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Tianshanbeilu and the Isotopic Millet Road: Reviewing the Late Neolithic/Bronze Age Radiation of Human Millet Consumption from North China to Europe

Author(s): Tingting Wang ; YaoWu Hu ; Benjamin Fuller ; Dong Wei

Year: 2017

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Summary

The westward expansion of human millet consumption from north China has important implications for understanding early interactions between the East and West. However, few studies have focused on the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the vast geographical area directly linking the ancient cultures of the Eurasian Steppe and the Gansu Corridor of China. Here a Bronze Age isotopic study in China is presented about the key site of Tianshanbeilu, in eastern Xinjiang. The vast range of stable carbon isotopic values on Tianshanbeilu human remains provides direct evidence of unique dietary diversity and consumption of significant C4 resources (millet). Tianshanbeilu's results are then analyzed with respect to 52 Bronze Age sites from across Eurasia, to investigate the spread and chronology of significant human millet consumption. This isotopic survey found novel evidence that the 2nd millennium BC was a dynamic period, with significant dietary inter-connectivity occurring between north China, Central Asia and Siberia. Further, we argue that this "Isotopic Millet Road" extended all the way to the Mediterranean and Central Europe, and conclude that these C4 dietary signatures of millet consumption reflect early links and cultural interactions between inhabitants of modern-day China and Europe in the Bronze Age.


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Tianshanbeilu and the Isotopic Millet Road: Reviewing the Late Neolithic/Bronze Age Radiation of Human Millet Consumption from North China to Europe. Tingting Wang, YaoWu Hu, Benjamin Fuller, Dong Wei. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431608)


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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): 16648

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