"There's nothing in the world, from my vantage point, that is as monumental in terms of water management – or for that mater, any kind of management – that occurs so early in history," UC professor emeritus Vernon Scarborough told New Scientist.
Scarborough spent his career studying ancient civilizations around the world. He visited Liangzhu in 2017. He was struck by how the city had reshaped its floodplain to accommodate the city.
"It's an engineering landscape that is second to none, given its antiquity," Scarborough said.
Scarborough wrote about the water infrastructure of Liangzhu in 2017 for the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
"Liangzhu concentrates human-modified landscapes, productive resources, and the supporting labor responsible for the initiation of East Asia’s earliest known experiment in truly complex sociopolitical order," Scarborough wrote in his critical analysis that complemented a study of the 5,300-year-old city.