Prehistory of China

Pre-historical phase of china’s history is divided into following sections or say sub-phases:


More than a million years ago, the land that is now known as china was inhabited by Homo erectus. This fact has been proven since the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site were dated as 1.36 million years old. There is an archaeological site located near the outskirts of Xihoudu in Shanxi Province. It is found that the earliest use of fire by those Homo erectus was done at that very same place. It was around 1.27 million years ago. Some early proves were also found at excavations located at Yuanmou and Lantian. Hunan is a famous city of Dao county that has an ancient cave named Fuyan cave. A 125000 to 80000 BC fossilized tooth of Homo sapiens was found in that Fuyan cave.


The Neolithic age of china is said to be outlast back into 10000 BC. Around 7000 BC old, agricultural proofs were found. It is founds that Yangtze River and surrounding areas were agricultural sites for rice around 8000 years ago. Rise was a main agricultural product for Jiahu culture that was active during the time span of 6000 to 5000 BC. This agriculture took many aspects into concern. These aspects are described in pictographs discovered at Dadiwan in Ningxia. Most of them were sun, moon, god, stars, scenes of hunting and grazing etc. All this was written in pictographic literature. Many characters of these pictographs were similar to modern Chinese characters. These pictographs are said to have more than 8455 different characters. Jiahu, Banpo and Dadiwan were the only civilization that has Chinese proto-writing techniques. Some scholars have managed to figure out that Jiahu were the first one to discover such techniques. This writing technique is considered the earliest Chinese writing system. There is a Peiligang culture site in Xinzheng country located in Henan. In excavation of this site was found that there used to be a community that lost its existence somewhere between 5500 BC and 4900 BC. Evidence of agriculture, construction, pottery and burial of dead was found. Development in agriculture and increasing population motivated Chinese to develop the ability to redistribute and store corps for long time without affecting their quality majorly. This also developed the potential to support artisans and administrators among people of that era.

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During late Neolithic period, Yellow river valley became center of Yangshao culture. Agriculture of these people was the most advanced agriculture of that era. Almost every second villager of that culture was associated with agriculture directly or indirectly (being involved in related activities). Yangshao culture enjoyed their existence during 5000 and 3000 BC. They were later superseded by Longshan culture that existed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.

Bronze Age:

There have been multiple evidences found indicating that Chinese history witnessed a glorifying bronze age. Bronze artifacts found at Majiayao cultural site are one of these evidences. Majiayao Culture was there for almost a half decade during 3100 BC and 2700 BC. Not only here, ancient northeastern china is said to have also witnessed Bronze Age. Lower Xiajiadian Culture existed between 2200 BC and 1600 BC. This culture also represents the Bronze Age of China.

Would you like to read more about this topic? This book might interest you: History of China.