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North China's farming-pastoral ecotone formed 4,500 years ago: research

(Xinhua)    09:22, August 07, 2020

Chinese archaeologists have found that the farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China, a key area for studying the interaction of Eurasia and China's Central Plain, was formed around 4,500 years ago, a recent study showed.

The research, lasting for over a decade, was conducted at archaeological sites in Yulin city, northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The sites are located in the ecotone, with the pastoral area of the Eurasian prairie in the northwest, and the farming area in the southeast.

Shaanxi provincial institute of archaeology and Yulin archaeological research teams excavated more than 30 Neolithic sites in the area, initially establishing the sequences of cultural development from late Yangshao culture to late Longshan culture about 5,000 to 4,000 years ago.

Human and animal bones and information on plants had been collected from these sites, according to Hu Songmei, a researcher of Shaanxi provincial institute of archaeology.

Researchers found that the bones of domestic animals such as sheep and cattle species started to increase in numbers at these sites about 4,500 to 4,300 years ago and were in a majority during late periods of the Longshan culture and early periods of the Xia Dynasty (about 4,300 to 3,800 years ago).

"The changes in animal species and the proportions of domestic animals showed a process featuring a declining agricultural economy and a rising husbandry economy, during which a farming-pastoral ecotone was gradually formed in northern China and has existed to this today," Hu said.

Archaeologists believe that the meat recipes for people living in this area also changed from using wild animals to domestic animals.

"The study of cultural and economic patterns of the farming-pastoral ecotone of northern China will help understand the interactions and integrations between Eurasia and China's Central Plain," Hu said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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