2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Just What Happened to the Liangchu Culture

Cho-yun Hsu

Department of History, University of Pittsburgh

This paper is an attempt to investigate into possible reasons for the disappearance of the Liangchu Culture which flourished in Southeast China some four thousand years ago. It is suggested that a complex Liangchu society came into being as a result of organizational efforts to conduct large-scale land-reclamation after the sea had receded. Liangchu tools and architectural structures for ceremonial use, clearly reflect characteristics of such an activity. After a flourishing period of some eight hundred years, large-scale reclamation of land was finally accomplished. Liangchu were thus no longer in need of a complex social structure. Simple village communities were now able to sustain without much difficulty. Earthen mounds of the Ma-chiao and the Hushou cultures are only a pale shadow of the elaborately constructed Liangchu high mounds. The collapse of the Liangchu culture seems to have been the dissolution of a decomposable system of a complex social structure. The bronze culture emerging somewhat later in the Southeast descends directly from local indigenous cultures such as these, since copper mining sites have recently been excavated in throughout the area of the Liangchu culture.


Key Words: Liangchu Culture, Machiao Culture, Hushou Culture, complexed society, nearly-decomposable system, Southeast Bronze Culture, Earthen Mounds Culture