Recent archaeological discoveries, including manuscripts, have shed new light on China's history, in particular Qin and Han (221 BCE-220 CE), this volume's main focus. They make possible a deeper account of the growth of cities and of the spread of Chinese influence over distant areas. This book provides the first comprehensive survey of recent developments, evaluating the newly-found evidence in the light of earlier conclusions from China, Japan, Europe and America. Through cross-cultural comparisons and a close study of both the excavated and received literature, new conclusions are presented with respect to relatively understudied topics, such as gender, history of science, and modes of persuasion, while challenging the 'common wisdom' in such fields as Buddhism, Daoism and social history. Thus the volume provides a supplement to Volume 1 of The Cambridge History of China (1986) and shows how subsequent archaeology has enriched our perception of China's history in this period.
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