Settlement Patterns of Early Shang Dynasty City Site at Yanshi


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Study and Research Fellowships (East and Southeast Asia)


Institute of Archaeology


I will work with Professor Zhichun Jing at the University of British Columbia, Canada


The city site at Yanshi (conventionally known as the yanshi-shangcheng) is the capital ruin of the early Shang dynasty. Since its discovery in 1983, it has been one of key points for exploring and studying the Xia and Shang dynasty cultures. However, the academic circle has paid more attention to the date of its construction, rather than the sociocultural relationship represented in the city structure, building arrangement, and cultural constitution. Based on the archaeological studies on this early Shang dynasty city site within the past 20 years and through the analysis of the archaeological remains, this project studies the settlement pattern, building arrangement, and transformation of the social spaces (spacial analysis); analyzes the evidence of social stratification (hierarchical analysis), labor division, and social relations from the viewpoints of cultural diffusion and integration; and searches for the reasons for which the cultural integration seriously lagged behind dynastic replacement as shown in the archaeological remains of the city site at Yanshi. Finally, it examines the socio-historic process in which the unique culture of a new dynasty was created.