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Subsistence Patterns Associated with Shell Middens from the Pre-Qin Period in the Coastal Region of China

  • Luo ZhaoEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Archaeology of Asia-Pacific Navigation book series (AAPN, volume 1)

Abstract

During the pre-Qin period, the subsistence patterns from nearly 500 shell middens in the coastal region of China fall into the following three categories: fishing-hunting-foraging, mixed, and agricultural. Before about 7,000 years ago the fishing-hunting-foraging pattern was predominant. However, around that date increasing food production, animal domestication and farming of crops becomes more visible in the coastal shell middens, indicating a shift in subsistence patterns toward the mixed type. During this period the level of food production in the northern region was also significantly higher than in the south. Only the Beiqian Site, in the Jimo County of Shandong, contained evidence of an agricultural pattern of subsistence. The emergence of greater shellfish consumption signalled local adaptations to the environment during this period. The subsequent transformation and disappearance of subsistence patterns from shell middens thus relates closely to local levels of agriculture and food production, as well as the cultural context and social complexity of the time.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Dr. Wu Chunming for inviting me to join the international conference, “The prehistoric maritime silk road: new research on Neolithic seascapes of East Asia” at Xiamen (October 29–November 2, 2017). I am also indebted to Mr. Li Yan and Dr. Fu Lin for their reviews and comments on this paper.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shanghai Cultural Heritage Conservation and Research CentreShanghaiChina

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