Sites & cities that bear the name of Liangzhu


Today in : China
First trace of activity : ca. 3,400 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 24th century B.C.E
Recorded names : Mojiaoshan, Yaoshan

Description : The Liangzhu culture (/ˈljɑːŋˈdʒuː/; 3400–2250 BC) was the last Neolithic jade culture in the Yangtze River Delta of China. The culture was highly stratified, as jade, silk, ivory and lacquer artifacts were found exclusively in elite burials, while pottery was more commonly found in the burial plots of poorer individuals. This division of class indicates that the Liangzhu period was an early state, symbolized by the clear distinction drawn between social classes in funeral structures. A pan-regional urban center had emerged at the Liangzhu city-site and elite groups from this site presided over the local centers. The Liangzhu culture was extremely influential and its sphere of influence reached as far north as Shanxi and as far south as Guangdong. The primary Liangzhu site was perhaps among the oldest Neolithic sites in East Asia that would be considered a state society. The type site at Liangzhu was discovered in Yuhang County, Zhejiang and initially excavated by Shi Xingeng in 1936. A 2007 analysis of the DNA recovered from human remains shows high frequencies of Haplogroup O1 in Liangzhu culture linking this culture to modern Austronesian and Tai-Kadai populations. It is believed that the Liangzhu culture or other associated subtraditions are the ancestral homeland of Austronesian speakers. On 6 July 2019, Liangzhu was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Liangzhu Ancient City is located in a wetland environment on the plain of river networks between Daxiong Mountain and Dazhe Mountain of the Tianmu Mountain Range. This ancient city is said to be the largest city during this time period. Its interior area is 290 hectares, surrounded by clay walls which had six city gates. Two gates were located in the north, east and south walls. At its center was a palace site that spanned 30 hectares and there was also evidence of an artificial flood protection design implemented within the city. Both of these constructions are said to be indicators of the social complexity developing in Liangzhu at the time. A granary may have been in place containing up to 15,000 kg of rice grain. There are numerous waterway entrances both inside and outside of the city, linking it to the river networks. Inside the city were artificial earth mounds and natural hills. Outside of the walled area, remains are found for 700 hectares, the residences are said to be built in an urban planning system. 8 kilometers to the north various dam-like sites were found and are speculated to be an ancient flood protection system. Also discovered inside and outside the city are a large number of utensils for production, living, military and ritual purposes represented by numerous delicate Liangzhu jade wares of cultural profoundness; the remains including city walls, foundations of large structures, tombs, altars, residences, docks and workshops. The Liangzhu city-site is said to have been settled and developed with a specific purpose in mind since this area has very few remains that can be traced back to earlier periods.

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