Extent of Longshan Culture
|-||Established||ca. 3000 BCE|
|-||Disestablished||ca. 2000 BCE|
The Longshan culture (Chinese: t 龍山文化, s 龙山文化, p Lóngshān wénhuà), sometimes encountered as Lung-shan after its previous romanization, was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The Longshan culture is named after the town of Longshan (lit. "Dragon Mountain") in the east of the area under the administration of the city of Jinan, Shandong Province, where the first archaeological find (in 1928) and excavation (in 1930 and 1931) of this culture took place at the Chengziya Archaeological Site. Early studies indicated that the Longshan and Yangshao cultures were one and the same. It is now widely accepted that the Longshan culture is in fact a later development of the Yangshao culture.
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The distinctive feature of the Longshan culture was the high level of skill in pottery making, including the use of pottery wheels. The Longshan culture was noted for its highly polished black pottery (or egg-shell pottery). This type of thin-walled and polished black pottery has also been discovered in the Yangtze River valley and as far as today's southeastern coast of China. It is a clear indication that neolithic agricultural sub-groups of the greater Longshan Culture had spread out across ancient boundaries of China.
Life during the Longshan culture marked a transition to the establishment of cities, as rammed earth walls and moats began to appear; the site at Taosi is the largest walled Longshan settlement. Rice cultivation was clearly established by that time. Small-scale production of silk by raising and domesticating the silkworm Bombyx mori in early sericulture was also known.
The Neolithic population in China reached its peak during the Longshan culture. Towards the end of the Longshan culture, the population decreased sharply; this was matched by the disappearance of high-quality black pottery found in ritual burials.
The early period of the Longshan culture is considered to be 3000 to 2600 BC, while the late period is 2600 to 2000 BC. A variety of geographic regions of China are involved among the various sub-periods of the Longshan civilisation, particularly for the Late Longshan period. For example the middle reaches of the Jing River and Wei River evince settlement known as the Shaanxi Longshan. The We'i River valley would participate in key historic events in China as the North Silk Road developed in that same area.
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- Kwang-chih Chang, "The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective", 2005, Yale University Press, 384 pages ISBN 0-300-09382-9
- Fairbank, John King and Merle Goldman (1992). China: A New History; Second Enlarged Edition (2006). Cambridge: MA; London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01828-1
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