Journal article

The first Neolithic urban center on China's north Loess Plateau: The rise and fall of Shimao

Zhouyong Sun, Jing Shao, Li Liu, Jianxin Cui, Michael F Bonomo, Qinghua Guo, Xiaohong Wu, Jiajing Wang

ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN ASIA | ELSEVIER SCI LTD | Published : 2018

Abstract

Our recent interdisciplinary investigations have revealed an unexpected prehistorical complex settlement system developed in the north Loess Plateau, a region previously regarded as the frontier of Chinese civilization. Many of the settlements are stone fortifications built on hilltops, and the primary center was a massive (> 400 ha) stone walled site at Shimao in Shaanxi (ca. 2300–1800 cal. BCE). Shimao was composed of a central palatial terrace surrounded by two layers of stone enclosures. The settlement was built as a sophisticated defensive system, consisting of baffled gates, gate towers, bastions, and corner towers. Shimao was a regional political and ritual center, evidenced by the di..

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Grants

Awarded by National Science Foundation of China: Climatic change and human adaptation in the Ordos region in 5-4 ka


Awarded by Chinese Post-Doctoral Research Grant


Awarded by National Science Foundation of China: Regional settlement patterns and populations in the origins of Chinese civilization


Awarded by National Science Foundation of China: Radiocarbon dating project


Funding Acknowledgements

This project was supported by three grants from the National Science Foundation of China: 1. Climatic change and human adaptation in the Ordos region in 5-4 ka (grant no. 41571190 awarded to Jianxin Cui and Zhouyong Sun); 2. Regional settlement patterns and populations in the origins of Chinese civilization (grant no. 2013BAK08B05 awarded to Zhouyong Sun); and 3. Radiocarbon dating project (grant no. 2013BAK08B01 awarded to Xiaohong Wu). It was also supported by the Chinese Post-Doctoral Research Grant (grant no. 2015M572518 awarded to Zhouyong Sun), and the Min Kwaan Chinese Archaeology Fund from Stanford University. We thank Arlen Heginbotham of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation Department) and Dr. Marc Walton and Dr. Monica Ganio of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts for providing the copper alloy reference standards used to create the custom pXRF calibration. We also thank Dr. Thomas Bartlett for editing an early version of this paper.