Modeling Hunter-Gatherers of China
CHEN Sheng-qian(Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044)
To study adaptations of prehistoric hunter-gatherers, archaeologists almost fully depend on unearthed materials that are generally incomplete, and archaeologists cannot observe the past process of human behavior. Modeling with controlled data ideally provides a useful research tool to reconstruct behavioral patterns of hunter-gatherers. This paper bases on the modeling method of Binford (2001), starts from 431 weather station data of China, and then constructs the habitat and subsistence variables of the assumed hunter-gatherers. Incorporated with the frame of reference from ethnographic hunter-gatherers, it becomes possible to project and predict the adaptive changes of hunter-gatherers in ecological systems within present climatic variables of China. The meaning of this paper lies in a new perspective that it used, to macroscopically view the adaptive patterns of hunter-gatherers. It tentatively defines nine cultural-ecological regions that may stimulate future research of prehistoric hunter-gatherers from such a perspective. Moreover, it presents a theoretical explanation and prediction on origins of food production in China.