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China, a History

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Author Topic: China, a History  (Read 3113 times)
Bee Cha
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« on: August 12, 2007, 06:49:11 am »

Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project

The Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project (Simplified Chinese: 夏商周断代工程; Pinyin: Xa Shāng Zhōu Dundi Gōngchng) was a multi-discipline project commissioned by the People's Republic of China in 1996 to determine with accuracy the location and time frame of the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty and the Zhou Dynasty. Some 200 experts took part in the project, the results of which were released in November 2000.

The project correlated radiocarbon dating, archaeological dating methods, historical textual analysis, astronomy, and used other interdisciplinary methods to achieve more accurate temporal and geographic accuracy.


There is some controversy over the results of the project. One of the criticisms is that the project supports the concept of a 5000-year, unbroken and homogenous history of China, wherein the Three Dynasties were large and powerful states--ignoring that many other groups of people existed throughout China and Central Asia during this period.

Technical controversies involve the following matters: Firstly, the archaeological boundaries between Xia and Shang and between Shang and Zhou have been strongly disputed, partly due to the methods adopted for carbon-dating. Secondly, it has also been argued that the astronomical/literature bases of the project are ill-founded. This was partly caused by persistent doubts in the reliability of the historical records used for the deduction, partly caused by dubious, inaccurate astronomical calculations, and partly caused by selective use of the presumed historical record (which, if used in its entirety, might have no solution at all). Thirdly, numerous unjustified changes have been introduced into the bronze vessel inscriptions, which affect the entire chronology. Finally, lack of understanding on the ancient calendar further complicated the matter.
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