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Sanxingdui (China)


Human Statuary from Sanxingdui

Bronze figurines with gold masks from Sanxingdui, China

David Schroeter

The archaeological site of Sanxingdui, China is a Bronze Age site (circa 2800 to 800 B.C.) located in the town of Guanghan of Sichuan Province. The city was part of the Shu state and the center of the Neolithic Sanxingdui society.

Sanxingdui's city center included an area of about 360 hectares, surrounded by a network of walls and moats. Small occupations surrounded the center for an area of about 1200 ha. In the southern part of the city center were three connected oval mounds, each 10 meters high and covering an area of 400 meters long.

The artifact assemblage recovered from this site includes an enormous number of bronze, jade, gold, pottery and bone, discovered in ten caches. The two richest contained more than 1100 artifacts. Distinctive artifacts from Sanxingdui include bronzes in the Shang Dynasty style, and a local style of bronze and jade human sculptures with distinctive triangular eyes and big noses and ears.


This glossary entry is a part of the About.com guide to the Shang Dynasty and the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Lee YK. 2008. ASIA, EAST | Chinese Civilization In: Deborah MP, editor. Encyclopedia of Archaeology. New York: Academic Press. p 597-620.

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