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Taosi (Chinese: 陶寺; pinyin: Táosì) is an archaeological site in Xiangfen County, Shanxi, China. Taosi is considered to be part of the late phase of the Longshan culture in southern Shanxi, also known as the Taosi phase (2300 BC - 1900 BC). Taosi was surrounded by a rammed earth wall; the Huaxia settlement outgrew the perimeter of the wall. At its height, Taosi covered an area of 30,000 square meters.[1] It also contained an astronomical observatory, the oldest in East Asia.[2] The settlement is the largest Longshan site discovered in the Linfen basin area, possibly a regional center.

The cemetery at Taosi contained over 1,500 burials. The burials at Taosi were highly stratified (the most stratified of Longshan sites), with burial wealth concentrated in the graves of a few males (nine large graves). The largest graves were placed in separated rooms with murals, had a large cache of grave goods (some with over 200 objects, including jades, copper bells, wooden and crocodile skin musical instruments); middle-size graves featured painted wooden coffins and luxury objects; most of the small graves did not have grave goods.[3] A single bronze bell was also found at a Taosi grave.

Some Chinese archaeologists believe that Taosi was the site of a state Youtang (有唐) conquered by Emperor Yao and became his capital.[4] The city collapsed with a rebellion against the ruling class.[5][6][7] On the other hand, Western scholars tend to believe that emperor Yao is a mythical figure.



Coordinates: 35°52′55″N 111°29′55″E / 35.88194°N 111.49861°E / 35.88194; 111.49861