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Wucheng culture


Wucheng culture

Wucheng culture is located in China
Location in China
Location China
Region Jiangxi
Periods Early Bronze Age

The Wucheng culture (吳城文化) was a Bronze Age archaeological culture in Jiangxi, China. The initial site, spread out over 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi), was discovered at Wucheng, Zhangshu. Located on the Gan River, the site was first excavated in 1973. The Wucheng culture probably developed in response to cultural contacts with the expanding Erligang culture, melding Erligang influences with local traditions. The Wucheng culture was a distinct contemporary of Sanxingdui and Yinxu (Anyang).

The site at Wucheng was a regional protoporcelain production center; the culture is known for its distinctive geometric pottery. The Wucheng culture is also known for its bronze bells, the clapperless nao. The Wucheng site at Xin'gan contained a rich cache of localized bronze vessels.

The earliest period, around 1600 BCE, contemporaneous with late Erligang, yielded pottery shards with inscribed symbols. These are unusual among pre-Anyang inscriptions in China in containing sequences of graphs; shards were found with horizontal sequences of 12, 7, 5 and 4 graphs, suggesting that they may be a form of writing, but quite different in form from oracle bone characters. However the corpus, comprising a total of 39 graphs, is too small for decipherment.[1][2][3]

Some of these symbols are similar to Shang writing. Around 120 inscriptions have been found altogether.[4]

The site at Wucheng may have played a role in the decline of Panlongcheng. Both sites appeared to have served as regional, competing centers for transporting resources from the south to the North China Plain. Towards the end of the Erligang culture, Wucheng began to grow significantly, while Panlongcheng declined sharply.


  1. ^ Wilkinson, Endymion (2000). Chinese history: a manual (2nd ed.). Harvard Univ Asia Center. p. 382.  
  2. ^ Wagner, Donald B. (1993). Iron and Steel in Ancient China. BRILL. p. 20.  
  3. ^ Cheung, Kwong-yue (1983). "Recent archaeological evidence relating to the origin of Chinese characters". In Keightley, David N.; Barnard, Noel. The Origins of Chinese Civilization. trans. Noel Barnard. University of California Press. pp. 323–391.  
  4. ^ Li Liu, Xingcan Chen, .The Archaeology of China: From the Late Paleolithic to the Early Bronze Age Cambridge World Archaeology, 2012 ISBN 0521643104 p368
  • Bagley, Robert (1999). "Shang archaeology". In Loewe, Michael; Shaughnessy, Edward L.  
  • Liu, Li; Chen, Xingcan (2003). State Formation in Early China. Duckworth.  
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