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Article: Environmental change and Neolithic settlement movement in the lower Yangtze wetlands of China
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TitleEnvironmental change and Neolithic settlement movement in the lower Yangtze wetlands of China
 
AuthorsZong, Y2
Innes, JB1
Wang, Z3
Chen, Z3
 
KeywordsCoastal plain
Coastal wetland
Environmental change
Environmental conditions
Flooding
 
Issue Date2012
 
PublisherSage Publications Ltd. The Journal's web site is located at http://hol.sagepub.com
 
CitationThe Holocene, 2012, v. 22 n. 6, p. 659-673 [How to Cite?]
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683611414933
 
AbstractPrevious studies have suggested that, over the course of the Neolithic period, settlements in the Yangtze coastal plain gradually moved seawards and concentrated to the east of Lake Taihu, probably responding to the effects of sea-level change during the middle to late Holocene. To test this hypothesis, sediment cores adjacent to six Neolithic settlement sites across the study area were collected and analyzed for pollen and other microfossils. These records reveal details of the environmental conditions before, during and after the Neolithic occupation at each site. Results show that a freshwater marsh environment became established before each human occupation and persisted throughout and after it. There is no evidence at any site of a sudden or drastic change in environmental conditions towards the end of human settlement. After c. 7000 cal. yr BP the study area had become a wetland enclosed by Chenier ridges on the east (the southern shore of the Yangtze) and the south (the northern shore of Hangzhou Bay). During the Neolithic period (c. 7000-3000 cal. yr BP) sea level rose slowly by c. 2 m, and elevated water-tables saw the inland Taihu area become lacustrine, while to seaward on slightly higher ground enhanced sedimentation maintained freshwater marshes, fens and swamp-woodland, particularly near the Chenier ridges. These wetland-fringed coastal areas provided resources, including shellfish, deer, boar and migratory birds, that might have attracted the Neolithic communities that were abandoning their former settlement sites in the lower-lying inland area, flooded by the expanded lakes around Taihu, after c. 4200 cal. BP. © The Author(s) 2011.
 
ISSN0959-6836
2013 Impact Factor: 3.794
 
DOIhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683611414933
 
ISI Accession Number IDWOS:000304238500006
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Leverhulme Trust, UKF/000128/AL
Shanghai Metropolitan Government
Funding Information:

This research is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, UK (Grant Number F/000128/AL) and supported by the Zijiang Visiting Professorship scheme of the Shanghai Metropolitan Government awarded to Y Zong.

 
ReferencesReferences in Scopus
 
DC FieldValue
dc.contributor.authorZong, Y
 
dc.contributor.authorInnes, JB
 
dc.contributor.authorWang, Z
 
dc.contributor.authorChen, Z
 
dc.date.accessioned2012-06-26T06:21:26Z
 
dc.date.available2012-06-26T06:21:26Z
 
dc.date.issued2012
 
dc.description.abstractPrevious studies have suggested that, over the course of the Neolithic period, settlements in the Yangtze coastal plain gradually moved seawards and concentrated to the east of Lake Taihu, probably responding to the effects of sea-level change during the middle to late Holocene. To test this hypothesis, sediment cores adjacent to six Neolithic settlement sites across the study area were collected and analyzed for pollen and other microfossils. These records reveal details of the environmental conditions before, during and after the Neolithic occupation at each site. Results show that a freshwater marsh environment became established before each human occupation and persisted throughout and after it. There is no evidence at any site of a sudden or drastic change in environmental conditions towards the end of human settlement. After c. 7000 cal. yr BP the study area had become a wetland enclosed by Chenier ridges on the east (the southern shore of the Yangtze) and the south (the northern shore of Hangzhou Bay). During the Neolithic period (c. 7000-3000 cal. yr BP) sea level rose slowly by c. 2 m, and elevated water-tables saw the inland Taihu area become lacustrine, while to seaward on slightly higher ground enhanced sedimentation maintained freshwater marshes, fens and swamp-woodland, particularly near the Chenier ridges. These wetland-fringed coastal areas provided resources, including shellfish, deer, boar and migratory birds, that might have attracted the Neolithic communities that were abandoning their former settlement sites in the lower-lying inland area, flooded by the expanded lakes around Taihu, after c. 4200 cal. BP. © The Author(s) 2011.
 
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltext
 
dc.identifier.citationThe Holocene, 2012, v. 22 n. 6, p. 659-673 [How to Cite?]
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683611414933
 
dc.identifier.doihttp://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683611414933
 
dc.identifier.epage673
 
dc.identifier.hkuros200202
 
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000304238500006
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Leverhulme Trust, UKF/000128/AL
Shanghai Metropolitan Government
Funding Information:

This research is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, UK (Grant Number F/000128/AL) and supported by the Zijiang Visiting Professorship scheme of the Shanghai Metropolitan Government awarded to Y Zong.

 
dc.identifier.issn0959-6836
2013 Impact Factor: 3.794
 
dc.identifier.issue6
 
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84861808961
 
dc.identifier.spage659
 
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/151380
 
dc.identifier.volume22
 
dc.languageeng
 
dc.publisherSage Publications Ltd. The Journal's web site is located at http://hol.sagepub.com
 
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdom
 
dc.relation.ispartofThe Holocene
 
dc.relation.referencesReferences in Scopus
 
dc.rightsThe Holocene. Copyright © Sage Publications Ltd.
 
dc.subjectCoastal plain
 
dc.subjectCoastal wetland
 
dc.subjectEnvironmental change
 
dc.subjectEnvironmental conditions
 
dc.subjectFlooding
 
dc.titleEnvironmental change and Neolithic settlement movement in the lower Yangtze wetlands of China
 
dc.typeArticle
 
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Author Affiliations
  1. University of Durham
  2. The University of Hong Kong
  3. East China Normal University