Earliest hydraulic enterprise in China, 5,100 years ago.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Dec 04;:
Authors: Liu B, Wang N, Chen M, Wu X, Mo D, Liu J, Xu S, Zhuang Y
Here we present one of the world's oldest examples of large-scale and formalized water management, in the case of the Liangzhu culture of the Yangtze Delta, dated at 5,300-4,300 years cal B.P. The Liangzhu culture represented a peak of early cultural and social development predating the historically recorded Chinese dynasties; hence, this study reveals more about the ancient origins of hydraulic engineering as a core element of social, political, and economic developments. Archaeological surveys and excavations can now portray the impressive extent and structure of dams, levees, ditches, and other landscape-transforming features, supporting the ancient city of Liangzhu, with an estimated size of about 300 ha. The results indicate an enormous collective undertaking, with unprecedented evidence for understanding how the city, economy, and society of Liangzhu functioned and developed at such a large scale. Concurrent with the evidence of technological achievements and economic success, a unique relationship between ritual order and social power is seen in the renowned jade objects in Liangzhu elite burials, thus expanding our view beyond the practicalities of water management and rice farming.
PMID: 29203672 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]