New Discoveries and Multidisciplinary Research at Yangguanzhai, China

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Yangguanzhai is the largest known middle Neolithic site in the Wei River Valley of China. In over ten years of excavation and research at the site have yielded data on pottery production, house structures, diet, burial practices, and the construction of an ancient moat. In this session, current and former project participants will present research project in ceramic analysis, geoarchaeology, bioarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, and other fields. This ongoing multidisciplinary research has generated significant new information and a greater understanding of craft production, settlement structure, and domestic life in prehistoric central China.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Documents (12)

  • Analysis of Ancient Chinese Pottery Utilizing X-Ray Fluorescence and Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Deibel. Corinne Deibel. Ye Wa. Liping Yang.

    Field studies were performed at the Yangguanzhai Neolithic site near Xi’an, China, using an Olympus Delta Premium portable XRF spectrometer and an Agilent ExoScan FTIR spectrometer. 932 ceramic sherds collected from nine locations across the site were selected and classified based on color (red, tan and brown), decorations (painted, rope impression - cord or thread, and plain), and time period (Miaodigou and Banpo IV). Each sherd was broken, so that the analysis could be performed on a clean...

  • Faunal remains from the Yangguanzhai site (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Miaomiao Yang. Songmei Hu. Weilin Wang.

    Over several seasons of excavation, a large quantity of faunal remains have been unearthed from the Yangguanzhai site. These remains were all collected systematically by excavation unit and have been carefully measured and identified by taxon. The analysis of these remains indicates the presence of at least 11 species, including fresh water shellfish (Unio douglasiae), pheasant, crane, dog, domestic pig, roe deer, spotted deer, red deer, and cattle. The presence of some of these species suggests...

  • The Influence Holocene Changes in Hydrological Conditions and River Course Migration of the Jing and Wei Rivers on the Yangguanzhai Settlement (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ke Hu. Weilin Wang.

    Yangguanzhai is located in Xi’an, Shaanxi, at the confluence of the Jing and Wei Rivers. There is an evidence that during the Holocene, the area experienced two major hydrological changes: first, in the middle Holocene, the Jing and Wei Rivers experienced a long period of elevated water levels; and second, over the course of the Holocene, the Wei River moved north while the Jing River moved south. This research used a stratigraphic analysis and GIS to reconstruct the change of the river courses...

  • Micromorphology and isotopic geochemistry of the Yangguanzhai moat deposit (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mathew Fox. Jennifer Kielhofer. Ye Wa.

    Geoarchaeological research conducted at the Yangguanzhai Site was tasked with identifying the composition and formation processes associated with one of the most striking features of the site, the Yangguanzhai "moat." Originally, it was hypothesized that this moat was filled with thick packages of ash related to the manufacturing of pottery at the site. Therefore, micromorphology and isotopic geochemistry were employed to further examine moat sediments. Samples collected from the moat have δ13C...

  • Microscopic Analysis of Sherds from Pit H85 (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Richard Ehrich.

    H85 is the largest pit discovered in the north-central area of Yangguanzhai. In 2014 the archaeological team took sherd samples from the 12 layers excavated up to that point. Where possible, the team took one sherd from each of the colors grey, red, and beige as well as both fine, levigated texture and coarse, tempered texture from each layer. Thin sections of these sherds were produced and examined under the microscope to determine the choice of temper and other steps in the preparation of the...

  • A Middle Yangshao Cemetery of the Yangguanzhai Settlement (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Liping Yang. Weilin Wang.

    In order to better understand the moated settlement of Yangguanzhai (ca. 5300-4800 B.P.) in the Wei River Valley of China, the archaeological team surveyed east of the moated area in 2015. A large number of pit burials with side chambers were found. The cemetery is so far the first known adult cemetery of this period (Miaodigou Phase of Yangshao Culture). Based on C14 dating and funerary goods, the cemetery is contemporaneous with the Yangguanzhai settlement. This discovery provides important...

  • Oral Health in the Middle Yangshao Guanzhong Basin (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Berger. Liping Yang.

    The Middle Yangshao cemetery at Yangguanzhai is the first cemetery of this period ever found in the Loess Plateau of China. This paper presents the results of an analysis of the oral health of this population, which found lower rates alveolar abscesses, occlusal wear, antemortem tooth loss, caries, calculus, and linear enamel hypoplasias than would be expected in a typical Neolithic agricultural population. This sheds light on the diet of the Yangguanzhai population. The paper also places the...

  • Paleoethnobotany of Yangguanzhai (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mitchell Ma. Hua Zhong.

    Yangguanzhai is a valuable resource for paleoethnobotanists to understand human-plant interactions in Neolithic northwestern China due to its excellent conditions for the preservation of macro-botanical materials. In recent years, several palaeoethnobotanical studies on Yanguanzhai have been carried out on site, yielding many results that greatly contribute to our understanding of Neolithic agriculture in the region. Presented in this paper are the results of two systematic flotations conducted...

  • Soil, Hands, and Heads: An Ethnoarchaeological Study on Local Preconditions of Pottery Production in the Wei River Valley (Northern China) (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anke M. Hein. Ye Wa. Jianfeng Cui.

    This paper approaches ceramic production by combining four aspects of data: geographic background, archaeological find, ethnoarchaeological work, and material analysis. Taking the middle Neolithic site of Yangguanzhai in Shaanxi as a case study, this paper examined the preconditions and processes of pottery making in northern China during the Yangshao Period (5000-3000 BC). Materials from over ten years of excavation and survey at Yangguanzhai and the results of ethnoarchaeological studies in...

  • A Soil-Stratigraphic Record of Landscape Evolution and Human-Environment Interaction at the Yangguanzhai Archaeological Site, North-Central China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Kielhofer. Mathew Fox.

    This paper presents the results of soil-stratigraphic investigations and stable isotope analysis at Yangguanzhai, a Middle Neolithic site (~5500 cal. years B.P.) in the Wei River Valley of north-central China. At Yanguanzhai, there is a well-preserved sequence of alternating sediment and buried soils, indicative of multiple fluctuations in landscape stability. Human occupations are associated with three buried soils: the two lower soil horizons contain Middle Neolithic (~6000-5500 cal. yrs....

  • Understanding the Settlement Structure of the Middle Yangshao Period (Miaodigou Phase) based on Recent Archaeological Discoveries in the Wei River Valley (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Weilin Wang.

    As one of the most influential archaeological cultures in prehistoric China, the Miaodigou Phase of the Yangshao Culture has been found widely in many regions. During the Miaodigou Phase, a common cultural identity appeared across China for the first time, which had great significance for the later formation of Chinese civilization. However, archaeological research has until recently been limited to the study of ceramic styles. In recent years, investigations at the Yangguanzhai site in Shaanxi...

  • A Vertical Loess Cave Dwelling at Yangguanzhai? (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ye Wa. Weilin Wang. Liping Yang. Mitchell Ma. Mathew Fox.

    Of all features excavated at the late Neolithic site of Yangguanzhai since 2005—including houses, hearths, postholes, kilns, child and adult burials, and ditches—pits features, known by the generic term "huikeng" or "ash pit" in Chinese archaeology, account for about 80%. Detailed studies of such features are important not only because of their sheer number, but also because their contents are often used as criteria for site dating and chronology. As our excavation of one such feature (H85)...