From Foragers to Frontiers: Recent Research on the Archaeology of the Ordos Region, China

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

A recent increase in archaeological fieldwork in the Ordos Region, China combined with new methodological and theoretical frameworks has lead to new understandings of previous assumptions about the development of life in this understudied region. Occupying a vast territory covering the areas of southwestern Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Shaanxi Province, the Ordos Region plays a very important role in forming a better understanding of Chinese prehistory. This session includes papers that span from the Upper Paleolithic period to the Han Dynasty. The goals of the present session are to synthesize and advance research on understanding environmental change and human response, movement of domesticated plants and animals in prehistory, cultural interaction and entanglement with Central Asia, developments in metallurgy and jade, and the position of this region as a frontier in prehistory.

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  • Documents (6)

  • Characterization of Neolithic Jade Objects from Shimao and Xinhua, Shaanxi Province, China, Using Handheld Portable Techniques (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Corinne Deibel. Michael Deibel. Jiqiao Shi. Johnathon Hornak. Hannah Munro.

    50 jade objects from the Late Longshan period, excavated from the Shimao (25) and Xinhua (25) Neolithic sites, were characterized mineral groups using handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (hhXRF) and handheld specular reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (hhFTIR). The objects were found to belong to three types of minerals. 22 objects found in Shimao (88%) are nephrite (19 tremolites and 3 actinolites), two are calcite and one antigorite. From Xinhua, 9 objects (36 %) are nephrite...

  • Culture prosperity of late longshan on north Shaanxi and its environmental background (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jianxin Cui. Hong Chang.

    The late Longshan culture of north Shaanxi was flouring, while that of the southern Inner Mongolia was declined and migrated to the south. Meanwhile, in Guanzhong Basin, the culture was also declined to the bottom. In this paper, we aimed to know the possible climatic factors drove the occurrence of these culture phenomena. A compile of Holocene climate records related to these three regions were collected and analyzed. The following results can be drawn: after 4.4 Ka BP, the climate of Inner...

  • Expanding frontier and building the sphere in the western deserts (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lisa Janz.

    During the early and middle Holocene the deserts of Mongolia and northern China were characterized by arid grasslands and numerous lakes and wetlands. Specialized wetland exploitation defined land-use during this period, but more detailed data on subsistence is not clear. The prevalent use of microlithic technology and the lack of architectural structures underscores the presumption that these groups were highly mobile hunter-gatherers, but increasing evidence reveals that pastoralism spread...

  • Finding Greener Pastures: The local development of agro-pastoralism in the Ordos Region, North China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tricia Owlett.

    This paper integrated new archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological research in the Ordos region to provide new information on the timing, mechanisms, and process of development of agro-pastoralism in China. The paper includes a new synthesis of archaeobotanical, and zooarchaeological data to understand the nature and the beginnings of agro-pastoralism as early as the Late Neolithic period (2600-1900 B.C.). Environmental factors constrained and shaped animal husbandry in the Ordos Region, an area...

  • From Serial Specialist to Cereal Specialist: Managing Hunting and Husbandry in the Context of the Terminal Pleistocene-Early Holocene Fitness Landscape of North China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher Morgan. Loukas Barton. Robert Bettinger.

    Recent reconstructions of terminal Pleistocene-early Holocene settlement and subsistence patterns in northern China indicate that the intensive yet highly mobile hunting pattern that developed during the Younger Dryas as a way of mediating the increased temporal and spatial patchiness of the terminal Pleistocene resource base was maintained and even facilitated by early experiments with farming millet in the early Holocene. The long-term viability of this novel adaptation was evaluated in the...

  • Shimao: the Prehistoric Pioneer of Rising States in Northern China (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Xiangming Dai.

    In ancient China, a number of ethnic groups and polities rose and declined in northern China. The competition and wars between these frontier polities and Central-Plain dynasties occurred frequently in Chinese history. A series of new archaeological discoveries in recent years have revealed that Shimao was the first state-level society emerging in northern China. The Shimao social group was mainly distributed in the Ordos region, where the social complexity experienced a leaping development in...