Songze culture

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Songze Culture
Majiabang map.svg
Geographical range Eastern China
Period Neolithic China
Dates c. 3800 – c. 3300 BCE
Preceded by Majiabang culture
Followed by Liangzhu culture
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 崧澤文化
Simplified Chinese 崧泽文化
Grey pottery wine vessel of the Songze culture, 3800~3200 BCE

The Songze Culture was a Neolithic culture that existed between 3800 and 3300 BCE in the Lake Tai area near Shanghai.[1][2]


Three radiocarbon dates were taken from Songze culture layers at Jiangli near Lake Tai. Two of the dates were obtained from charred rice grains, returning dates of 3360-3090 BCE and 3540-3370 BCE. The third date was taken from knotgrass and produced a date of 3660-3620 BCE.[3] Although it is accepted to be the successor of the Majiabang culture, others have suggested that Songze was a successor phase to the Hemudu culture.[4]



In 1957, archaeologists discovered a site north of Songze Village near Zhaoxiang Town Chinese: 赵巷镇 in Shanghai's Qingpu District.[5] Excavations have been conducted throughout 1961, 1974-1976, 1987, 1994-1995, and 2004. These revealed three cultural layers: the most recent had pottery from the Spring and Autumn period; the middle layer was a cemetery with 148 graves and numerous artefacts; the oldest layer belonged to a village of the Majiabang culture.[5]


92 graves have been excavated from a Songze cemetery at Nanhebang.[6]


The Pishan cemetery contained 61 burials.[6]


Dongshan Village is located near Jingang Town 18 km west of Zhangjiagang. It was discovered in 1989 and has undergone excavations by the Suzhou Museum (1989-1990), followed by two large rescue excavations led by the Nanjing Museum in 2008-2009.[7] The site is divided into three areas: area 1 was a small cemetery of 27 burials, all of which had different quantities of grave goods, which has been used to suggest the existence of a stratified society; area 2 was a residential comprising five buildings in the centre of the site; area 3 was another burial ground in the site's west, with 10 tombs.[7]


  1. ^ Wang (2001), p. 220.
  2. ^ Qin (2013), p. 578.
  3. ^ Qiu et al. (2014).
  4. ^ Goodenough (1993), p. 45.
  5. ^ a b Shanghai Qingpu Museum (2014).
  6. ^ a b Li (2012), p. 134.
  7. ^ a b Li (2012), p. 135.


  • Goodenough, Ward Hunt (1996). Prehistoric Settlement of the Pacific, Volume 86, Part 5. American Philosophical Society. 
  • Li, Boqian (2012). "Implications of Large Burial Sites of Songze Culture". Social Sciences in China. 33 (2): 133–141. doi:10.1080/02529203.2012.677283. 
  • Qin, Ling (2013), "The Liangzhu culture", in Underhill, Anne P., A Companion to Chinese Archaeology, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 574–596, ISBN 978-1-118-32572-8. 
  • Qiu, Zhenwei; Jiang, Hongen; Ding, Jinlong; Hu, Yaowu; Shang, Xue (2014), "Pollen and Phytolith Evidence for Rice Cultivation and Vegetation Change during the Mid-Late Holocene at the Jiangli Site, Suzhou, East China", PLOS ONE, 9 (1): e86816, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086816 
  • Wang, Haiming (2001), "Majiabang", in Peregrine, Peter N.; Ember, Martin, Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Volume 3: East Asia and Oceania, Springer, pp. 206–221, ISBN 978-0-306-46257-3. 
  • Shanghai Qingpu Museum (ed.). "The Songze Culture Site". Shanghai Qingpu Museum. Retrieved 21 November 2014.