Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 660–664 | Cite as

Palaeodietary study of Sanxingcun Site, Jintan, Jiangsu

  • Hu YaoWu Email author
  • Wang GenFu 
  • Cui YaPing 
  • Dong Yu 
  • Guan Li 
  • Wang ChangSui 


C and N stable isotope ratios of 19 human bones in Sanxingcun Site, Jintan, Jiangsu Province, were measured to explore the lifestyle and social economic structure. Although the bone collagen degraded to different extents, the atomic ratio of C/N was located in the range of 2.9–3.6, indicating that they were preserved very well. Average δ13C value (20.05±0.21‰), average δ 15N value (9.69±0.33‰) and poor positive correlation between each other suggested that rice agriculture was dominant with hunting-fishing supplemented in human lifestyle. Poor negative correlation between δ 15N values and C3 percentages of foods implied relative independence of rice agriculture and hunting-fishing. Compared to Hemudu Site and Qingpu Site, rice agriculture was developed further, but hunting-fishing decreased. The mode for people in Sanxingcun Site to get the meat was still in the initial exploitation.


palaeodiet Yangtze River valley stable isotope analysis bone contamination rice agriculture hunting-fishing 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Hu Y, Yang X, Wang C. Review on palaeodietary study. In: Wang C S & Zuo J, eds. Proceedings of National Archaeometry Symposium (in Chinese), 2nd ed. Hefei: Press of University of Science and Technology of China, 2000. 51–58Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zhang X. Application of elemental and isotopic analyses of ancient humans to study palaeodiet. Acta Anthropol Sin (in Chinese), 2003, 22(1): 75–85Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Van der Merwe N J. Carbon isotopes, photosysthesis and archaeology. Am Sci, 1982, 70: 596–606Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Van der Merwe N J, Roosevelt A C, Vogel A C. Isotopic evidence for prehistoric subsistence change at Parmana, Veneznela. Nature, 1981, 292: 536–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kohn J M. You are what you eat. Science, 1999, 15: 335–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    DeNiro M J, Epstein S. Influence of diet on the distribution of carbon isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta, 1978, 42: 495–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ambrose S H, Norr L. Isotopic composition of dietary protein and energy versus bone collagen and apatite: purified diet growth experiments. In: Lambert J B, Grupe G, eds. Molecular Archaeology of Prehistoric Human Bone. Berlin: Springer, 1993. 1–37Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bocherens H, Fizet M, Mariotti A. Diet, physiology and ecology of fossil mammals as inferred from stable carbon and nitrogen isotope biogenchemistry: implications for Pleistocene bears. Palaeogeogr Palaeocl, 1994,107: 215–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ambrose S H, Katzenberg M A. Biogeochemical Approaches to Paleodietary Analysis. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publisher, 2000. 23–28Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Richards, M P. A brief review of the archaeological evidence for Palaeolithic and Neolithic subsistence. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2002, 56: 1270–1278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cai L, Qiu S. Measurement of carbon 13 and palaeodietary research. Archaeology (in Chinese). 1984,10: 945–955Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhang X, Wang J, Xi Z, et al. Palaeodietary research. Archaeology (in Chinese). 2003, 2: 62–75Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hu Y, He D, Dong Y, et al. Stable isotopic analysis on human bones in Xigongqiao site, Tengzhou, Shandong. Quat Sci (in Chinese), 2005, 25(5): 561–567Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hu Y, Burton J H, Wang C. Elemental analysis on Jiahu site. Acta Anthropol Sin (in Chinese), 2005, 24(2): 158–165Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hu Y, Wang C. Palaeodietary researches on some Chinese archaeological sites. Agricul Archaoel (in Chinese), 2005, 3: 49–55Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hu Y, Ambrose S H, Wang C. Stable isotopic analysis on human bones in Jiahu site. Sci China Ser D-Earth Sci, in pressGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Joint archaeological team in Sanxingcun, Jiangsu. Neolithic Sanxingcun site in Jintan, Jiangsu Province. Cultural Relics (in Chinese), 2004, 2: 4–27Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Han K. Skeleton research on Jiangsu. Neolithic Sanxingcun site in Jintan, Jiangsu Province. Southeastern Culture (in Chinese), 2003, 9: 15–21Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ambrose S H. Preparation and characterization bone and tooth collagen for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. J Archaeo Sci, 1990,17: 431–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Price T D, Blitz J, Burton J H. Diagenesis in prehistoric bone: problems and solutions. J Archaeo Sci, 1992,19: 513–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hu Y, Wang C, Zuo J, et al. XRD and Raman spetra of hydroxylapatite in ancient human bones. Acta Biophys Sin (in Chinese), 2001, 17(4): 621–627Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ambrose S H, Butler B M, Hanson D H, et al. Stable isotopic analysis of human diet in the Marianas Archipelago, Western Pacific. Am J Phys Anthropol, 1997, 104: 343–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    DeNiro M J. Post-mortem preservation of alteration of in vivo bone collagen isotope ratios in relation to palaeodietary reconstruction. Nature, 1985, 317: 806–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zhang Q, Zhu C. Preliminary study on palaeoenvironmental change for 7000 years in Sanxingcun district, Jiangsu. Bulletin of Shandong Normal University (in Chinese), 2000, 15(3): 279–284Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    McGovern P E, Zhang J, Zhang Z, et al. Fermented beverages of pre-and protohistoric China. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2004, 101: 17593–17598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tieszen L L, Fagre T. Carbon isotopic variability in modern and archaeological maize. J Archaeo Sci, 1993, 20: 25–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cui Y, Hu Y, Chen H, et al. Stable isotopic analysis on human bones in Zongri site. Quat Sci (in Chinese), 2006, 26(4): 604–611Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Pechenkina A, Ambrose S H, Ma X, et al. Reconstructing northern Chinese Neolithic subsistence by isotopic analysis. J Archaeo Sci, 2005, 32: 1176–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zhang Z. Rice agriculture origin in middle and lower Yangzi River. Agricul Archaeol (in Chinese), 1998, 1: 206–211Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Yuan J. Discussion on the style for Neolithic people in China to get meat resource. Acta Archaeol Sin (in Chinese), 1999, 1: 1–22Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hu YaoWu 
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wang GenFu 
    • 2
  • Cui YaPing 
    • 3
  • Dong Yu 
    • 3
  • Guan Li 
    • 3
  • Wang ChangSui 
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Scientific History and ArchaeometryGraduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Cultural Relics and MuseologyNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Scientific History and ArchaeometryUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

Personalised recommendations