HOME->Forum->The Humanities Study
On the Early City and the Beginning of the State in Ancient China
Author: Bai Yunxiang[1]
Date: 2003-5-23

A city is the outcome of a certain stage of human social development.Many historians, archaeologists and anthropologists often correlate the formation of the city with the rise of ancient civilizations and the "birth of a state". A leading English archaeologist, V. G. Child, took the city as a symbol of the origin of a state in his book The Urban Revolution, and American archaeologist C. Kluckhom regards the city surrounded by high walls as a symbol of the emergence of the state. Many scholars in China also think that cities are signs of the time of the "farewell of primitive community and entering into the civilized society".In this meaning, we have to make deep investigations of the early city to clarify the beginning of a state.

In China, there were some records in the historical documents and literature when cities arose initially, such as the city originated from Huangdi or Xiagun etc., but they are, as is the nature of things, not confirmed. In fact, cognizance of early cities gradually deepened with the rise and development of modem archaeology. We can now safely say that the rise of cities in China can be traced back at least to the beginning of the third millennium BC, that is 4 700 years ago. As we know, many city sites of the second millennium BC were discovered, such as the Yin Dynasty ruins, Zhengzhou Shang city, Yanshi Shang city and Erlitou site etc. Since they do not represent the earliest stage of city development, we do not discuss them in this paper. Here, what the author should like to discuss are the city sites dated from the third millennium BC.

. Discovery & Study of the Early City in China

The early city in China was first discovered in the early 1930. A city wall ruin with rectangle plan was excavated in Chengziya, Longshantown, Zhangqiu county, Shandong Province between 1930-1931. In the third excavation of Hougang site in Anyang city, Henan Province, in 1933, a rammed earth wall 70 meters long and 2-4 meters wide, dated from the Longshan culture, was discovered southwest of the site. Some interest was taken in these discoveries among academic circles, but at that time, archaeology in China was in the initial stage, and no discussions were made at the time. Until recently, some specialists had been suspicious about the meanings of these sites.

In the spring of 1977, Wangchenggang city site was discovered on the hillock land on the west bank of the Northwest of the cross-river in Gaocheng town,Dengfeng county, Henan Province. A large scale excavation was made of this site, which continued for four years and the form, standing side by side in East and West. In the former only a western sector of the south wall and a northern part of the western wall remained, but the ruins of the western city were kept well. The plan of the western city was a square with 90-meter-long sides, and an area about 10 000 sqms. There was a gate on the east side of the southern wall, and a protruding bastion was situated in one corner. The city was dated at the end of the middle period of Zongyuan Longshan culture i. e.2500-2300BC.

Pingliangtai city site was discovered on the Xincai river bank in the Southwest of Dazhuzhuang, Huaiyang county, Henan province in 1979, and a thorough exploration and excavation was made. The plan of this site was a square with a side length of 185 meters, and an inside area of 34 000sqms. The city gates were situated at the center of the northern and the southern city walls, and the guard rooms were on both sides of the southern gate. The walled city was surrounded by a moat. The culture type was the Wangyoufang type of Zhongyuan Longshan culture, dated around 2500 BC. The discovery of these two Longshan-period cities again caused a great interest in academia and a widespread discussion arose. The China Archaeological Society convened its fifth annual meeting based on the theme of "The City in Ancient China" in the spring of 1985. At the meeting, it was agreed that cities existed in the Longshan period, but there were various contrasting opinions about the nature and social meanings of these cities.

Under this, archaeologists have devoted themselves to field investigations and excavations of the city sites of the Longshan period, while making deep studies in the existing discoveries. Thereupon, early city sites have been discovered one after another in a large region, such as the early city sites excavated in BianxiaNwang village, Shouguang county, Shangdong Province, and in Haojiatai village, Yanchen county, Henan Province between 1984-1987. In 1990, the Chengziya city site was again excavated and it was confirmed that the first city site, which was discovered 60 years ago, was actually of the Yueshi culture, setting the decades-old doubt, and the city site of Longshan culture was discovered also. The city sites of the middle and the late stages of 3rd millennium BC discovered between 1991 - 1992, were as follows: Dinggong site in Zouping county, Shandong Province; Chengtoushan site in Lixian county, Hunan Province; Tianwang site in Zibo city, Shandong Province; Mengzhuang site in Huixiang city, Henan Province; Shijiahe site in Tianmen county, Yinxiangcheng site in Jiangling city and Zoumaling site in Shishou county, Hubei Province. Therefore, the distribution of the early city sites in China had expanded far from the Yellow River Valley to the southern bank of the Yangtze River, and the number of them in the Yellow River and the Yangtze regions had reached 13 (Fig.1). Though the sites of Shijiahe and Zoumaling of Hubei Province were not very clear, the basic conditions of the other 11 sites are fairly clear, which enable us to know the cultural situations of the early cities in China and to study the beginning of the state in ancient China.

