well, may have to do not only with the artisans working in each foundry but also with the level of political control over and sponsorship of these workshops." [1]

[1]: (Shelach and Jaffe 2014, 349-350)


Projectiles
Tension Siege Engine:
absent

Siege weaponry not present until Warring States period [1]

[1]: (Liang 2005)


Sling Siege Engine:
absent

Siege weaponry not present until Warring States period [1]

[1]: (Liang 2005)


Known from the Zhou period, when: "The conscripted foot soldiers wore sheepskin jackets and used slings and bows with bronze-tipped arrows." [1]

[1]: (Meyer 1994, 132) Milton Walter Meyer. 1994. China: A Concise History. Second Edition, Revised. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Lanham.


Arrowheads: "The workshops include bronze foundries to the north and south, a bone workshop to the north, and a pottery workshop to the west. Pollution and the danger of fire were no doubt sufficient reasons for locating foundries and kilns outside the city. Judging from mold fragments, the foundries produced vessels, craft tools, and a few weapons (ge blades and arrowheads)." [1] In Yanshi: "In addition, some bone artifacts were discovered to the west of the phase I palace-temple compound wall—mostly consisting of arrowheads, spatulas, or pins, with some production waste and semifinished bone artifacts as well—suggesting a bone workshop in the area (ZSKY 2003)." [2] At Panlongcheng, arrow points. [3]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 166)

[2]: (Campbell 2014, 77)

[3]: (Thorp 2013, 106) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Bronze spearheads found at the tomb of Lijiazui Mi, Panlongcheng. [1] The "spear appears to have remained relatively uncommon prior to the late Shang." [2]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 169)

[2]: (Peers 2011, 428)


Handheld Firearm:
absent

Gunpowder not invented for another couple of thousand years.


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

Cannons and firearms not present until the Song [1]

[1]: (Liang 2005)


Warring States period technology [1]

[1]: (Liang 2005)


Composite Bow:
absent

"the typical Chinese composite bow... was already in use under the Shang" [1]

[1]: (Peers 2013, 7)


Technology used in the new world. Unlikely.


Handheld weapons

Inferred from the presence of war clubs in previous and subsequent polities in the Middle Yellow River Valley.


Sword found at Dayangzhou, Xin’gan, Erligang Culture, possibly Huan-bei period. [1]

[1]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Bronze spearheads found at the tomb of Lijiazui Mi, Panlongcheng. [1] The "spear appears to have remained relatively uncommon prior to the late Shang." [2] At Panlongcheng mao spear points. [3] are these thrown spears or hand-held thrusting spears?

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 169)

[2]: (Peers 2011, 428)

[3]: (Thorp 2013, 106) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


"At ERLITOU, elite graves contained bronze grave goods, including vessels, bells, knives, and halberds (ge)." [1] . The Shang dagger-axe had a one meter long shaft, could also be classified as a polearm [2] ge dagger-axe. [3]

[1]: (Higham 2004, 57)

[2]: (Gaukroger and Scott 2009, 11)

[3]: (Thorp 2013, 105) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Daggers were imported from an outside culture, first seen in the Shang. [1] Knives found at Dayangzhou, Xin’gan, Erligang Culture, possibly Huan-bei period. [2]

[1]: (Peers 2011, 400)

[2]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Battle Axe:
present

Ge blades: "The workshops include bronze foundries to the north and south, a bone workshop to the north, and a pottery work- shop to the west. Pollution and the danger of fire were no doubt sufficient reasons for locating foundries and kilns outside the city. Judging from mold fragments, the foundries produced vessels, craft tools, and a few weapons (ge blades and arrowheads)." [1] Ko dagger-axes: "a transverse dagger-shaped bronze blade" [2] At Panlongcheng "a pair of broad-blade axes (yue)". [3]

[1]: (Bagley 1999, 166)

[2]: (Peers 2013, 6)

[3]: (Thorp 2013, 106) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Animals used in warfare
Horse:
absent
1650 BCE 1300 BCE

