History of China

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2070 BCE Jan 1 - 1600 BCE

Xia Dynasty

Anyi, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China

The Xia dynasty of China (from c. 2070 to c. 1600 BCE is the earliest of the Three Dynasties described in ancient historical records such as Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian and Bamboo Annals. The dynasty is generally considered mythical by Western scholars, but in China it is usually associated with the early Bronze Age site at Erlitou that was excavated in Henan in 1959. Since no writing was excavated at Eritou or any other contemporaneous site, there is no way to prove whether the Xia dynasty ever existed. In any case, the site of Erlitou had a level of political organization that would not be incompatible with the legends of Xia recorded in later texts. More importantly, the Erlitou site has the earliest evidence for an elite who conducted rituals using cast bronze vessels, which would later be adopted by the Shang and Zhou.


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Last Updated: : Wed Jan 31 2024