Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 687–700 | Cite as

Transmutation of ancient settlements and environmental changes between 6000–2000 aBP in the Chaohu Lake Basin, East China

  • Li Wu
  • Xinyuan Wang
  • Kunshu Zhou
  • Duowen Mo
  • Cheng Zhu
  • Chao Gao
  • Guangsheng Zhang
  • Lan Li
  • Li Liu
  • Weiguang Han


Based on the temporal-spatial distribution features of ancient settlement sites from the middle and late Neolithic Age to the Han dynasty in the Chaohu Lake Basin of Anhui Province, East China, using the methods of GIS combined with the reconstructed paleoenvironment by the records of lake sediment since Holocene, the transmutation of ancient settlements with response to environmental changes in this area has been discussed. Studies show that the main feature of transmutation of ancient settlements from the middle and late Neolithic Age to the Han Dynasty was that the distribution of settlements in this area changed from high altitudes to low ones and kept approaching the Chaohu Lake with the passage of time. These could be the response to the climate change from warm-moist to a relatively warm-dry condition during the middle Holocene, leading to the lake level fluctuations. The large area of exposed land provided enough space for human activities. These indicate that the above changes in geomorphologic evolution and hydrology influenced by climate conditions affected the transmutation of ancient settlements greatly. The distribution pattern of settlement sites was that the number of sites in the west was more than in the east. This pattern may be related to the geomorphologic conditions such as frequent channel shifting of the Yangtze River as well as flood disasters during the Holocene optimum. Therefore, climate change was the inducement of the transmutation of ancient settlements in the Chaohu Lake Basin, which exerted great influence on the distribution, expansion and development of the ancient settlements.


Chaohu Lake Neolithic Age Han Dynasty transmutation of settlements climate change 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xinyuan Wang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kunshu Zhou
    • 4
  • Duowen Mo
    • 5
  • Cheng Zhu
    • 1
  • Chao Gao
    • 2
  • Guangsheng Zhang
    • 6
  • Lan Li
    • 1
  • Li Liu
    • 2
  • Weiguang Han
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Territorial Resources and TourismAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuAnhui, China
  3. 3.Center for Earth Observation and Digital EarthCASBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Geology and GeophysicsCASBeijingChina
  5. 5.College of Urban and Environmental SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  6. 6.Department of Urban Construction and Environment ScienceWest Anhui UniversityLu’ anAnhui, China

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