Contrasting developments of the cultural complexes south and north of Hangzhou Bay, eastern China, controlled by coastal environmental changes

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Hangzhou Bay region was home to the Shangshan complex (10,800–8600 cal BP), one of the oldest Neolithic cultures in the world, and a centre of early agriculture based on intensive wet rice cultivation. The current study focuses on environmental factors that possibly influenced the developments of Neolithic cultures south and north of Hangzhou Bay and the origin of rice-based agriculture. Although the beginning of sedentary occupation of the Ningshao Plain south of Hangzhou Bay (ca. 10,800 cal BP) predates that of the Taihu Plain north of Hangzhou Bay (ca. 7200 cal BP) by ca. 3000 years, occupation on the Ningshao Plain gradually declined to a cultural periphery after ca. 6000 cal BP. Unstable hydrological conditions on the Ningshao Plain in response to a higher exposure to marine influence were probably the reason behind this decline. By contrast, Majiabang, Songze, and Liangzhu culture (ca. 7200–4000 cal BP) populations on the Taihu Plain were increasingly protected from marine influence by progradation of the Yangzi Delta after stabilisation of the sea level around ca. 7000 cal BP. Since then, the development of wet rice-based agriculture accelerated in the context of stable wetland environments and an abundant supply of freshwater, leading to the development of the key domestication traits in rice. This contrast highlights the importance of the mid-to late Holocene Yangzi Delta evolution in shaping the development of early agriculture in the Hangzhou Bay region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalQuaternary International
Volume623
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Crop domestication
  • East China Sea
  • Human migration
  • Human-environment interactions
  • Oryza sativa
  • Radiocarbon dating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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