Early Bronze Age Animal Use at Lajia, a Qijia Culture Site in Qinghai Province, China.

Author(s): David Fargo; Yin Lam; Maolin Ye

Year: 2015


The faunal remains from Lajia, a late Neolithic and early Bronze Age site in northwestern China, reveal that sheep, a newly introduced domesticate during this time period, are the central source of meat for the site’s residents. This represents a shift from earlier modes of subsistence in the region, which were focused on pig husbandry. Sheep were the most common domesticate in the Lajia assemblage, followed by pigs and cattle. An examination of age profiles reveals that mature adult sheep individuals were rare in the assemblage, which suggests that sheep were being exploited for meat. This finding is not consistent with evidence from contemporaneous northern Chinese sites, where sheep are interpreted as being a source of secondary products such as milk and wool. An analysis of bone breakage aimed at determining whether remains were processed for grease and marrow was inconclusive, revealing that the main source of fragmentation in the assemblage was related to butchery, with no significant correlation between increased levels of fragmentation and high-utility skeletal elements. This study provides preliminary but important information regarding food production and animal husbandry during a period in which larger centres of power were emerging and new domesticates were being exploited.

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Cite this Record

Early Bronze Age Animal Use at Lajia, a Qijia Culture Site in Qinghai Province, China.. David Fargo, Maolin Ye, Yin Lam. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395268)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;