ca. late 3rd-early 2nd mill. BC.
Lung-shan is usually regarded as the second great Neolithic culture in China. It takes its name from the place in Shantung province where archetypal pottery was discovered in the early 1930s. In fact, the culture was wide-spread in the eastern coastal region of China from Shantung to Chekiang, and later spread to the central and western areas that had been bases for the Yangshao culture. These areas later became the Shang heartlands where the capitals Ao and Yin (in present day Henan) were located. For such reasons, lung-shan culture has been associated with the missing Xia dynasty, and Erlitou, one of the lung-shan sites, posited as a possible Xia capital In this scenario, the Xia dynasty was replaced in this region by the bronze culture of Shang. Similarities between certain lung-shan pottery forms and Shang bronzes support this view.
Pottery: Mostly there is a coarse gray ware, but at site in Shantung, very fine black pottery spun on a fast wheel has been found. The shapes of some of these pots seem to foreshadow the elaborate bronzeware of the Shang period.
lung-shan pottery is quite distinct from the earlier Yangshao products. The painted decoration of Yang-shao is replaced by undecorated wares, but in a greater variety of more elaborate shapes. Pottery typically associated with lung-shan is black, burnished, thin-walled 'eggshell' ware produced on a high-speed wheel. In fact, much lung-shan ware does not fall into this category, but this type, including long-stemmed cups with pierced fretwork decoration weighing just one or two ounces, represents the pinnacle of technical achievement by lung-shan potters. This is true in both the throwing and firing of the pots. They required a wheel rotating at a high and uniform speed, and a firing process that ensured the delicate unfired clay remained undamaged while it was hardening. We can infer from this a greater degree of specialisation in lung-shan society with at least some professional potters replacing the part-time potters of Yangshao. The distribution of these cups in certain more elaborate graves suggests both greater social stratification and the use of libation rituals as part of the burial ceremony. Extensive provision of grave goods, particularly pottery and jade, in lung-shan graves, is part of an enduring tradition in Chinese culture.