This work investigates the development of social complexity and the changes of modes of pottery production from the Neolithic to early Bronze Age in the Yuanqu Basin, north-central China. The research focuses on the development of specialised pottery production in different societies. Through settlement pattern studies, the author examines the social changes during eight cultural periods from the Neolithic to the early Bronze Age (ca. 6200-1300 B.C.). The settlement analyses address 46 sites, including seven excavated sites in the Yuanqu Basin. This study argues that the initial and low-level specialisation might occur in the simple and non-stratified society, and the dramatic change in the mode of pottery production or the degree of specialisation is not necessarily related to the emergence and development of chiefdom-level societies, but rather associated with the formation of state-level societies, as demonstrated by the Yuanqu case.