Social Complexity in Chinese Coastal Neolithic Sites

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Science  04 Sep 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4512, pp. 1078-1086
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4512.1078


Neolithic cemeteries in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Shandong provinces from about 5000 to 2000 B.C. show increases in the mean numbers of burial goods, goods found with males, and tools used as grave goods; separation of burial localities; differentiation of sets of tools found with males and females; a decrease in goods found with children; and common ornaments found with males and females. The distribution of tools seems to reflect a sexual division, with an increase in the prominence of males which may be associated with intensification of cultivation. Emergence of ranking is suggested by very rich graves and ornaments shared by males and females. Chinese theories of cultural evolution are introduced.