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Data from: Late Neolithic phytolith and charcoal records of human activities and vegetation change in Shijiahe culture, Tanjialing site, China

Citation

Zhu, Xiao Hong et al. (2018), Data from: Late Neolithic phytolith and charcoal records of human activities and vegetation change in Shijiahe culture, Tanjialing site, China, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8157n

Abstract

There is significant archaeological evidence marking the collapse of the Shijiahe culture in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in China during the late Neolithic Period. However, the causes for this cultural collapse remain unclear. Our sedimentary records from a 3.3 m long profile and 76 phytolith and charcoal samples from the Tanjialing archaeological sites provide records of interactions between an ancient culture and vegetation change. During the early Shijiahe culture (c, 4850-4400 cal BP), the climate was warm and humid. Fire was intensively used to clear the vegetation. In the mid-period of the Shijiahe culture (c, 4400-4200 cal BP), the climate became slightly dry-cold and this was accompanied by decreasing water, leading to settlements. From c, 4200 cal BP, severe drought eroded the economic foundation of rice-cultivation. These conditions forced people to abandon the Shijiahe ancient city to find water in other regions, leading to the collapse of the Shijiahe culture.

Usage Notes

Location

Middle Yangtze River
China