Synopses & Reviews
This book explores the roles of agricultural development and advancing social complexity in the processes of state formation in China. Over a period of about 10,000 years, it follows evolutionary trajectories of society from the last Paleolithic hunting-gathering groups, through Neolithic farming villages, and on to the Bronze Age Shang dynasty in the latter half of the second millennium BC. Li Liu and Xingcan Chen demonstrate that sociopolitical evolution was multicentric and shaped by inter-polity factionalism and competition, as well as by the many material technologies introduced from other parts of the world. The book illustrates how ancient Chinese societies were transformed during this period from simple to complex, tribal to urban, and preliterate to literate.