Xia Dynasty - Archaeological Discoveries

Archaeological Discoveries

See also: Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project

Archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that point to the possible existence of the Xia dynasty at locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts. There exists a debate as to whether or not the Erlitou culture was the site of the Xia dynasty. Radiocarbon dating places the site at c. 2100 to 1800 BC, providing physical evidence of the existence of a state contemporaneous with and possibly equivalent to the Xia Dynasty as described in Chinese historical works. In 1959, a site located in the city of Yanshi was excavated containing large palaces that some archaeologists have attributed to capital of the Xia Dynasty. Through the 1960s and 1970s, archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs in the same locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts regarding Xia; at a minimum, the Xia Dynasty marked an evolutionary stage between the late neolithic cultures and the typical Chinese urban civilization of the Shang Dynasty.

As reported in 2011, Chinese archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an imperial sized palace—dated to about 1700 BCE—at Erlitou in Henan, lending further questions to the existence of the dynasty.

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