Salt Production and Social Hierarchy in Ancient China

Salt Production and Social Hierarchy in Ancient China

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Rowan K. Flad
Cambridge University Press
Edition: First Edition. Hardback., 7/31/2011
EAN 9781107009417, ISBN10: 1107009413

Hardcover, 300 pages, 23.6 x 15.9 x 2.1 cm
Language: English

This book examines the organization of specialized salt production at Zhongba, one of the most important prehistoric sites in the Three Gorges of China's Yangzi River valley. Rowan K. Flad demonstrates that salt production emerged in the second millennium BCE and developed into a large-scale, intense activity. As the intensity of this activity increased during the early Bronze Age, production became more coordinated, perhaps by an emergent elite who appear to have supported their position of authority by means of divination and the control of ritual knowledge. This study explores evidence of these changes in ceramics, the layout of space at the site and animal remains. It synthesizes the data retrieved from years of excavation, showing not only the evolution of production methods, but also the emergence of social hierarchy in the Three Gorges region over two millennia.

1. Introduction
2. The organization of ancient salt production in Sichuan
3. Ancient salt production in Sichuan
4. The Zhongba site
5. Ceramic evidence
6. Parameters of production according to ceramics
7. Features and spatiality
8. Animal remains and divination
9. Conclusions and implications

"Flad’s insightful study, including a thoughtful review of ethnohistoric data and material remains from other areas of the ancient world where salt was produced, will be an inspiration for other research projects on salt production." -Anne P. Underhill, Current Anthropology