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Thread: Recent developments in aDNA and Interpretation in China

  1. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by Richardrli View Post
    In 2015 there was a paper (well, really only an abstract) suggesting a pre-Yayoi but post-Jomon migration of Hmong(!) people into Japan. Does anyone know what results came of it? This was very surprising to me, are there any evidence either historical or archaeological of this supposed migration wave at all?
    Probably meant rice farmers who migrated to Japan. Hmong were just one of their descendants

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  3. #122
    Registered Users

    Came across a quite interesting paper today when looking for information on the earliest neolithic Chinese sites -

    This is really talking about the emergence of earliest agriculture in Northeast Asia between 8000BCE - 6000BCE (10-8kya), earlier than cultures under discussion for most of the thread.

    They suggest "Semi-permanent settlements and domesticated broomcorn millet emerged abruptly in the western Loess Plateau at Dadiwan by 7.0 ka with no local hunter-gatherer ancestry. We propose that the intensive plant specialization required for domestication and incipient agriculture emerged first in the desert margins north of the Yellow River and migrated southwards to the more humid and fertile floodplains of the Loess Plateau west of the Liu Pan Mountains, perhaps in response to increasing aridity and climatic instability during the Early Holocene".

    Relevant Excerpts:

    "Late Pleistocene – Early Holocene Prehistory of North China

    The archeology of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene is less well documented in north China than in the Near East, Mesoamerica or South America, but is not the mystery it was just two decades ago, when the late K.C. Chang’s (1986) final treatment of ancient China appeared. Since then, one of the most significant published contributions available to western scholars has been the synthetic treatment of hunter-gatherer and early agricultural sites, assemblages and radiocarbon dates compiled by Lu (1999).

    Her work underscored the importance of bridging the temporal gap that has long frustrated attempts to establish a convincing link between the youngest known Late Pleistocene Paleolithic assemblages and the oldest known Middle Neolithic examples of early millet agriculture, traditionally divided into three geographical complexes: Peiligang, Cishan and Dadiwan (An, 1988; Fig. 1; 1991). More recently, other roughly contemporaneous, early agricultural complexes have been identified at Houli, along the eastern-most reaches of the Yellow River, and at Xinle and Xinglongwa in northeast China (Guo, 1995; Underhill, 1997; Yan, 1999; Shelach, 2000). General outlines of Chinese culture history classify these early agricultural complexes as ‘‘Middle Neolithic,’’ reserving the ‘‘Early Neolithic’’ designation for a suspected, but largely unidentified transitional period between foraging and farming (Cohen, 1998; Yan, 1999; Cohen, 2002).

    The material evidence used to justify the ‘‘agricultural’’ classification of specific sites varies widely. In some cases, the designation is based on the presence of domesticated plant or animal taxa; in others, it is based simply on the presence of ceramics or architectural features that resemble those found at sites with known domesticates (see Lu, 1999). Recent efforts have focused on establishing the degree of agricultural subsistence in Middle and Late Neolithic China on the basis of stable isotope chemistry (Zhang et al., 2003; Pechenkina et al., 2005) and skeletal biometry and paleopathology (Jackes and Gao, 1994; Smith, 2005).
    At this point, archeological evaluations of the degree or intensity of agricultural subsistence during the Neolithic are just beginning in China. However, with few exceptions, the Middle Neolithic culture areas of north China are viewed as sedentary or semi-sedentary agricultural complexes with domesticated plants and animals along with other markers of intensive plant use such as pottery and ground-stone. None are considered strictly hunters and gatherers.

    The first two classically Middle Neolithic complexes of north China, Peiligang and Cishan, are lowland centers (<650 m.a.s.l.), sitting on the middle reach of the Yellow River. Together with Houli, they are often seen as being connected to Late Pleistocene lithic assemblages 200–300 km to the east (e.g., Xiachuan and Xueguan; Chen, 1984; Chen and Olsen, 1990; Lu 1999) or Early Holocene sites 300–500 km to the north (e.g., Nanzhuangtou; Guo and Li, 2002).

    Noting the co-occurrence of millet and rice remains at Jiahu, a site belonging to the Peiligang cultural horizon, some authors propose that millet domestication is an outgrowth of earlier, rice-centered agricultural systems that originate well south of the Yellow River drainage (Cohen, 2002; Bellwood, 2005). While this remains an attractive, tentative hypothesis for the origin of millet-based agricultural systems located along the middle reaches of the Yellow River and the north China Plain, it does little to explain the near synchronous appearance of millet-based systems at Dadiwan (700–800 km northwest of Jiahu) or at Xinle and perhaps Xinglongwa (1200–1300 km to the northeast).

    In contrast to the lowland agricultural centers of the central and eastern Yellow River drainage, Dadiwan is an upland center, on the upper Wei River in the southwestern Loess Plateau (CPAM 1981; CPAM 1982; Zhang and Zhou, 1985). The Dadiwan-type site, the oldest of the complex (sometimes termed Laoguantai), sits at an elevation of about 1800 masl, on the uppermost Wei, more than 700 km west of Peiligang and Cishan. The difference in elevation and their geographical separation makes it improbable that the Dadiwan complex shares its roots with the assemblages believed potentially ancestral to Cishan and Peiligang. Upland Dadiwan is much more closely connected to the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene upland complexes of the upper Yellow River, in the southern Mongolian Plateau, 300–400 km to the north, than to more distant Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene sites like Xueguan (490 km), Xiachuan (560 km) and Nanzhuangtou (970 km). The cultivars, too, were probably different. Dadiwan is the probable location of the domestication of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum; Underhill, 1997, p. 121; Yan, 1992, p. 117; Cohen, 1998, p. 22; Shelach, 2000, p. 380), which ripens faster and is more tolerant of cold and drought than foxtail millet (Setaria italica; Baltensperger, 1996), which is more suited to the warmer, moister north China Plain"

    "The Gap in the Record

    The absence of Early Holocene dates in the northern part of our study area is probably a function of our project design; we did not date likely Early Holocene sites. The same cannot be said for the southern part of the study area. The dearth of known Early Holocene sites here does not reflect either sampling error or lack of effort. The Gansu Institute of Archaeology has records for 3007 sites that together present 3601 cultural components in the broader Dadiwan region (102.4–108.7 E, 33.5–37.2 N; Table 1). Of these, none is Early Neolithic.

