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Determining Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Through Astronomical Records in Historical Texts

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image of Journal of East Asian Archaeology

The exact dates of rare astronomical occurrences can be accurately computed, and therefore have significant implications on the chronological study of the Three Dynasties period of the Chinese Bronze Age. In the classical texts, conjunctions of the five planets are often correlated with important political events. Modern computation of the conjunctions indicates that there are discrepancies between the documented dates and the exact dates. These discrepancies are more likely to have been introduced through errors in the oral traditions than to have been intentionally fabricated by later hands. The five lunar eclipses in the Bin group oracle bone inscriptions of the late Shang are genuine records and can be used to fix the reigns of King Wuding and King Zugeng.


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