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《Progress In Geography》 2001-02
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A Discussion on the Effects of Deteriorated Environment Event on the Neolithic Culture of China, around 5 000 a BP

ZHU Yan 1,2 , CHEN Fa hu 2, ZHANG Jia wu 2, AN Cheng bang 2 (1 College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070 China; 2 National Key Laboratory of the West Environmental System, Lanzhou University, L  
A number of environmental records reveal that there was a rapid environmental deterioating event all over the world ca 5000 a BP. During this period, there was a movement of vegetations zone to south in the southern China, lower sea level along the coast in the southern and eastern China, and desertification in some sites of northern China. Meanwhile, there was a fargoing regradation or discontinuity of Neolithic culture in China. Furthermore, we have noticed some special clues which would help us to insure the result that deteriorated environment caused deteriorating of planting plants. For example, comparisons between early and late epochs of ca 5000 a BP. find that the sites number of the millet dud out declined in Yellow River drainage area; just only straw and shuck of paddy were discovered in the archaeological sites without rice in Yangtse River delta; the activities of fishing hunting were less, yet activities of feeding domestic animal were more all over China ca 5000 a BP. At the same time, there were also many records of the state of culture development consistent with the environmental changes all over the world. We propose that the degradation and discontinuity of Neolithic culture was caused by the deteriorated environmental conditions. It may be the environmental changes that affected the prehistoric culture. Vegetations are the nutrition resources of human. The past global changes (PAGES) have validated that climatic changes is at bottom of the changes of ecological system. The change of ecological system caused the changes of vegetations that affected the life of human directly, and hence, caused the changes of Neolithic culture. The role of the deteriorating environmental conditions affecting the Neolithic culture was in two folds. The first is that it boosted the development of Neolithic culture in some extents as the amplitude of environmental changes were small, because the environmental changes curtailed natural yield per unit area of nutrition resources and human were compelled to invent and improve techniques to raise per unit yield to fit their needs in food. The second is that it could bring about the discontinuity of Neolithic culture when the amplitude of environmental changes was so large that vegetations were destroyed entirely and human, losing their nutrition resources completely, had to migrate to find new nutrition resources. The amplitude of environmental changes was smaller in the southern China than that in the northern, ca 5000 a BP., so the Neolithic culture showed regradation in southern China and more discontinuity of Neolithic culture appeared in northern because the nutrition resources were dried up as large area of land was desertificated.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金资助项目 (49871 0 72 ) ;; 国家自然科学基金重点项目 (49731 0 1 0 ) ;; “973”国家重点基础研究发展规划资助项目 (
【CateGory Index】: X24
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