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Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 203–239 | Cite as

Recent Developments in the Archaeology of Southwestern China

  • Alice Yao
Article

Abstract

Archaeology of ancient China’s periphery has traditionally been examined through the historiographic lens of Chinese textual sources. Social developments in the periphery are often explained in relation to accounts of migration from “core” regions of China. Setting conventional paradigms and textual sources aside, this article examines prehistoric developments in southwestern China in conjunction with broader trends in Southeast Asia. This comparative approach reveals that the development of bronze metallurgy in southwestern China parallels trends observed among Neolithic communities in Southeast Asia. Using recent data and a reassessment of radiocarbon dates for the Bronze Age, I propose that sociopolitical complexity emerged in southwestern China as part of a multiregional phenomenon that had its beginning with the formalization of trade networks during the Neolithic period.

Keywords

China Neolithic Bronze Age Dian culture Southeast Asia Dong Son culture 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Gary Feinman, Linda Nicholas, Carla Sinopoli, and five anonymous reviewers for providing insightful comments on the article. In addition, I thank Chiou Tzehuey for sharing her bibliographic resources, making available Chinese publications that cannot be accessed in the West, and Vivian Lee for assistance with the illustrations. The shortcomings of the article, however, remain my own.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Toronto, MississaugaMississaugaCanada

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