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Shangqiu is the site of one of China's earliest civilizations, and the name 上, Shang, comes from the Shang Dynasty. Recently, the Early Shang Civilization project team* discovered the lost 1st millennium BC city of Song on the outskirts of Shangqiu.. Coring has revealed a rammed-earth walled enclosure measuring between 2.9 to 3.6 kilometers on each side. This City Song is thought to have been established by descendants of the Shang on the site of Great City Shang.

Traditionally Shangqiu was on the Huanghe, but the river's course changed during the Qing Dynasty and now the portion of the river remaining is no longer connected to the Yellow River. Today Shangqiu is a bit of a backwater but there is much of historical interest here, particularly its Ming Dynasty walled city and the home towns of Zhuangzi and Mulan nearby.

*The Early Shang Civilization project is a Sino-American multidisciplinary archaeogical research program being undertaken by the Peabody Museum (Harvard University), the Institute of Archaeology (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing), and ICEAACH.

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