Shang priests left some of the oldest writings on what materials?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The priests of the Shang Dynasty (c. 1800-1600 BC) had a method for predicting the future.  They would write a message on what is called an oracle bone.  The priests would then burn the bones and interpret the cracks on the bones.  The belief was that the gods would speak to the priests through the oracle bone.  They would also record China's history on the oracle bones.  Cattle bones and tortoise shells were utilized.  Although this was primarily a religious ceremony, the end result was the earliest writings that have been discovered from Ancient China.  

The Chinese priests also wrote some of the earliest Chinese characters on bronze objects in the tombs of the royal family.  In the legendary tomb of Fuhao, over four hundred bronze objects were found, many with writing.