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Abstract

The Late Neolithic (3000-2000 BCE) is characterized by the spread of the Longshan Culture Complex throughout the Huanghuai floodplain, covering all regions occupied by the earlier Yangshao and Dawenkou cultures. Definition of local Longshan phases is based primarily on minor stylistic differences in the pottery inventories of these regions, though such stylistic criteria are limited to external, decorative features of the pottery. At the heart of this inquiry is a concern to detail the development of a Longshan political culture within contemporary ceramic repertoires that reflected, and to some extent drove, the formation of an increasingly homogeneous sense of community. In order to shed light on the development of a political culture during the Late Neolithic, this research will investigate how ceramic aesthetic styles changed over time in relation to technical styles of manufacture by tracing changes in pottery assemblages across the basin. The beginning hypothesis of the work is that aesthetic styles became increasingly homogeneous during the Late Neolithic, even as technical styles remained relatively heterogeneous. As such, these data will indicate an increasingly regional and standardized understanding of how pottery should look, trending toward homogeneity, but continuity in local understandings of how pottery should be made, remaining heterogeneous in their production.

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