What advances were made by these ancient cultures-the Yanshoa, the Longshan, the Xia,the Shang, and the Zhou?  

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Since this question asks to discuss over 5,000 years of Chinese history, it is going to be difficult to discuss any one of the periods at great length. The Yan Shao civilization was during the neolithic period and the people practiced advanced farming methods during this time, relying mostly on millet. There is evidence of the beginnings of rice farming during the period. The Yan Shao improved farming technologies including the use of the grinding stone for the production of flour. The Yan Shao also developed early pottery and there is evidence of silk and hemp production as well.

The Longshan culture saw the introduction of copper and increased domestication of animals. New tools were fashioned including a type of drill and more advanced shovels. Pottery production became more efficient. There is early evidence of oracle bones that would become prominent during the Shang period. The Longshan period saw the establishment of early social structures in China.

The first Chinese dynasty was the Xia Dynasty. They were the first to use irrigation for farming. The Xia also introduced the use of bronze to China, which helped it to create a very strong army. The Shang Dynasty continued the mastery of bronze to create more sophisticated implements. The Shang is credited with the development of writing in China and were the first record keepers. In addition to the horse-drawn chariot, the Shang also developed a decimal system and 12-month calendar.

The Zhou dynasty introduced the utilization of iron in China. This had a profound effect on warfare and agriculture. They improved government by utilizing Confucian ideals and the social system was changed to enhance the position of scholars. The Zhou were known to produce glass and to create objects that included gold and silver. The Zhou are also credited with creating the first geographical maps and for discovering magnetism.

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