Pottery Production and Social Complexity on the Chengdu Plain,Sichuan, China, 2500 to 800 BC
The goal of this research has been to examine potential changes in pottery production between 2500 and 800 BC on the Chengdu Plain of Sichuan, China, with a central focus on any relationships that might have existed between organization of pottery production and degree of social complexity. The evolutionary model of pottery production outlined by Rice (1981) is tested against archaeological data from the Chengdu Plain, covering pottery manufacturing technology and fabric composition, combined
... osition, combined with a usage of metric indices to investigate degrees of standardization. In this research, the most commonly accepted chronology for the Chengdu Plain between 2500 and 800 BC is first reviewed. Through an analysis of available radiocarbon dates, archaeological stratigraphies, and the contrasting distributions of the Sanxingdui and Shierqiao assemblages, I have suggested that the Baodun culture existed between 2500 and 2000 BC, and was succeeded in parallel by the Sanxingdui and Shierqiao cultures in the 2nd millennium BC. This research also gives an introduction to significant sites on the plain and reviews past archaeological research. Problems with the relative and absolute dates of some sites are analysed. One of my conclusions is that the Bronze Age commenced on the Chengdu Plain between ca. 1100 and 950 BC, rather than during the earlier part of the 2nd millennium BC. By synthesizing anthropological theories on the formations of social inequality and states, combined with an analysis of mortuary data and available protohistorical accounts, I propose an evolutionary model for the development of those societies that inhabited the prehistoric Chengdu Plain.