Norton, Dr. Christopher J., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Taphonomic and Chronometric Perspectives on the East Asian Early to Late Paleolithic Transition'
DR. CHRISTOPHER J. NORTON, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Taphonomic and Chronomteric Perspectives on the East Asian Early to Late Paleolithic Transition.' The nature of hominin-carnivore interactions is thought to be a key to the behavioural transition between archaic and modern humans. Taphonomic research is common in the Western Old World, but a paucity of such studies exists in East Asia. The taphonomic analysis of the Middle-Late Pleistocene Xujiayao site, that is associated with archaic Homo sapiens fossils (western Nihewan Basin, northern China), forms a base to develop interpretations of the nature of hominin-carnivore interactions during the Pleistocene in Northeast Asia. Preliminary analysis of the bone surface modifications (cut marks, percussion marks, tooth marks) of the long bones suggest initial access by hominins to the carcasses and secondary access by scavenging carnivores. Hominin behavioural evolution can only be confidently reconstructed if the chronometric age of the deposits are known and accepted by the scientific community. Xujiayao samples will be analyzed using optically stimulated luminescence to determine the age of the deposits. Bone samples from Zhoukoudian Upper Cave that are associated with the human burials and the Lower Recess are currently being analyzed using accelerator mass spectrometry. Results of these chronometric dating studies should be presented in the first half of 2007.
Norton, Christopher J., and Xing Gao. 2008 Hominin-Carnivore Interactions during the Chinese Early Paleolithic: Taphonomic Perspectives from Xujiayao. Journal of Human Evolution 55(1):164-178
Demeter, Dr. Fabrice, Musee de l'Homme, Paris, France - To aid research on 'Archaeological and Palaeontological Research on Upper Mekong River Terraces in Cambodia'
DR. FABRICE DEMETER, Musee de l'Homme, Paris, France, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Archaeological and Palaeontological Research on Upper Mekong River Terraces in Cambodia.' Mainland Southeast Asia has been the place of a great amount of fieldwork since the nineteenth century, nevertheless little is known about the humans of the Pleistocene period. This research project focused on the history and evolution of modern human migrations in the region, and was based on lithic typology from the Mekong River, particularly from Sre Sbau, which was resulted from research undertaken by French geologists in the 1960s. Preliminary results reveal that the majority of current Cambodian lithic typology of the Upper Mekong terraces is based on biased material. This study illustrates how earlier projects mistook geofacts for artifacts, and proposes buffer zones along the Mekong River where research should be restricted in order to minimize the risk of similar misidentifications occurring in the future.
Indrisano, Gregory G., U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Subsistence in Marginal Environments and its Correlations to Environmental Fluctuations and Changing Societal Complexity,' supervised by Dr. Katheryn M. Linduff
GREGORY G. INDRISANO, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received funding in November 2002 to aid research on 'Subsistence in Marginal Environments and its Correlations to Environmental Fluctuations and Changing Societal Complexity,' supervised by Dr. Katheryn M. Linduff. Full coverage pedestrian surface survey of 102 square kilometers on the northern shore of Daihai Lake, Liangcheng County, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, PRC, recorded the extent of ancient habitation from 2900 BCE to 1400 CE. The goal of the project was to systematically record the spatial extent as well as the artifact density and geographic setting of ancient habitation in this region through time. The northern shore of Daihai lake included more than 750 hectares of total occupation producing more than 17,800 sherds from the Laohushan, Zhukaigou, Warring States, Han Dynasty, Liao Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty Periods. Little or no settlement hierarchy is apparent in the settlement pattern for this region until it was integrated into the Central Plain polities during the Warring States Period. From the Warring States into the Han Dynasty Periods, strong settlement hierarchies develop as this region was integrated into the Han Dynasty. After a period of low population this area was once again integrated into the Central Plain Dynasties of the Liao and Yuan, where even further hierarchies develop, centered on the rich lacustrine environment on the shore of Daihai Lake. Another goal of the project was to investigate how these administrative hierarchies affected subsistence strategies in the past. Preliminary results suggest that many of these spatially extensive, administratively complex polities required intensive farming from the peasant populations to feed the large number of unproductive residents. This intensive farming brought people together into densely packed site hierarchies that left little room for herding activities, and the intensive agricultural practices would have limited the ability of farmers to practice mixed economies. If these preliminary results are supported by future analysis, then subsistence is more closely connected with the demands made on farmers by complex polities than by changes in environment.
