Early to Middle Holocene Earth-Working Implements and Neolithic Land-Use Strategies on the Ningshao Plain, China

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/325217
Title:
Early to Middle Holocene Earth-Working Implements and Neolithic Land-Use Strategies on the Ningshao Plain, China
Author:
Xie, Liye
Issue Date:
2014
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
My research uses a case study of Hemudu culture (7,000-5,000 BP) in eastern China to explore technological constraints of earth-working implements as a factor to explain the prolonged processes towards Neolithic agricultural land use and sedentary settlements. Early Hemudu populations lived in small villages and cultivated rice in the lowlands. They employed earth-working implements made from water buffalo scapulae; however, these implements were replaced with stone variants after 6,000 BP. These phenomena invited the following questions: (1) how did bone earth-working implements become a tradition and persist until 6,000 BP; (2) why was use of these artifacts replaced by use of stone spades; and (3) how did the choices of earth-working implements affect land use? Following ideas from Human Behavioral Ecology, Dual-Inheritance Theory, and Behavioral Archaeology, I examined bone implements' use contexts, raw material availability and procurement, costs and benefits in manufacture, techno-functional performance characteristics, and the Hemudu people's social learning strategies. These investigations involved soil science, bone and stone technologies, use-wear analysis, and zooarchaeology, along with many controlled experiments. Multiple sources of evidence led to the conclusion that the early adoption of bone spades was encouraged by scapulae's convenient morphology and acquisition, and they fulfilled the functional needs at the beginning of Kuahuqiao (8,200-7000 BP) and Hemudu exploitation of lowland environments. Frequency-dependent bias helped ensure the persistence of bone spades in Hemudu even when raw material became scarce and other artifacts would have provided marginal functional advantages. This tradition imposed significant technical and conceptual constraints that inhibited the communities from adopting other forms of agriculture and settlement construction. My research has broad implications to archaeological theories and methods for studying technological choices and our understanding of the pathways to agriculture and sedentism. It shows that although Human Behavioral Ecology and Dual-Inheritance Theory are useful for studying and interpreting technological choices, applying the framework proposed by Behavioral Archaeology helped lead to a stronger argument. Many of the analytical tools that I developed in this project can be used to investigate relevant questions in other times and cultures. My experimental designs can also be used as templates in future research.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Earthwork; Land use; Neolithic; Sedentism; Technology; Anthropology; Agriculture
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Anthropology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Olsen, John W.; Kuhn, Steven L.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleEarly to Middle Holocene Earth-Working Implements and Neolithic Land-Use Strategies on the Ningshao Plain, Chinaen_US
dc.creatorXie, Liyeen_US
dc.contributor.authorXie, Liyeen_US
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractMy research uses a case study of Hemudu culture (7,000-5,000 BP) in eastern China to explore technological constraints of earth-working implements as a factor to explain the prolonged processes towards Neolithic agricultural land use and sedentary settlements. Early Hemudu populations lived in small villages and cultivated rice in the lowlands. They employed earth-working implements made from water buffalo scapulae; however, these implements were replaced with stone variants after 6,000 BP. These phenomena invited the following questions: (1) how did bone earth-working implements become a tradition and persist until 6,000 BP; (2) why was use of these artifacts replaced by use of stone spades; and (3) how did the choices of earth-working implements affect land use? Following ideas from Human Behavioral Ecology, Dual-Inheritance Theory, and Behavioral Archaeology, I examined bone implements' use contexts, raw material availability and procurement, costs and benefits in manufacture, techno-functional performance characteristics, and the Hemudu people's social learning strategies. These investigations involved soil science, bone and stone technologies, use-wear analysis, and zooarchaeology, along with many controlled experiments. Multiple sources of evidence led to the conclusion that the early adoption of bone spades was encouraged by scapulae's convenient morphology and acquisition, and they fulfilled the functional needs at the beginning of Kuahuqiao (8,200-7000 BP) and Hemudu exploitation of lowland environments. Frequency-dependent bias helped ensure the persistence of bone spades in Hemudu even when raw material became scarce and other artifacts would have provided marginal functional advantages. This tradition imposed significant technical and conceptual constraints that inhibited the communities from adopting other forms of agriculture and settlement construction. My research has broad implications to archaeological theories and methods for studying technological choices and our understanding of the pathways to agriculture and sedentism. It shows that although Human Behavioral Ecology and Dual-Inheritance Theory are useful for studying and interpreting technological choices, applying the framework proposed by Behavioral Archaeology helped lead to a stronger argument. Many of the analytical tools that I developed in this project can be used to investigate relevant questions in other times and cultures. My experimental designs can also be used as templates in future research.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectEarthworken_US
dc.subjectLand useen_US
dc.subjectNeolithicen_US
dc.subjectSedentismen_US
dc.subjectTechnologyen_US
dc.subjectAnthropologyen_US
dc.subjectAgricultureen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorOlsen, John W.en_US
dc.contributor.advisorKuhn, Steven L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberOlsen, John W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKuhn, Steven L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberStiner, Mary C.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSchiffer, Michael B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHolliday, Vance T.en_US
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