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China, a History

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2007, 11:58:28 pm »

Late and Early Shang

Written records found at Anyang confirm the existence of the Shang dynasty. However, Western scholars are hesitant to associate some settlements contemporaneous with the Anyang settlement with the Shang dynasty. For example, archaeological findings at Sanxingdui suggest a technologically advanced civilization culturally unlike Anyang but lacking writing. The extent of Shang control is difficult to determine, given the lack of archaeological exploration. It is accepted among historians that Yin, ruled by the same Shang of official history, coexisted and traded with other culturally diverse settlements in North China.

Chinese historians living in later periods were accustomed to the notion of one dynasty succeeding another, but the actual political situation in early China may have been more complicated. The Xia and the Shang can possibly refer to political entities that existed concurrently, just as the early Zhou (successor state of the Shang), is known to have existed at the same time as the Shang. This approach to the Sandai (Or Three Dynasties) system was promoted by noted archaeologist Kwang-chih Chang.

Furthermore, though the ruins of Yinxu confirms the existence of the Late Shang dynasty, no evidence has been unearthed proving the existence of the Shang dynasty before its move to its last capital. This is seen in research by the reference to Yin-era Shang as Late Shang and pre-jiaguwen Shang as Early Shang. The difficulty is less one of conspirators trying to legitimize the Shang Dynasty and more the problem of historians and archaeologists sorting out historical societies and pre-historic (That is, pre-writing) archeological cultures.

At the Shang Dynasty site of Ao, large walls were erected in the 15th century BC that had dimensions of 20 meters / 65 feet in width at the base and enclosed an area of some 2100 yards squared. In similar dimensions, the ancient Chinese capital for the State of Zhao, Handan (founded in 386 BC), had walls that were again 20 meters / 65 feet wide at the base, a height of 15 meters / 50 feet tall, with two separate sides of its rectangular enclosure measured at a length of 1530 yards
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