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The Longshan culture ( ) was a late Neolithic culture in Chinamarker, centered on the central and lower Yellow Rivermarker and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The Longshan culture is named after the town of Longshan in the east of the area under the administration of the city of Jinanmarker, Shandong Provincemarker, where the first archaeological find (in 1928) and excavation (in 1930 and 1931) of this culture took place at the Chengziya Archaeological Sitemarker.


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 Yangzi River valley and as far as the southeastern coast of China proper. It is a clear indication that neolithic agricultural sub-groups of the greater Longshan Culture had spread out across China proper.

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.

Remains found at archaeological sites suggest that the the inhabitants used a method of divination based on interpreting the crack patterns formed in heated cattle bones.

The Neolithic population in China reached its peak during the Longshan culture. Toward 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.

Eleven characters found at Dinggong in Shandong, China on a pottery sherd, Longshan culture


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 middle reaches of the Jing River and Wei Rivermarker evince settlement known as the Shaanxi Longshan. The Wei River valley would participate in key historic events in China as the North Silk Road developed in that same area.


Image:Longshan eggshell thin cup.jpg|An eggshell thin cup from Longshan cultureImage:CMOC Treasures of Ancient China exhibit - black pottery goblet.jpg|Black eggshell pottery of the Longshan culture.

See also


  1. Fairbank, 32.
  2. Fairbank, 33.
  3. Longshan culture. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  4. Kwang-chih Chang, "The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective", 2005, Yale University Press, 384 pages ISBN 0300093829


  • 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
  • Liu, Li. The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States, ISBN 0-521-81184-8

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