Economic differentiation in Hongshan core zone communities: A geochemical perspective

Author(s): Tao Li

Year: 2015


It is proposed that a greater degree of differentiation between households in Hongshan villages (4500-3000 BC) in northeast China with regard to productive activities implies a greater degree of economic interdependence between households and a more complex economy, which possibly provides leaders with enhanced opportunities to mobilize labor toward such ends. Analysis of household artifact assemblages in the Hongshan periphery has indicated some very modest levels of productive differentiation in lithic production. If the Hongshan core zone showed stronger evidence of productive differentiation and thus a more complex village economy, it might help us to understand how the greater investment in public ritual spaces came to be. A combination of geochemical and mineralogical analyses was thus proposed to investigate productive differentiation between 50 individual artifact (pottery) concentrations of household scale in the Hongshan Core. By recognizing the compositional clusters represented in each household-scale analytical unit, we were able to understand the degree of compositional variety within household units in the Hongshan core zone and the degree of productive differentiation that characterized Hongshan pottery production. This study offers important insight to the role of production and distribution of utilitarian pottery to the economic foundations of early complex societies.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Economic differentiation in Hongshan core zone communities: A geochemical perspective. Tao Li. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395640)

Spatial Coverage

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