Zhuang, Yijie, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Landscape Change and its Interaction with Prehistoric Human Activities- Geoarchaeological Investigation in North China,' supervised by Dr. Charles Andrew Ivey French
YIJIE ZHUANG, then a student at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2011, to aid research on 'Landscape Change and its Interaction with Prehistoric Human Activities: Geoarchaeological Investigation in North China,' supervised by Dr. Charles A.I. French. This study conducts geoarchaeological investigation on four early Neolithic sites in middle and lower Yellow River of North China. At the Cishan site -- a new dating project that pushes the earliest millet remains at the site back to 10,000 BP, or 2000 years earlier than previously thought -- has greatly stimulated archaeologists' enthusiasm in the search for the origin of agriculture in North China. The ongoing geoarchaeology at the site has contributed to the debate by providing geochronological evidence and detailed information concerning how these early farmers managed the landscape. The other three contemporary sites are dated to 8000-7000BP. Micromorphological examination and geo-physical analyses suggest a mixed pattern of land-use management at Guobei and Guantaoyuan in the middle Yellow River, which is also corroborated by a similar modern study in the same area using the same methods. Whereas at the lower Yellow River site (Yuezhuang) micromorphological and geo-physical analyses and settlement pattern study indicate that people were restricted to resource-rich environments, people were still frequently moving around in the landscapes and year-round occupation had not yet occurred. These conclusions chime with archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological studies that the establishment of agrarian landscapes in North China involves complicated processes.
Barton, Loukas William, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Human Diet and Domestication: A Critical Evaluation of Low-Level Food Production in Northwest China,'supervised by Dr. Robert Lawrence Bettinger
LOUKAS WILLIAM BARTON, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Human Diet and Domestication: A Critical Evaluation of Low-Level Food Production in Northwest China,' supervised by Dr. Robert Lawrence Bettinger. Stable isotope ratios (?13C and ?15N) extracted from animal remains are used here to identify plant and animal domestication in northwest China. The method is applicable to all cases where domesticated and wild plants differ photosynthetically. In northwest China, the earliest domesticated millets (C4 photosynthesis) are distinguishable from most all other plants (C3 photosynthesis). Here, a dominant C4 signature in animals indicates year round consumption and therefore storage of a plant otherwise available only seasonally. Dominant C4 signatures correlate well with high ?15N values suggesting that animals consuming stored grains also eat more meat. Together, these markers provide a reliable means of identifying intensive management of both plants and animals by humans. The method is illustrated by archaeological remains from Dadiwan, the earliest Neolithic site in northwest China. From 7900-7300 BP, the people at Dadiwan were feeding millet to their dogs year round, but eating wild pigs, deer, and cattle. A thousand years later, the site was reoccupied by people locked into an intensive symbiotic relationship with cultivated millet, and domestic pigs and dogs. Regional discontinuity between the two phases suggests that the early low-level agriculture in northwest China was abandoned soon after its initial development.
Barton, Loukas. 2009. Agricultural Origins and the Isotopic Identity of Domestication in Northern China. PNAS 106(14):5523-5528.
Bettinger, Robert L., Loukas Barton, and Christopher Morgan. 2010. The Origins of Food Production in North China: A Different Kind of Agricultural Revolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 19(1):9-21.
Dong, Yu, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Eating Identity: Millet Versus Rice Consumers in Neolithic Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Stanley H. Ambrose
YU DONG, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Eating Identity: Millet versus Rice Consumers in Neolithic Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Stanley Ambrose. The Dawenkou Neolithic Culture (4300-2600 BC) in Shandong, northern Jiangsu and Anhui Provinces, China, provides insights into the origin of complex stratified society. The initial spread of rice from southern China to the millet agriculture-based societies of the Yellow River Valley occurred during this era. Analyses of burial style and richness of mortuary offerings, chemical profiles of human remains, and radiocarbon dating were performed to understand these fundamental changes. Radiocarbon dating results indicate that three investigated Dawenkou sites dated to 2800-2500 BC, while the fourth one is a few centuries later. Dietary and burial customs can be compared among three contemporary communities, and over a few centuries. Analysis of human chemical profiles (stable isotope analysis) suggests that the spread of rice agriculture did not occur till the end of period, starting with sites located further south. Females might have played a special role in the course. Rice consumption could have been used to publicly differentiate certain individuals from other social classes, hence facilitated the process of social stratification. Burial analysis is still underway to understand the relationship between diet, status, social organization, gender relations and complexity at Dawenkou sites.
