PerspectiveAnthropology

Emperor Yu's Great Flood

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Science  05 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6299, pp. 538-539
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4040

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Summary

We know of the legendary Emperor Yu through the story of China's Great Flood, a tale already ancient when first recorded around 1000 BCE (1). On page 579 of this issue, Wu et al. offer a provocative new explanation for this story. They present evidence for an enormous landslide dam break 1922 ± 28 BCE (2) that coincided with the major cultural transition from the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age in China and that also helps explain curious details of Yu's story.