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These Neolithic civilizations, known as the Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations, arose millennia ago.With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, Much of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy further developed during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC).The conventional view of Chinese history is that of alternating periods of political unity and disunity, with China occasionally being dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were in turn assimilated into the Han Chinese population.Cultural and political influences from other parts of Asia and the Western world, carried by successive waves of immigration, cultural assimilation, expansion, and foreign contact, form the basis of the modern culture of China.Early markings from this period found on pottery and shells are thought to be ancestral to modern Chinese characters.Archaeological findings providing evidence for the existence of the Shang dynasty, c. The first set, from the earlier Shang period, comes from sources at Erligang, Zhengzhou, and Shangcheng.In the 21 centuries from 206 BC until AD 1912, routine administrative tasks were handled by a special elite, the Scholar-officials ("Scholar-gentlemen").
Hence, as some scholars of China suggest, the Xia and the Shang can possibly refer to political entities that existed concurrently, just as the early Zhou is known to have existed at the same time as the Shang.
Excavation of a Peiligang culture site in Xinzheng county, Henan, found a community that flourished in 5,500 to 4,900 BC, with evidence of agriculture, constructed buildings, pottery, and burial of the dead.
In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a center of Yangshao culture (5000 BC to 3000 BC), and the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of these was found at Banpo, Xi'an.) site in northeast China.
The second set, from the later Shang or Yin (殷) period, is at Anyang, in modern-day Henan, which has been confirmed as the last of the Shang's nine capitals (c. The findings at Anyang include the earliest written record of Chinese past so far discovered: inscriptions of divination records in ancient Chinese writing on the bones or shells of animals — the so-called "oracle bones", dating from around 1500 BC.
The term Yin dynasty has been synonymous with the Shang dynasty in history, although it has lately been used to refer specifically to the latter half of the Shang dynasty.
Successive dynasties developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the emperor to control vast territories directly.