    This, and the dearth of earlier Paleolithic and Late Paleolithic sites ( just 19 in total, all single component), makes it most improbable that the agricultural Dadiwan complex (i.e., Middle Neolithic) emerged from a local hunter-gatherer base. That Dadiwan sites, on the other side of this temporal gap, are so rare (three in total), and at the same time all multicomponent (with Yangshao and later elements), attests instead to a trajectory of continuous agricultural development whose local roots are no deeper than Dadiwan itself. The absence of human occupation in the Dadiwan region during the Early Holocene is hard to explain, but wetland-swamp deposits indicating the onset of conditions that would have been highly attractive to hunter-gatherers are a recurrent signature in stratigraphic sections 7.0–5.5 ka throughout the western Chinese Loess Plateau, denoting a warm-wet climax within what Feng et al. (2004) term the Mid-Holocene Megahumid event. This mountainous region would have been much less attractive in the absence of these extensive wetlands.

    The Dadiwan regional chronology thus repeats the familiar north China pattern, noted long ago (e.g., An, 1988, Fig. 1) and commented upon by Lu (1999): the interval 10.0–8.0 ka is remarkably under-represented and the ‘‘Early Neolithic’’ of north China’s culture history essentially non-existent. Radiocarbon data are somewhat deceiving in this sense: of the 118 reliable dates we have been able to assemble for all of north China that fall between 14.0 and 6.0 ka, no fewer than 11 (9.3%) are between 10.0 and 8.0 ka. While this is still less than the frequency of dates falling in this interval in Near East (264, 53%) and Japan (21, 25%) assembled for rough comparison, a temporal gap is not clearly apparent (Table 2, 3).

    However, 10 of these 11 north China dates are from just one site, Nanzhuangtou (Guo and Li, 2002). And, as our sites on the Upper Yellow River stand in relation to Dadiwan, 340 km to the south, so does Nanzhaungtou in relation to the early centers of millet agriculture on the north China Plain to the south, Houli (277 km), Cishan (305 km) and Peiligang (536 km): Nanzhaungtou articulates with these sites in time but not space. The situation in north China is better appreciated when our sample of radiocarbon dates (n = 118) are plotted in degrees latitude north (Fig. 5). Here the temporo-spatial separation between the sites representing the early centers of north China agriculture (Houli, Cishan, Peiligang, Xinle, and Dadiwan) and their potential ancestors, is clearly apparent. In none of these cases is there a credible evidence for the development of agriculture from a local base"

    "Middle Holocene Population Movement from the Upper Yellow River

    Although we suspect the process leading to agriculture at Cishan and Peiligang may have been similar, our major concern is with the Dadiwan complex. Given the dearth of Late Pleistocene–Early Holocene sites representing an intensive hunter-gatherer adaptation from which it might be locally derived, the most likely explanation for appearance of broomcorn millet agriculture at Dadiwan is that it was developed by intensive hunter-gatherers moving south, out of the deserts along the Upper Yellow River, in the northern part of our study area.

    While the evidence suggests a generally benign climate in these deserts during the Early Holocene (Shi et al., 2002), with summer monsoon episodes at 9.3 and 8.0 ka (in addition to the one at 10.1 ka previously mentioned; Madsen et al., 2003), these were interleaved with droughts (see Wu¨nnemann et al., this volume) and it is clear that the overall trend was toward longer dry spells and shorter wet ones, leading to a deep Mid-Holocene drought from 6.0 to 4.4 ka (Chen et al., 2003).

    In the most plausible scenario, former upper Yellow River desert dwellers, already familiar with wild broomcorn millet, probably drifted progressively southward with each drought, increasingly attracted by the highly productive wetland/swamp environments that became established in the river bottoms of the western Chinese Loess Plateau during the climax of the Mid-Holocene Megahumid (Feng et al., 2004). It is significant in this regard that the Megahumid component of the stratigraphic section at Dadiwan (7.5–5.0 ka; Fig. 6 in Feng et al., 2004) is characterized not by wetland/swamp deposits but rather by alternating couplets of wetland/ swamp and fluvial deposits attesting to frequent, but shortterm, flooding that would have produced disturbed mud flat microhabitats highly suited to agriculture, which likely explains why agriculture first appeared at Dadiwan specifically, at 7.0 ka. Since Dadiwan is agricultural from the start, however, these groups must have become lowlevel food producers before they arrived at Dadiwan, but after they left the upper Yellow River, where evidence of early agriculture is evidently lacking. It is quite thinkable that as these groups drifted further south into the unfamiliar Chinese Loess Plateau, they may have intensified their use of the fast ripening (60–90 days; Baltensperger, 1996) broomcorn millet in a small way, casually sowing it around fall-winter settlements, mainly as a ‘‘catch crop,’’ when wild resources were observed to be unpromising. The output of this low-level form of food production would have qualitatively increased simply as a consequence of its introduction to the muddy flood plains around Dadiwan, in short order transforming a minor fallback food into a reliable crop."

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