Neolithic Pigs and People along China's Fertile Arc: Regional Expression and Domestication

Author(s): Ximena Lemoine

Year: 2018


The foothills of mountain chains along river catchments, or "Hilly Flanks", have repeatedly been shown to be key to understanding the origins of agriculture throughout Eurasia. During the Neolithic, sites in the northern part of China’s Fertile Arc (see Ren et al. 2016)—showing the the earliest evidence of the cultivation of Chinese Millets—are situated along China's own "Hilly Flanks". In contrast, southern sites along the Arc cultivating rice, are located in a diverse array of landforms including piedmont plains and intermountain basins. Whereas the relationship between people, landscape, and the crops has seen significant academic study, the human-animal component has yet to be explored in detail. The pig is China’s earliest endemic domesticate, and may have been domesticated multiple times in this region. Through demographic reconstruction and stable isotopic analysis of pig populations from early Neolithic sites from the northern and southern parts of the Arc, belonging to the Xinglongwa 兴隆洼 culture in Inner Mongolia—representing the northern part of the Arc—and Jiahu 贾湖 from the Huai River Valley in Henan—representing the southern region, this paper intends to understand how landscape and local contexts shaped human-pig relationships and trajectories of domestication and management during this critical period in Chinese prehistory.

Cite this Record

Neolithic Pigs and People along China's Fertile Arc: Regional Expression and Domestication. Ximena Lemoine. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445371)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 70.4; min lat: 17.141 ; max long: 146.514; max lat: 53.956 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22435