Fig.1  The Distribution of Early City Sites in China

1; Chengxiya in Shandong, 2; Hougang in Henan, 3; Wanchenggang in Henan, 4; Pringliangtai in Henan, 5; Bianxianwang in Shandong, 6; Haojiatai in Henan, 7; Dinggong in Shandong, 8; Chengtoushan in Hunan, 9;Tianwang in Shandong, 10; Mengzhuang in Henan, 11; Shijiahe ih Hubei, 12; Yinxiangcheng in Hubei, 13; Zoumaling in Hubei

. The Basic Characteristics of the Early City

More than ten city sites discovered in China at present were dispersed on the wide regions of the middle and low reaches of the Yellow River and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and they belong to different archaeological cultures. They all are affiliated with the late stage of the Neolithic Age, and are very close in date. The date of the two sites of Hougang and Shijiahe is in some degree early, around 2700 BC, and the other city sites are dated roughly between 2500 - 2100 BC, i. e. the late half of the 3rd millennium BC. We can see common characteristics in these early city sites.

Fig.2  The Conditions of Early City Sites 

1. The early city sites usually stand on the river bank (Fig.2): Chengziya site is situated on a high part of the eastern bank of the Wuyuan River, Wangchenggang site on the highland of the western bank of the Wuduhe River, on a cliff 2-8 meters high. Pingliangtai site faces Xincai River and stands on a place 3-5 meters higher than the surroundings, and Hougang site was built on the highland of the southern bank of the Huan River. Dinggong site is located the east 0.8 km away from the Xiaofu River, Tianwang site is on the eastern bank of the Wu River. The hillock on whichi Chengtoushan site stands is 5 meters higher than the Dan River. This condition obviously had very closed inheritable relations with the neolithic villages which were often located on the terrace of the river and the place of the river cross, and it also had an important influence on the selecting sites for cities of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. However, cities passed through by rivers, such as the Dongzhou period cities, had not occurred yet at that time. Rivers were used not only for drainage but also for protection of the city, and highlands must be convenient both for military defense and for protection from floods. Therefore, the people who constructed a city on the highland not far from rivers had kept in mind both protection and drainage. The bastion facility of Wangchenggang city corner and the drainage facility under the southern gate of Pinliangtai city are clear proof of it.

Fig.7  A Section of East Wall of Dingdong

Site (from north to south)

