Physiological stress, activity patterns and the emergence of social complexity in early China

Author(s): Rong Fan

Year: 2017


Because of a lack of artifacts or archaeological features which can indicate social status, the Early and Middle Neolithic periods ca.7000-4000 BC in China are considered to be relatively egalitarian periods. Differences within and among settlements became pronounced in the third millennium BC. The adaptation of agricultural lifeways might be a cause of social complexity. However, it requires further investigation into how and why this happened. In the case when there are not enough artifacts to represent status, one way to investigate the emergence of social complexity is to look at whether differentiation exists beyond gender and age using human skeletal remains. During research, multiple lines of evidence from contextualized human remains were utilized. By comparing different degrees of entheseal changes, different dental wear patterns, duration of physiological stress which reflected on enamel hypoplasia, and trauma, combining the known data of stable isotopic analysis and other subsistence and mortuary practice information, the workload and nutritional distribution within communities was determined. In this presentation, data from two Middle Neolithic sites in northern China, the Xinglonggou site and the Beiqian site will be presented.

Cite this Record

Physiological stress, activity patterns and the emergence of social complexity in early China. Rong Fan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428975)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17298