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The Archaeology of River Floodplains in the Early Neolithic of North China: A Palaeo-ecological Perspective

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Recent excavations at some early-Neolithic sites (8000-7000 cal. BP) in the Lower Yellow River have generated rich archaeological and palaeo-ecological assemblages, including the to date earliest carbonized rice remains in North China. These discoveries trigger heated debate on issues such as environmental changes and cultural adaptations. Archaeobotanical and geoarchaeological investigations have provided important evidence regarding the importance of river floodplain environments to these early Neolithic sites. At Xihe, carbonised rice remains and millet remains are discovered along with numerous weed plant seeds, suggesting a diversified pattern of plant food exploitation. This is to some extent corroborated by isotopic analyses. Geoarchaeological examination of the typical alluvial aggradating sequence at Yuezhuang provides valuable information of the intimate interaction between the people and the seasonally usable river floodplain environment. Here I continue to explore the palaeo-ecology of such river floodplain environments, with an aim to combine different lines of evidence obtained by recent research and to synthesis the long-term interaction between people and river floodplains in the Neolithic of North China.

This talk is part of the Asian Archaeology Group series.

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