The people of Shang have been successful in organizing the raw material and manpower in accomplishing this feat. The cities were mostly organized in a similar fashion. The palace stood in the center along with the temple, around the palace, stood the public buildings and the residents of high government officials. The outskirts of the cities were characterized by burial ground, housed workshops, and the homes of the workers.
The highest class ranks were dominated by the king and the royal lineage. The nobles practiced cavalry and wore bronze helmets and armour. Below them were the specialist groups made of the craftsmen, particularly the artisans having skills in bronze work (Chang, 1994). The artisans lifestyle was distinct that of peasantry. The residents of the artisans were made of ground stamped earth buildings, containing a couple of rooms and sometimes provided with a window. Their homes were better made than the residents of the peasants standing at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
There are scholars arguing the Shang dynasty was composed of a slave society. Others have argued that peasant were serfs, rather than the slaves. In any case, there was a gaping divide between the aristocrats and the peasants. The friction in the intra-society has been the cause of a polarized society. The Shang because of the societal divide could resist the Zhou, who invaded Shang in 1028 B.C.
The earliest exemplar of the bronze vessels has been discovered in Erlitou, in the proximity of the modern city of Luoyang in Henan province. This place has been opined by some archaeologists as the earliest capital of Shang dynasty, named Bo. There has been controversy regarding Erlitou with regards to whether it was city in Shang dynasty or the Xia dynasty. The palace was made of foundation created by the pounded earth, simple vessels made of bronze, fine jades, and oracle bones. The traces of a walled city had been discovered, which can probably be in the middle of Shang capital at Erligang. This place has also been referred to as Ao.