Yangshao Culture, distributed mainly in the Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, southern Hebei and eastern Gansu Provinces, is a culture belonging to the late Neolithic Age (2900 BC to 2100 BC). Extant from 5,000 BC to 3,000 BC, its name is derived from the first-known Yangshao Culture site - Yangshao Village in Yinchi County, Henan Province.
The famous three-layered cultural sites were discovered at Hougang, Gaolouzhuang, in Anyang, Henan Province. The Yangshao Culture site was unearthed at the bottom layer, the Longshan site in the middle and the Xiaotun site (belonging to the Shang civilization era) at the top, allowing archeologists to determine the date of Yangshao Culture and its relationship with Longshan Culture.
Nearly a thousand sites representing Yangshao Culture have been discovered over the Central Shaanxi Plain, mostly in Henan Province, the south of Shanxi Province, the north of Hebei Province, and up to Gansu Province, Qinghai Province and the Great Bend of the Yellow River. As Shanxi possesses the most Yangshao Culture sites, such as the Banpo Site in Xi’an and Jiangzhai at Lintong County, it is regarded as the center of this culture.
Yangshao Culture gives priority to agriculture. The sites show that crops cultivated during the Yangshao Culture period were dry crops, mainly millet and broomcorn millet, hence the name “Millet Culture.” Livestock included pigs, dogs, chickens and oxen. Refined stone shovels (to turn over earth), legged sickles (to harvest crops), stone hammers, stone adzes, fishing lances, fishing hooks, net hanging objects, bows and arrows and stone balls were also in use at this time. The stone shovels and legged sickles of the late period were thin and polished all over. Arrowheads were made of bones, stones and horns and one type of arrowhead had inverted spikes, which made for a very effective killing tool.
Yangshao Culture also saw the introduction of primitive spinning and weaving, with mat patterns and cloth patterns used to decorate pottery artefacts. Bone awls, bone needles, spinning tools and weaving tools have also been discovered. Most of the spinning wheels are made of pottery, and the rest are made of stone.