Home > Chinese Culture > History > Prehistoric Times > Longshan Culture

Longshan Culture

Ask Question

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

The distribution of the Longshan Culture is located mainly in Shandong, Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces. First discovered at Longshan town of Zhangqiu City in Shandong Province, it was considered as a later development of the Yangshao Culture. Its influence mainly spread out in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River about 4,350 to 3,950 years ago. It was a period when the stone and bronze tools were in application and was the peak time of China's pottery-making history. 

The distinctive feature of the Longshan culture was the high level of skill in pottery making, including the use of pottery wheels. It 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 Yangtze 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 period 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. People went hunting and fishing and the domesticated animals included pig, dog and ox. Stone tools such as axes and knives were used during that time. Bone necklaces and bracelets also appeared. 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 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.

Since the discovery of the Longshan Culture site, the archeologists gradually found the cultural remains during the same period in Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Hubei. According to their different features, they were respectively named Henan Longshan Culture, Shaanxi Longshan Culture, Hubei Shijiahe Culture and Shanxi Taosi Culture. One of the most important features of this period's culture is the discovery of city site. For example, in Shandong Province, besides the well-known Chengziya Archaeological Site, there are another eight city sites in Yanggu, Dong'e, Shiping and Linzi counties; in Henan Province there are Huaiyang Pingliangtai Site, Dengfeng Wangchenggang Site, Yancheng Haojiatai Site and Huixian Mengzhuang Site.
 More Culture of the Prehistoric Times: Yangshao Culture 

Ask a Question about Longshan Culture
Back Go Top