2. There were high walls around the cities, and some of them had moats outside their walls. A ramming technique was adopted for the construction of the wall. The most ancient type of fortification was a moat surrounding a village of the Neolithic Age, such as the sites Banpo and Jiangzhai in Shanxi Province,where ditches 5-6 meters wide and deep were found outside the living quarters.They are both dated from ca.5000 BC. The ditches, easy filled up by wind and rain erosion, should be insufficient as a fortification and could not answer to the needs of the succeeding stage, the Longshan period, where high walls were introduced as the defensive facility. Natural stones were already used as the tools for ramming earth around 3000 BC. This technique began to be widely used in the early Longshan period, and by using this rammed earth technique the construction of high walls became possible. Rammed city walls rose at the historical moment when social needs and technical advances were integrated. Of course, the earliest city walls"" structure and the technique used were fairly primitive. How did they construct rammed walls? The first step was to dig the base, then fill it with earth and ram it. There were two ways of ramming: one was to pile up the earth without using splints. They piled up the earth from both sides to the centre, and then rammed it layer by layer. After that, one side of the wall was cut to make a steep plane. By using this method, the rammed layers on both outer sides were shaped as a slope from the centre of it (Fig.7).In other words, the outer side of the city walls of Chengziya, Tianwang, Dinggong and Chengtoushan. Another method uses wooden splints. At the excavation of the city walls of the Pingliangtai site, we found the traces of small wooden boards used for ramming up the wall. This was done by using small boards to make a 80-85 cm wide around 120 cm high wall inside. Then, earth was piled up outside the ready wall and rammed against it layer by layer. When the wall reached a certain height, a board would be put outside the city wall then the gap was filled with earth and packed down until the height of the inside wall was reached. The another earth wall was made inside, over and over again, a few meters high rammed city wall grew from the ground. Taking the structures of the rammed walls in Shang and Zhou dynasties into account, the construction tecnique of rammed walls in China has developed as follows: simple piling-up method splint method with small boards splint method with big boards. Various and peculiar types of rammed tools were used in the early cities. They can be divided into three types by shape, size and material. Simple ramming tools made of river pebbles or natural stones were found at Pingliangtai, Bianxianwang, Chengziya, Wangchenggan, etc. The river pebble rammed tools found at Pingliangtai and at Wangchengwan were 8-12 cm in diameters. One made of a bunch of 4 wooden sticks was discovered at Pingliangtai, Mengzhuang, etc.The process of the development of the early ramming tools, combined with the archeological evidences of Shang and Zhou periods, can be traced as follows: river pebble, single sticka bunch of wood sticks stone and wood ramming tools. The diversity of the construction methods of the wall in the early stage shows that they originated in various places, and the existence of city walls must be an important feature of the formation of cities.

3. The layout plans of the early cities are regular and simple (Figs.3 & 4). Though there is an exception in that Chengtoushan site has a circular plan,the other sites have a rectangular plan. The walls are built relatively even and staight. If you took the west wall as a datum mark, the direction is between 5°west by north to 15°east by north, commonly between 0°to 10° Even though Chengtoushan had a circular plan, four city gates were arranged in the 4 directions. This situation may reflect the idea that " the sky is round, land is square", which was an ancient Chinese saying, concerning the most prevalent idea of the form of the earth. The city structure pattern engendered under this idea has continually influenced later cities, even in the Ming and Qing dynasties.But it must be pointed out that the plans of the early cities were obviously more regular and simple, compared with the Shang and Zhou cities. These cities were not divided into "inner city" and "outer city", so the area is relatively small and not restricted by the natural topography.

4. These cities varied in size. The smallest city had only 10 000 sqms,while the biggest one had about 200 000 sqms. The early city sites should be divided into two classes according to their scale: in the class of small ones, not reaching 50 000 sqms, should be counted the West city of Wangchenggan (10 000sqms), Pingliangtai (34 000sqms), Haojiatai (33000sqms), and Bianxianwang (big city 57 000sqms, small city 10 000sqms); the big ones have generally around 100 000sqms or above, and outside the city wall often had city moats, such as Chengziya Longshan city (200 000sqms), Dinggong (100 000sqms; the city moat was 20meters wide), Tianwang (150 000sqms),Mengzhuang (160 000sqms, with a moat), Cheng-toushan (95 000sqms with city moat), etc.

Fig.3  The Plan of Wangchenggang Site

In spite of them, each city had its own unique characteristics such as: (1) The bastion facility could be only seen in Wangchenggang. (2) A drainage facility could be seen in Pingliangtai, and it also developed, but the scale of Pingliangtai city site was not large (Figs.5 & 6). (3) The city gates for each city were different. The west city of Wangchenggang has only a southern gate, and it stands in the southeast corner; Pingliangtai city possessed two gates, one in the north and one in the south which was only 1.7 meters wide and had guard rooms set on either side of it; a 8.8 meters wide breach was found in the centre of the east wall of Haojiatai city; Chengtoushan city had one gate in each direction and two gates were opposite to each other; four gates were found in the big city of Bianxianwang; no report of a city gate or breach was found in the cities of Chengziya, Dinggong, Hougang, Tianwang, Mengzhuang,etc. These characteristics reflect that these early cities may have occurred independently, and were not the result of influence on each other; on the other side, the difference of scale and structure of the cities was not by the different class of the cities in the same culture group, but also not the difference formed by their own use. It may be different between each character of the cultural groups and strong and weak force representing each city.

