List of Neolithic cultures of China

The Neolithic
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Boian culture
Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
Linear Pottery Culture
Malta Temples
Sesklo Culture
Varna culture
Vinča culture
Vučedol culture
South Asia

farming, animal husbandry
pottery, metallurgy, wheel
circular ditches, henges, megaliths
Neolithic religion


This is a list of Neolithic cultures of China that have been discovered by archaeologists. They are sorted in chronological order from the earliest founding to the latest and are followed by a schematic visualization of these cultures.


List of Neolithic cultures of China

Dated English name Chinese name Modern-day location
7500 BCE – 6100 BCE Pengtoushan culture 彭頭山文化 central Yangtze River region in northwestern Hunan
7000 BCE – 5000 BCE Peiligang culture 裴李崗文化 Yi-Luo river basin valley in Henan
6500 BCE – 5500 BCE Houli culture 后李文化 Shandong
6200 BCE – 5400 BCE Xinglongwa culture 興隆洼文化 Inner Mongolia-Liaoning border
6000 BCE – 5500 BCE Cishan culture 磁山文化 southern Hebei
5800 BCE – 5400 BCE Dadiwan culture 大地灣文化 Gansu and western Shaanxi
5500 BCE – 4800 BCE Xinle culture 新樂文化 lower Liao River on the Liaodong Peninsula
5400 BCE – 4500 BCE Zhaobaogou culture 趙宝溝文化 Luan River valley in Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei
5300 BCE – 4100 BCE Beixin culture 北辛文化 Shandong
5000 BCE – 4500 BCE Hemudu culture 河姆渡文化 Yuyao and Zhoushan, Zhejiang
5000 BCE – 3000 BCE Daxi culture 大溪文化 Three Gorges region
5000 BCE – 3000 BCE Majiabang culture 馬家浜文化 Taihu Lake area and north of Hangzhou Bay
5000 BCE – 3000 BCE Yangshao culture 仰韶文化 Henan, Shaanxi, and Shanxi
4700 BCE – 2900 BCE Hongshan culture 紅山文化 Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, and Hebei
4100 BCE – 2600 BCE Dawenkou culture 大汶口文化 Shandong, Anhui, Henan, and Jiangsu
3400 BCE – 2250 BCE Liangzhu culture 良渚文化 Yangtze River Delta
3100 BCE – 2700 BCE Majiayao culture 馬家窯文化 upper Yellow River region in Gansu and Qinghai
3100 BCE – 2700 BCE Qujialing culture 屈家嶺文化 middle Yangtze River region in Hubei and Hunan
3000 BCE – 2000 BCE Longshan culture 龍山文化 central and lower Yellow River
2800 BCE – 2000 BCE Baodun culture 寶墩文化 Chengdu Plain
2500 BCE – 2000 BCE Shijiahe culture 石家河文化 middle Yangtze River region in Hubei
2100 BCE – 1500 BCE Erlitou culture 二里頭文化 Yanshi, Henan Province

Schematic outline

These cultures are brought together schematically for the period 8500 to 1500 BCE. Neolithic cultures remain unmarked and Bronze Age cultures (from 2000 BCE) are marked with *. There are many differences in opinion by dating these cultures, so the dates chosen here are tentative:

Yellow River
Sichuan (7) Southeast
8500     Nanzhuangtou            
7000           Pengtoushan   Corded Ware  
          (including   cultures  
          Chengbeixi   (including  
6500   Dadiwan Peiligang Houli   and Zaoshi)   Zengpiyan)  
Xinglongwa Laoguantai Cishan 6500-5500   7000-5800   7000-5500  
6200-5400 = Baijia Jiahu            
6000   6500-5000 Lijiacun   Kuahuqiao        
    6500-5000   6000-5000        
Xinle     5300-4500          
5000 5300-4800 Yangshao     Hemudu Daxi   Dapenkeng  
  5000-3000     5000-3400 5000-3300   Fuguodun  
        Majiabang     5000-3000  
4500 Zhaobaogou       5000-4000        
4500-4000     Dawenkou Songze        
      4300-2600 4000-3000        
3500           Qujialing      
Hongshan         3500-2600 Yingpanshan    
(incl. Fuhe) Majiayao     Liangzhu   ca 3100?    
3000 3400-2300 3300-2700     3200-1800     Tanishan  
  Banshan *Henan-     Shijiahe Baodun Shixia  
  2700-2400 Longshan *Shandong-   2500-2000 2800-2000 Nianyuzhuan  
2500   Machang 2800-2000 Longshan   Qinglongquan   Qinglongquan  
  2400-2000   2600-2000   = (Hubei-   Hedang Baiyangcun
  *Qijia       Longshan)   3000-.... 2200-2100
2000 *Xiajiadian 2300-1800       2400-2000     Dalongtan
2000-300   *Erlitou *Yueshi         2100-2000
  *Siba 1900-1500 1900-1500 *Maqiao        
1500   1950-1500 Xia
  1800-1200 *Chang Jiang
from 1500    

For this schematic outline of its neolithic cultures China has been divided into the following nine parts:

  1. Northeast China: Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.
  2. Northwest China (Upper Yellow River): Gansu, Qinghai and western part of Shaanxi.
  3. North-central China (Middle Yellow River): Shanxi, Hebei, western part of Henan and eastern part of Shaanxi. This is called the North China Plain, until recently seen as where Chinese civilization originated from and spread out along the country.
  4. Eastern China (lower Yellow River): Shandong, Anhui, northern part of Jiangsu and eastern part Henan.
  5. East-south-eastern China (lower Yangtze): Zhejiang and biggest part of Jiangsu.
  6. South-central China (middle Yangtze): Hubei and northern part of Hunan.
  7. Sichuan and upper Yangtze.
  8. Southeast China: Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, southern part of Hunan, lower Red River in the northern part of Vietnam and the island of Taiwan.
  9. Southwest China: Yunnan and Guizhou.
map of the Chinese Neolithic


  • Chang Kwang-chih, The Archaeology of Ancient China, Yale University Press: New Haven, 1986 (Fourth Edition Revised and Enlarged), ISBN 0-300-03784-8.
  • Loewe, Michael en Edward L. Shaughnessy (ed.), The Cambridge History of Ancient China. From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C., Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1999, ISBN 0-521-47030-7.
  • Higham, Charles, The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1996, ISBN 0-521-49660-8.
  • Li Liu,The Chinese Neolithic. Trajectories to Early States, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 2004, ISBN 0-521-81184-8.
  • Maisels, Charles Keith, Early Civilizations of the Old World. The Formative Histories of Egypt, The Levant, Mesopotamia, India and China, Routledge: Londen 1999, ISBN 0-415-10976-0.
  • Scarre, Chris (ed.), The Human Past. World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies, Thames & Hudson: Londen 2005, ISBN 0-500-28531-4.
chapter 7, Higham, Charles, 'East Asian Agriculture and Its Impact', p.234-264.
chapter 15,Higham, Charles, 'Complex Societies of East and Southeast Asia', p.552-594

See also

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