The Shang Dynasty has attracted much archaeological research, particularly the renowned 'royal tombs' of the Xibeigang cemetery at Anyang Yinxu, the last Shang capital. Understanding of the social strategies informing Shang mortuary practices is, however, very limited. A new reconstruction of the detailed chronology of the cemetery is presented here, allowing social theory to be applied, and reveals the strategic social decisions behind the placement of the tombs in relation to each other. The results of this analysis are important not only for the reconstruction of the social structure and organisation of the late Shang dynasty, but also for understanding the relationship between mortuary practices and the functioning of early states in other regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities(all)