Fig.4  Plans of Early City Sites 

Fig.5  South gate of Pinlintai Site

(from north to south)

5. The various archaeological sites, remains, and objects in the city sites were rich and they reflected the variety of the city residents at that time. The remains not only had the rammed earth stages, but also had ruins of houses,storage pits, dust pits, wells, and tombs, etc. such as the house ruins,storage pits, well, and to mbs which were discovered in Chengziya.39 house ruins discovered in Hougang could be divided into three kings: piled mud wall,wood frame piled mud wall, and sun-dried mud-brick wall; as for the floors,they could be divided into three types: limed floor, baked earth floor, and wooden floors. In 15 house ruins, children""s corpses buried under the floors were discovered. Pottery kilns, tombs, house ruins, storage pits, etc. were discovered in Dinggong city site; the half-underground houses were small,around 10 sqms, while on the other hand, houses on the ground were larger,about 50 sqms, and children and adults were buried for laying ceremony. In the middle west part and northeast part, many rammed earth base ruins were found in the west city of Wangchenggang. A 15 meters long and 5.7 meters wide stage for houses (stage height was 0.72 meters, rammed) was found in Pingliangtai city site. In the north part of Haojiatai city site, 8 connected houses about 20 meters long were discovered. A group of base no less than 2 000 sqms in area were found in the southwestern part of Chengtoushan city site. This showed that cities of this time had not only large constructions but also common houses; the existence of pottery kilns explained that there was pottery production at that time.

Fig.6  Drainage Facility under the South Gate Passing of Pinlingtai

(from north to south)

The objects unearthed beside the main living implements of pottery, such as axes, adzes, chisels for wood work, and stone knives, sickles, etc. for argriculture production, all of these show that residents in the city not only dealt with handicraft production but also agricultural production; some of the arrowheads, pikes, darts were obviously tools for fishing and hunting, and some of them had been transformed to weaponry; six oracle bones were discovered in Chengziya Longshan city site, showing that in the city at that time there existed divination activities; the carved writing in a pottery fragment discovered in Dinggong city site (Fig.8), if it could be confirmed that it was indeed the thing of Longshan period, would show that at that time some of the residents in the city could write. Generally speaking, the unearthed object and remains show that the residents in the city of that time undertook various production activities and the other social activites.

Fig.8  Potsherd with Inscription from Dingfang Site 

6. Beside the construction of the cities and the use of the same period remains, the city site itself and its surroundings had cultural remains which date before and after the city sites, such as the stratified deposit of Hougang site which was Yangshao cultureLongshan cultureShang culture etc. The stratified deposit Of Wangchenggang site was Peiligang cultureLongshan culture Erlitou cultureShang culture; the stratified deposit of Pingliangtai site was Yangshao cultureLongshan cultureErlitou culture. The stratified deposit of Dinggong site and Tianwang site were Dawenkou cultureShijiahe culture.

An explanation for this situation is that these early cities were almost built on the former village, and new cities or villages were built on the sites of abandoned cities. In the regions surrounding these city sites there were a lot of village sites which existed at the same time as the city sites, such as near the region of Dinggong, where there were 17 sites of Longshang culture; Tianwang there were 26 sites of Longshan culture; around Chengziya there were more than 40 sites of Longshan culture. This showed that these early cities did not exist independently, but were interdependent with many villages in the area, and also explained that the rise of early cities was the result of a social production force deveLoped to a certain degree, a part of the original resident place expanded to a certain region with various centres of activity. Of course these cities may had the character of the centre in a certain region.

The permanent residents lived in the place that the high walls surrounded.While the residents undertook agriculture and handicraft production, they also dealt with the social activities of burial and divination. These places were taken as the centre of this region""s economic, culture and political life according to a defined productive model and model of life; an organized resident place in a fixed region, which could be called as "city". In spite of the fortification function of cities such as Wangchenggang, these were not used for the military purpose of "castle".Of course, they were not like the modem city that the population was highly centralized and the residents mainly were non-agriculture and an "urban" with developed commodity economy. The main character of these early cities was having surrounding high rammed city walls and protruding fortification and drainage functions: the layout of the cities as simple and regular, and used in common by residents in different stratum. Economic life followed the natural economic pattern combined with agriculture and handicraft, fishing and hunting activities. Commodity economics were not developed, but in a certain region these cities possessed the feature of social living centre. The early city arose at the early middle period of the 3rd millennium BC, and in the latter half of 3rd BC it arose in a large number. This was a outcome of Longshan age.

