Dividing and Combining

Reflections on the Naming of Sanxingdui Culture


2023-02-22 01:56

Xu Hong
Sichuan Cultural Relics

Abstract: For a long time, the naming of the Sanxingdui site in Guanghan, Sichuan Province,  as  well  as  the  naming  of  the  Sanxingdui  Culture  and  other  related  cultural  remains, has been the subject of many controversies in Chinese academia. From the initial classification as one cultural type to the subsequent division into two to four archaeological cultures, the remains of  the  pre-Qin  period  at  the  site  of  Sanxingdui  have  undergone  a  process  of  integration  and recognition. Based on a systematic overview of the research history, the author re-examines the relevant archaeological periodization and genealogical studies from the perspective of identifying the "Bronze Age." The main argument is that the early remains of the Sanxingdui Culture belong to the Neolithic but not the Bronze Age. The eight artifact pits in the ritual area of the Sanxingdui site are the earliest known remains of the Bronze Age in the Chengdu Plain, which, according to current knowledge, are dated no earlier than 3200 years ago. Therefore, the proposal of isolating the  early  remains  of  the  original  Sanxingdui  Culture  as  an  independent  archaeological  culture, the "Yueliangwan Culture," is appropriate. In addition, it can be argued that the artifact pits at the ritual area of Sanxingdui site that were originally classified as the Sanxingdui Culture, along with the remains of the ritual area at the Jinsha site in Chengdu, Sichuan Province that were originally classified  as  the  Shierqiao  Culture,  are  successive  and  possess  the  same  knowledge  system  and value  system.  Therefore,  it  is  reasonable  to  consider  it  the  earliest  bronze  civilization  in  the Chengdu Plain and thus name it as "Sanxingdui-Jinsha Culture." 

Key Words:Sanxingdui site, Sanxingdui Culture, The naming of archaeological culture, Bronze Age, Chengdu Plain

The Chinese version appeared in Sichuan Cultural Relics ,(06),2022.



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