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A Soil-Stratigraphic Record of Landscape Evolution and Human-Environment Interaction at the Yangguanzhai Archaeological Site, North-Central China

Author(s): Jennifer Kielhofer ; Mathew Fox

Year: 2017

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Summary

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. B.P.) artifacts and features, while the upper horizon contains Han Dynasty artifacts (~2500 cal. yrs. B.P.). Unweathered sediment between these buried soils may signal heightened flooding and floodplain deposition during the Late Holocene. Stable isotope analysis on bulk soil and sediment carbonates offers insight on Middle Neolithic paleovegetation and paleoclimatic conditions. δ13Ccc values range from -4.76 to -7.83‰, reflecting a higher proportion of C3 biomass within a mixed C3/C4 ecosystem. Agricultural cultivation of millet during the Neolithic may be responsible for the C4 signal. δ18Occ values range from -8.13 and -9.48‰, suggesting strong summer monsoonal conditions. Based on these analyses, Middle Neolithic groups at Yangguanzhai experienced warm summer temperatures, strong monsoonal rainfall, and seasonal climatic variation. However, human activities (agriculture) may have influenced pedogenesis and the isotopic signature of carbonates.


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A Soil-Stratigraphic Record of Landscape Evolution and Human-Environment Interaction at the Yangguanzhai Archaeological Site, North-Central China. Jennifer Kielhofer, Mathew Fox. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429753)


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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): 14781

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America