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Ref ID: 27794
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Liu, T.
Chen, Z.
Sun, Q.
Finlayson, B.
Title: Migration of neolithic settlements in the Dongting Lake are of the middle Yangtze River Basin, China: lake-level and monsoon climate responses
Date: 2012
Source: Holocene
Abstract: The vast Dongting Lake in the middle Yangtze River basin, China, was occupied by Chinese Neolithic settlements starting 10 000 years ago, and rice cultivation there is probably there is earliest in the world. The numerous Neolithic settlements identified by previous archaeological surveys represent the five major Neolithic cultural stages, i.e. the Pengtoushan (9000-7900 cal. yr BP), Zaoshixiaceng (7900-6800 cal. yr BP), Daxi (6800-5500 cal. yr BP), Qujialing (5500-5000 cal. yr BP) and Shijiahe (5000-4000 cal. yr BP). Using sedimentological and geoarchaeological approaches, this paper analyses the drivers of basin-scale settlement relocation in relation to lake-level fluctuations and monsoon climate variations in the Holocene. The relocation of Neolithic sites around the lake shoreline and on the adjacent floodplain, together with radiocarbon-dated stratigraphy, clearly indicates that the shape of the lake basin was an incised and elongated valley occupied by a lake in the early Holocene, which became a broader and shallower depression in the mid to late Holocene, which became a broader and shallower depression in the mid to late Holocene. The established lowest habitable base of the settlements positioned on the lake shore assists reconstruction of the change in lake level from 22 m at 9000 cal. yr BP to 26 m at 5500-4000 cal. yr BP, although higher and lower lake levels occurred during the intervening cultural stages. The pollen spectra reveal a warming trend throughout the Holocene with at least four major temperature cycles, driven by monsoon variations between temperate- and warm-humid conditions. In the early Holocene the climate changed from cool-dry to warm-humid, and this played a key role in developing the earliest Dengtoushan culture in the region. Subsequent climate fluctuations fit well with the advance and retreat of the lake shore, also coevally with Neolithic site movements in the lake region. In this study we show how geoarchaeological evidence can be used in environmental reconstruction during the Holocene.
Date Created: 2/8/2016
Volume: 22
Page Start: 649
Page End: 657