The Dawenkou culture is a name given by s to a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in Shandong, but also appeared in Anhui, Henan and Jiangsu, China. The culture existed from 4100 BC to 2600 BC, co-existing with the Yangshao culture. Turquoise, jade and ivory artefacts are commonly found at Dawenkou sites. The earliest examples of alligator drums appear at Dawenkou sites.
Archaeologists commonly divide the culture into three phases: the early phase , the middle phase and the late phase . Based on the evidence from grave goods, the early phase was highly egalitarian. The phase is typified by the presence of individually designed, long-stemmed cups . Graves built with earthern ledges became increasingly common during the latter parts of the early phase. During the middle phase, grave goods began to emphasize quantity over diversity. During the late phase, wooden coffins began to appear in Dawenkou burials. The culture became increasingly stratified, as some graves contained no grave goods while others contained a large quantity of grave goods.
The type site at Dawenkou, located in Tai'an, Shandong, was excavated in 1959, 1974 and 1978. Only the middle layer at Dawenkou is associated with the Dawenkou culture, as the earliest layer corresponds to the Beixin culture and the latest layer corresponds to the early Shandong variant of the Longshan culture.