. Early City & Birth of the State in Ancient China

As mentioned above, in the middle and late period of the 3rd millennium BC some cities surrounded by walls and inhabited by a certain number of citizens came into being in the vast area of China""s Yellow River valley and the Yangtze valley, so much so that many scholars connected the birth of these new cities with the emergence of the ancient state, or believed that the existence of these cities symbolized that at that time the society had entered the state stage,or a central city was itself regarded as a small state Fang Guo. But I think that while the rise of the cities dose have close connection with the birth of the state,this is not to say that a state was born as soon as the city came into existence.Like Jericho site at the mouth of the Jordan River, an early city with stone walls and moat which occurred in the pre-pottery neolithic age, without the creation of a state. Hence, from the view of archaeology, it is better to examine the birth of the state through the city, but determine from the pattern of the city whether or not it possessed the character of city of state stage.

As we know, development of a state is a outcome of human society at a certain developed stage, and its innate character is the public power separated from the people. That is to say, after the state""s separation from the clan system, public power was set up within the state and this public power rode above the social members. Through compulsory or uncompulsory means, this public power coordinated every kind of social contradiction, and kept social order; and defended the states"" independence and safety from the outside through violent and unviolent means. The economic basis of this public power was the social production in particular, a surplus of food production; and its social basis was the stratum caused by private ownership, social classification, and the widening gap between the rich and poor. Its holding measure was a hierarchical system and concept, so that the executors of public power were separated from ordinary social members and specialized in handling political affairs and became the dominators of society. Potteryproducing, jade-producing, and metallurgical industry gradually became independent production sectors; the city separated from villages, confrontation appeared; religion and public power integrated into one or became accessory of public power; the hierarchical system became the rule of social life, etc. These characteristics of the state would leave traces and marks on material culture, so it is possible in archaeology to discuss and explore the emergence of the state. Now let""s see if the state had emerged in the Longshan period.

First, after the state was separated from clan commune, the relationship between public power and ordinary people disintegrated, so did the executor of public owner and ordinary people. Those who were in charge of power not only possessed large quantity of wealth, but they also began to possess labor and thus conflicted with the ruled persons. As it was shown in material culture, the place where the rulers lived and resided was a grand built by others, and it was separated from the ordinary living sector. The tomb, reflecting one""s living condition when alive, not only consisted of large quantities of life""s necessties, production tools, and instruments showing his status, but also funereally object and substitutes. Among the recently discovered city sites, many rammed architecture sites and big architecture sites were found, such as the largest rammed bases in Wangchenggang west city which are estimated to cover an area of 150sqms. The rammed bases of Chengtoushan were estimated to be no less than 2 000sqms. A 0.72 meter high rammed base was found in Pingliangtai. This showed that at that time large-scale architecture different from ordinary residences existed, but there was no evidence whether these architectures were for the rulers or served as public places for the inhabitants. During the clan commune period, large structures were different from ordinary residences in the village; it existed as a public place for clan members. For example, large houses of 4000 BC ago were found in Banpo in Xian, Hemudu in Yuyao, Jiangzhai in Lintong and Dadiwan in Qiana. Even if the large architecture was the living place for the rulers, it had not been separated from the ordinary living sector by certain facilities. This meant that the separation occurred between the rulers and other inhabitants but confrontation did not arise. It was totally different from the situation of a city within a city, as in the Shang and Zhou dynasties. From buried materials, discovered in city sites in medium to small tombs, it is difficult to make the problem clear. Please look into the case of Taosi site in Shanxi Province. Although several big tombs had many buried and even wife and man were buried separately, men buried alive were not ween. These big tombs were within the same clan""s general cemetery, together with many medium and small sized tombs, so the owners of the big tombs were the heads of the tribes. In the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the big tombs had their own burial place. This represented that the gap between rich and poor at that time was very wide, but it had not developed into confrontation between the social members. In the big tomb of Zhufeng cemetery in Shandong Province, beautiful jade articles and a well-developed coffin appeared, but there was no sign of men buried alive. Every sign showed that the gap between rich and poor was sharpening, stratum had appeared, and to a certain degree, public power had come into being. For if there was no degree of public power, it would have been impossible to undertake such a large scale construction as a city wall. But, the executor of the public power at that time had not been separated from the social group, and public power had not been separated from ordinary people.

