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Settlement Spatial Organization in Central Plains China during the Period of Transition from Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age (c. 2500-1050 B.C.)

Abstract : Settlement spatial organization in China has yet to be intensively investigated for the critical transition between the end of the Neolithic to the beginning of the Bronze Age, two periods which usually constitute separate fields in Chinese academia. In order to conduct a thorough study of the settlement patterns during this period, this dissertation synthesizes the vast and growing corpus of excavation and mapping data of archaeological sites (within a database of more than 6000 sites) in order to highlight variations of spatial occupation and changes of population dynamics. This includes a comprehensive definition of the chronological and geographical parameters of these periods that integrates previous research with a systematic GIS database, generating an original atlas of more than 150 maps. A statistical and spatial analysis of settlement distribution within the entire Central Plains throughout the Longshan, Erlitou and Shang period shows the development and fall of regional centers, and, to some extent, the passage from a polycentric political organization (Longshan) to a more centered one (Erlitou and Shang). The spatial analysis and a special focus on the natural features and resources is used as a basis for the reconstruction of the exchanges network that structured the human occupation. A subsequent regional-scale analysis allows us to analyze spatial occupation density and demographic evolution. This local history of settlement reveals the important differences between the different region of the middle and lower course of the Yellow River between the second half of the 3 nd millennium BC and the end of the 2 nd millennium BC. The landscape and natural resources have been exploited in very different ways by human groups in the Central Plain, from Shandong to the Wei River valley, from the Taihang mountains to Nanyang Basin. These analyses help to build new paradigms for understanding multi-rhythm temporality in early China and redefine the main characteristics of the significant transition period between the end of the Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age through a mutli-scalar perspective.
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Contributor : Pauline Sebillaud Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, January 25, 2020 - 5:31:42 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 3:58:17 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : hal-01461624, version 1


Pauline Sebillaud. Settlement Spatial Organization in Central Plains China during the Period of Transition from Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age (c. 2500-1050 B.C.). Early China, 2015, 38, pp.253. ⟨hal-01461624⟩



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