"combat in this period was conducted by men on foot, in loosely organized forces of limited strength, almost entirely with bows and arrows and crushing weapons such as axes, clubs, dagger-axes, and a few spears (but not swords) primarily fabricated from stone rather than metal." [1] Chariots were introduced later than this period, c1300 BCE. [2] . Chariots were introduced around 1300 bce [2]

[1]: (Sawyer 2011, 129)

[2]: (Peers 2013, 8)

Horse:
present
1300 BCE 1250 BCE

"combat in this period was conducted by men on foot, in loosely organized forces of limited strength, almost entirely with bows and arrows and crushing weapons such as axes, clubs, dagger-axes, and a few spears (but not swords) primarily fabricated from stone rather than metal." [1] Chariots were introduced later than this period, c1300 BCE. [2] . Chariots were introduced around 1300 bce [2]

[1]: (Sawyer 2011, 129)

[2]: (Peers 2013, 8)


Animal not present in region.


Used as pack animals [1]

[1]: (North China Workshop 2016)


Dogs were domesticated at this time. Never used in warfare. [1]

[1]: (North China Workshop 2016)


Animal not present in region.


Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

given the wide array of offensive weapons it would be surprising if nothing had evolved to counter them. for example, shields and helmets to absorb the blow of crushing weapons like the mace and battle-axe. we would expect the earliest defenses to not have been made of metal and so unlikely to have been preserved.


Helmet found at Dayangzhou, Xin’gan, Erligang Culture, possibly Huan-bei period. [1] so they almost certainly conceived of the shield, however it might not have been made of metal and preserved? given the wide array of offensive weapons it would be surprising if nothing had evolved to counter them. for example, shields and helmets to absorb the blow of crushing weapons like the mace and battle-axe. we would expect the earliest defenses to not have been made of metal and so unlikely to have been preserved.

[1]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


Scaled Armor:
absent

widespread use of armor seems to have developed alongside rise of large infantry forces only in Warring States period, 5th c bce [1] [2]

[1]: (Dien 1981)

[2]: (Tin-bor Hui 2005)


Plate Armor:
absent

widespread use of armor seems to have developed alongside rise of large infantry forces only in Warring States period, 5th c bce [1] [2]

[1]: (Dien 1981)

[2]: (Tin-bor Hui 2005)


Limb Protection:
absent

widespread use of armor seems to have developed alongside rise of large infantry forces only in Warring States period, 5th c bce [1] [2]

[1]: (Dien 1981)

[2]: (Tin-bor Hui 2005)


Leather Cloth:
present

given the wide array of offensive weapons it would be surprising if nothing had evolved to counter them. for example, shields and helmets to absorb the blow of crushing weapons like the mace and battle-axe. we would expect the earliest defenses to not have been made of metal and so unlikely to have been preserved.


Laminar Armor:
absent

widespread use of armor seems to have developed alongside rise of large infantry forces only in Warring States period, 5th c bce [1] [2]

[1]: (Dien 1981)

[2]: (Tin-bor Hui 2005)


Helmet found at Dayangzhou, Xin’gan, Erligang Culture, possibly Huan-bei period. [1]

[1]: (Thorp 2013, 110) Thorp, Robert L. 2013. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.


widespread use of armor seems to have developed alongside rise of large infantry forces only in Warring States period, 5th c bce [1] [2]

[1]: (Dien 1981)

[2]: (Tin-bor Hui 2005)


Breastplate:
absent

widespread use of armor seems to have developed alongside rise of large infantry forces only in Warring States period, 5th c bce [1] [2]

[1]: (Dien 1981)

[2]: (Tin-bor Hui 2005)


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
absent

"The first recorded use of ships in a military operation occurred circa 1045 B.C.E." [1]

[1]: (Lorge 2012, 82-83)


Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent

"The first recorded use of ships in a military operation occurred circa 1045 B.C.E." [1]

[1]: (Lorge 2012, 82-83)


Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent

"The first recorded use of ships in a military operation occurred circa 1045 B.C.E." [1]

[1]: (Lorge 2012, 82-83)



Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions
- Nothing coded yet.