Second, as a city in the state stage, the emphasis was not on the separation of city from the village, but the differentiation and emergence of confrontation between city and villages. Inhabitant status, economic life, and also social activities were different. It was this divergence that caused the confrontation between cities and rural areas. As seen from the discovered city sites, rammed walls separated the city from the village, and there were both large-scale architecture and ordinary architecture in the cities. The inhabitants took agriculture production, handicraft industry as well as divination and religion activities; the fine pottery unearthed in the Chengziya site and Tianwang site showed that the craftsmanship of pottery-making in the city was better than that of surrounding villages. From these circumstance we believe that these city sites were the ruins of earlier cities and in a certain area had been the centre. But from the objects and remains discovered, particularly production tools, while residents both in city and village undertook agriculture and handicraft production, the proportion of handicrafts produced in the city was slightly different at the village, but the difference in material culture levels between the city and village was not evident. Handicraft workshops which only provided service for the top level of society in the city have not been found, nor objects which could not be used by ordinary people. The three kilns found in Pingliantai city were scattered around the city""s Northeast, Southeast and Southwest part, so we could see from this situation that the degree of specialization was not high. There pottery kilns belonging to the late Longshan culture period were found in Dinggong site, and they were all located within 20 meters of the South and North. It showed that the scale and specialization degree of pottery making had been raised in the Late of Longshan culture. The broken pieces of bronze vessels unearthed in Wangchenggang belonged to the late Longshan period, later than the city wall built at the middle period of Longshan culture. The pottery fragment with an inscription found in Dinggong also belonged to the late period of Longshan culture. Evidently with the emergence of the early city, it began to differentiate itself from the village, but at the general level they were consistent. Only after several hundred years of development had the differentiation between city and village been formed.

Third, as for religion, after the emergence of the state, religion unites with political power into one; but in ancient China religion became the subsidiary of emperor""s power. Because religious architecture and equipment within the city can not be identified yet, we have to analyze only according to related discoveries. Six oracle bones for divination were found in Chengziya site but there was no material that would prove it was owed by the executor of public power. As we know, under the clan society such primitive religious activities as divination was the main part of social life, and that was proved by ethnography.Many buried pits were discovered in the city sites, such as 13 rammed buried pits with human bones varying from one to six people were found in Wangchenggang ; and among the 39 houses excavated in Hougang sites, children were buried with foundations of 15 houses out of 39 excavated in Hougang; at the house base in Dinggong site, children and adults buried in the foundation were found; pits for burying people, pigs, and dogs were found in the base of the city wall of Bianxianwang site. All these facts showed that in the construction process of these early cities "human sacrifice" was really conducted. The result of study showed that the barbarous religious activity of human society was the result of low social productivity and people""s innocence about the natural world and subordination to the natural world, and in ancient China it occurred from the Yangshao period around the 5th millennium BC through the Longshan period, reaching a peak in the Shan Dynasty. At first the victims of sacrifice were children,then it developed to be children and adult captives, and after the emergence of a slave system, slaves were included. Children were mainly the victims of foundation-laying, and a small group of war captives were discovered at early city sites, but this was different from the slave society, when a large number of adult captives and slaves were used as the object of sacrifice, so we can see that in these early cities, a slave system had not been founded. The phenomenon of laying foundation was not limited to large structures and city walls, but to ordinary residences, which showed that religious activity was still primitive religious activity enjoyed by all members of society and not manipulated by a few persons for the public power service. Human sacrifice represented the transformation of a clan system to the state. Finally, let""s take a look at the hierarchy as the rule of social life when the state was born. For the reality of ancient society in China, the core of the hierarchy was the courtesy system. Though there were not many materials in city sites for exploring the hierarchy, from the Longshan period burial articles, a coffin was used in the big tomb of Longshan culture at Zhufeng in Lin Qju, while at the same time no coffin was used in most ordinary tombs; in Taosi cemetery from the Longshan culture there were 700 tombs. According to their shape and buried articles, they would be classified as eight knids of tombs, divided into three major categories. The buried articles were in great contrast, and jade, stone, pottery, and Japan Wares, which served as primitive courtesy objects, were discovered in a few big tombs. This shows that the differentiation of economic and political social status, and power had emerged so had the difference between people and tribes. Different social stratum, hierarchial ideas and a system with the core of the courtesy system was emerging, but it did not develop into the rules of social life, and still remained as the shell of clan system.

