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The Shang Dynasty Topic Guide
From around 1600-1046 BCE, the Shang Dynasty ruled the area of modern-day China around the Yellow River valley. The Shang people made advances in areas such as weaponry and astronomy.

Their language was an early form of Chinese. Two number systems were used during the time of the Shang dynasty; one based on the number 10 and the other on the number 12.

Teach your children about the Shang Dynasty using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

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Resources

Shang Dynasty Facts

  • The Shang Dynasty is the first dynasty to rule China that has left written records.
  • Cowrie shells were used as money during the Shang Dynasty.
  • The people of the Shang dynasty worshipped many gods. The supreme god was Shangti, also known as the Jade Emperor, or Yellow Emperor.
  • The Shang had a class system. The royal family were at the top, and slaves were at the bottom.
  • When important people were buried, their servants and animals were buried with them, to serve them in the afterlife.

Videos

Introducing the Shang Dynasty

This video is a good introduction to the period.

Running time: 4:20

The Rise & Fall of the Shang

This video for older primary children, explores the history of the dynasty.

Running time: 7:25

How the Shang Invented Writing

This video tells the story of writing in the Shang Dynasty.

Running time: 4:22

Tigers, dragons, and, monsters on a Shang Dynasty Ewer

An interesting close look at a Shang ewer and its significance.

Running time: 6:53

Books

The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China

A great overview of the era.

Shang Dynasty China

This information book explores the Shang through their artefacts.

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