Janz, Dr. Lisa, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Diet Breadth and Landscape Ecology in Arid Northeast Asia'
Preliminary abstract: The end of the last Ice Age represents a period of substantial climatic and environmental change. As such, it is not surprising that it also marks a major shift in human diet and land-use - the Broad Spectrum Revolution marks a time when humans began using a wider range of foods, and intensively exploiting plants and smaller animals. This change in subsistence is believed to have altered forager economies and demography in a way that contributed substantially to the origins of agriculture. However, traditional theories holding resource depression as the cause of this change in human foraging are increasingly criticized as new archaeological data emerges. This research moves beyond generalized climate change scenarios and focus explicitly on the relationship between human adaptation and concurrent ecosystem change. The geographic focus, arid Northeast Asia, is a region where broad spectrum foraging coincides with dramatic environmental changes, particularly in terms of hydrology and the distribution of vegetation. Excavation of post-glacial hunter-gatherer sites in eastern Mongolia will provide multiple lines of evidence for local paleoecology and subsistence, to test the hypothesis that the Broad Spectrum Revolution was stimulated by increasingly patchy resource distribution rather than resource depression.
Pan, Yichung, U. of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'The Colonisation and Abandonment of Neolithic Islandscapes: A Case Study from the Penghu Archipelago, Taiwan,' supervised by Dr. Keith Dobney
Preliminary abstract: This project aims to reinvestigate the evidence for the early occupation and exploitation of the Penghu archipelago, Taiwan by Neolithic settlers between 5000 to 4000B.P and to explore if the islands were abandoned by end of the Neolithic. By combining zooarchaeological, geoarchaeological and GIS approaches the project will enable the key relationships between site location, resource availability/exploitation and environmental factors to be established in order to throw new light on the important role this relatively unknown but key island archipelago played in the early expansion of Austronesian-speaking peoples from mainland ISEA. This research will apply and modify archaeological theory of both island and landscape archaeology and will help highlight and promote the combination of advanced GIS, geoarchaelogical and island zooarchaeological research within Taiwanese archaeology.
Bauer, Radhika L., U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Animals in Social Life during the South Indian Early Historic Period,' supervised by Dr. Gregory L. Possehl
RADHIKA L. BAUER, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in November 2004 to aid research on 'Animals in Social Life during the South Indian Early Historic Period,' supervised by Dr. Gregory L. Possehl. Funding aided completion of doctoral fieldwork research at the Iron Age (c. 1000 - 300 BC) site of Kadebakale, Karnataka, India during the period of December 10, 2004 through May 30, 2005. This research was aimed to address two research questions: 1) what animal-based subsistence strategies were Iron Age inhabitants participating in?; and 2) are there differences in consumption patterns throughout the site that relate to various social practices? Towards this end, analysis of archaeological faunal remains took place in the field laboratory took place over a period of 12 weeks. This work sought to identify and describe the Kadebakale faunal assemblage by counting, weighing, measuring, and recording attributes such as exposure to heat and the presence (or absence) of modifications or pathologies. Species identifications were secured over a period of four weeks spent using the comparative collection housed at Deccan College (Maharashtra) in order to determine the most precise level of identity that could be attributed to a bone. In addition, reference to a photographic and morphometric database of South Indian fauna curated in US museums (created by the author in 2004) were used to identify species that were not represented in the Deccan College material. Approximately eight weeks were spent interviewing and observing pastoralists and fisherfolk in the Tungabhadra region to understand local ecology and animal husbandry. This research provided regionally-specific information about herd management, hunting of wild animals, and the ecology of endemic taxa.