Civilization in ancient China began over 11,000 years ago. That's a lot of time! The study of ancient China is broken up into big blocks of time to help make the study of ancient China a lot easier.
What's confusing is that people refer to the same block of time by different names. Someone might say "in Tang times" or in "T'ang times" or in "the Golden Age". But they're all the same block of time. They might say in the Chou Dynasty (when the Chou family ruled) or in the Zhou Dynasty (when the Zhou family ruled). But, the Chou and Zhou Dynasties were the same dynasty, only spelled differently. They are both pronounced the same - it sounds like the "Joe" Dynasty.
The cheat sheet below provides a quick glance at the various chunks of time.
Ancient Chinese history is full of adventure and invention and dragons and superstitions and gods and goddesses and fascinating philosophies and some really weird holidays. We think you'll enjoy learning about the ancient Chinese!