Ancient China for Kids
Archaeologists believe the Xia Dynasty (sometimes called the Hsia Dynasty) began around the year 2,000 BCE, about 4,000 years ago. Legend says this dynasty was founded by the best engineer from the Lungshan people, who settled along the Huang He River a thousand years earlier.
Our knowledge of people during Xia times comes from ancient stories and the ruins of villages. Archaeologists have found no written records so far.
From what scientists can tell, these early people were very advanced for their time. They worked together and used a system of irrigation to water the fields. They baked bricks in ovens for strong building materials. The floors of their huts were plaster instead of earth. They used a potters wheel to make vases and pots. And they made beautiful, colorfully dyed and designed woven fabrics, made from silk!
The people were deeply religious. They believed in the gods of nature, like the river god, the rain god, and the earth god. They believed in a great many gods, but the most powerful god was the sky god, T'ien, the king of all the gods, a god more powerful than any earthbound king.
In Xia times, peasants celebrated the Spring Festival. The Spring Festival was a time to worship the gods of agriculture. They wanted their crops to grow. They also wanted their friends and families to grow.
Several villages would gather for the Festival. This is when young boys and girls met sometime for the first time, and found husbands and wives. Girls got married at about 15. Boys also married when they were about 15, or a little older.