In this volume, researchers on three continents join forces to offer a concise but scholarly overview of the foundation of Chinese civilization. The pace of progress in the study of early China has been especially brisk since the reawakening of Chinese academic life at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Mostly because of new discoveries – though new approaches and methodologies have also played a role – what once might have seemed the dustiest and least controversial branch of Chinese studies has recently become one of the most vibrant. The concomitant reemergence of China as one of the world’s leading powers has also engendered considerable interest in the story of its genesis, with diverse viewpoints and values at stake. All of these trends are discussed in the pages that follow.