Emperor Yu's Great Flood

See allHide authors and affiliations

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

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


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.