by Meagan Phelan
Scientists have uncovered the first geological evidence for China’s “Great Flood,” an event marked in legend as the start of China’s first dynasty and the rise of its founding emperor.
The results, reported in the 5 August issue of Science, date the flood at 1920 B.C., several centuries later than suspected. This new timeline suggests that China’s first dynasty, Xia — as well as its founding Emperor Yu, famous for controlling the flood — also had a later start.
“The story of Yu taming the Great Flood is also the story of the beginnings of Chinese civilization,” said co-author David Cohen, assistant professor in the department of anthropology at National Taiwan University. “Yu’s control of the chaotic flood waters brought order to the lands, legend says, separating what would become a civilized Chinese center from the wild peripheries. This defined a people, as well as the social and political order in which they should live. It is central to Chinese identity and known by everyone there, just as Westerners know the story of Noah’s flood.” Continue reading First Geological Evidence for China’s [Da Yu’s] “Great Flood” Uncovered