In general, the datum both from early city and village sites and cemeteries at the same time show that the Longshan period, when Chinese cities emerged,was just a turbulent period of the society. The old clan system still existed, but within it a series of elements more advanced than the clan system were emerging and developing; yet the state had not come into being. In the Longshan age in the vast area of the Yellow and Yongtze Rivers existed several tribes and tribe groups with cities as their center. War of plunder and anti-plunder, annexation and antiannexation broke out regularly between the groups. But at the end of the Longshan age, with the development and progress of group""s inner productivity and social group as their basis, during the progress of annexation of war and harnessing the floods, a certain group rose to dominate others, so an ancient state that united the various groups was founded in a certain area at last.

Our conclusion is that the early city which emerged around the middle and late 3rd millennium BC in China was the outcome of a transition period from clan system to the state and is the mark of that clan system beginning to change into the state. The Longshan period represents the gestation of a state.

Baomxv, 1994, B. Yunxiang, Early City


Anyang: 安阳, Banpo: 半坡, Bianxianwang: 辺线王, Chengtoushan: 城头山, Chengziya: 城子崖, Dadiwan: 大地湾, Dan River: 渓河,Dawenkou:大汶口, Daxi: 大渓, Dazhuzhuang: 大朱庄, Dinggong:丁公, Dongzhou:东周, Erlitou:二里头, Fang Guo:方国, Gaocheng: , Haojiatai:郝家台, Huaiyang:淮阳, Hemudu:河姆渡, Hougang: 后岗, Huaiyang:淮阳, Huangdi:黄帝, Huan River:洹河, Huixiang: 辉县, Jiangling:江陵, Jiangzhai:姜寨, Lintong: 临潼, Lin Qiu: , Lixian:澧县, Longshan:龙山, Mengzhuang:孟庄, Ming:,Peiligang:裴李冈, Pingliangtai:平粮台, Qinan:秦安, Qing:,Qujialing 屈家岭, Shang:, Shanxi:山西, Shijiahe:石家河, Shishou:石首, Shouguang:寿光, Taosi:陶寺, Tianmen: 天门, Tianwang: 田旺, Wangchenggang: 王城岗, Wangyoufang: 王油妨, Wu River: 乌河, Wuduhe: 五渡河, Wuyuan: 武源, Xiagun: 夏苏, Xian: 西安, Xiaofu River:孝妇河, Xincai: 新蔡, Yanchen: 郾城, Yangshao: 仰韶, Yanshi: 偃师, Yinxiangcheng: 阴湘城, Yueshi: 岳石,Yuyao: 余姚 Zhangqiu: 章丘, Zhengzhou: 郑州, Zhou: , Zhufeng: 朱封, Zibo: 淄博, Zhongyuan: 中原, Zoumaling: 走马岭, Zouping: 邹平


Child, V. Gordon

1950,The Urban Revolution,The Town Planning Review,Vol.21-1.


    1987,“河南淮阳平粮台竜山文化古城考”《华夏文明》第1集, 北京大学出版社。


    1983,“河南淮阳平粮竜台文化古城址试掘简报”《文物》3 期。








    1960,The Moral Order in the Expanding Society in Kraeling in City Invincible:An Oriental Institute Symposium,p.400.






    1959,Science and Civilixation in China,Vol. . Cambridge. 齐天






    1992,“邹平丁公遗址第4·5次发掘简报”《考古》4期。汪 宁生



    1992,“近十年江汉史前考古的重大收获”《中国文物报》96 日。




    1992,“幽梦·探求·现実—城子崖发掘记”《中国文物报》10 25日。










    [1]The Institute of Archaeology, CASS


Bureau of International Cooperation,Hongkong Maco and Taiwan Academic Affairs Office
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
2003.3.10 Copyright