The Shang dynasty () or Yin dynasty (), according to traditional historiography, ruled in the Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the ''Book of Documents'', ''Bamboo Annals'' and ''Records of the Grand Historian''. According to the traditional chronology based upon calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the "current text" of ''Bamboo Annals'', they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC.
Archaeological work at the Ruins of Yin (near modern-day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered eleven major Yin royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been obtained.
The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones.
More than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, and over four times as many have been found since. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.
Many events concerning the Shang dynasty are mentioned in various Chinese classics, including the ''Book of Documents'', the ''Mencius'' and the ''Zuo Zhuan''. Working from all the available documents, the Han dynasty historian Sima Qian assembled a sequential account of the Shang dynasty as part of his ''Records of the Grand Historian''. His history describes some events in detail, while in other cases only the name of a king is given. A closely related, but slightly different, account is given by the ''Bamboo Annals''. The ''Annals'' were interred in 296 BC, but the text has a complex history and the authenticity of the surviving versions is controversial.
The name ''Yīn'' (殷) is used by Sima Qian for the dynasty, and in the "current text" version of the ''Bamboo Annals'' for both the dynasty and its final capital. It has been a popular name for the Shang throughout history. Since the ''Records of Emperors and Kings'' by Huangfu Mi (3rd century AD), it has often been used specifically to describe the later half of the Shang dynasty. In Japan and Korea, the Shang are still referred to almost exclusively as the Yin (''In'') dynasty. However it seems to have been a Zhou name for the earlier dynasty.
The word does not appear in the oracle bones, which refer to the state as ''Shāng'' (商), and the capital as ''Dàyì Shāng'' (大邑商 "Great Settlement Shang").
It also does not appear in securely-dated Western Zhou bronze inscriptions.
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