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The Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project Excavations of the Proto-Zhou Culture in Fengxi, Shaanxi

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image of Journal of East Asian Archaeology

The Fengxi area in Chang'an County, Shaanxi, is said to be where King Wen of the Zhou built the capital Fengjing. Archaeological survey and excavation indicate that this area is densely covered with rich sites of the Western Zhou period. Nevertheless, for a long time archaeologists could not identify any Proto-Zhou deposits. The 1967 excavation at Fengxi yielded several burials furnished with high-collared pouch-legged pottery li -vessels, as well as weapons of the Late Shang style. These burials were soon dated to the pre-dynastic Zhou, or Proto-Zhou, era. In 1997, as part of the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project, more excavations were carried out at Fengxi, revealing features with an important set of stratigraphic relationships related to the issue of the location of the Proto-Zhou Culture. A late Proto-Zhou "ash pit" was superimposed by early Western Zhou cultural layers. A systematic study of the radiocarbon dates derived from the different levels of the pit and related features and cultural levels indicates that the date of the Zhou conquest of the Shang should be bracketed between 1050 BC and 1020 BC.


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