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Defining the Archaeological Cultures at the Sanxingdui Site

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The Sanxingdui site is a Neolithic and early Bronze Age site in the Chengdu Plain in Sichuan Province, southwest China. Over the years, as archaeological fieldwork at the site has progressed, the understanding of the site and its culture has changed gradually. This article discusses the stratigraphy, pottery typology, periodization, and absolute dating of Sanxingdui, aiming to evaluate major periodization schemes and different definitions of the Sanxingdui Culture, which the site typifies. It is argued that the Sanxingdui Culture encompasses Phase II through Phase IV of the four-phase periodization scheme for the Sanxingdui site and that the earliest remains at the Shi'erqiao site in nearby Chengdu, contemporary with the Phase IV remains at Sanxingdui, should be included in the spatial and temporal dimensions of the Sanxingdui Culture.

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