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Animal subsistence of the Yangshao period in the Wei river valley: a case-study from the site of Wayaogou in Shaanxi Province, China

Wang, H.; (2011) Animal subsistence of the Yangshao period in the Wei river valley: a case-study from the site of Wayaogou in Shaanxi Province, China. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the subsistence economy of the Yangshao period in the Wei River Valley, how it changes through time and how it relates to environmental change and changing social complexity. The research is based on faunal analysis at the Wayaogou site (6,500-6,000 BP) in Shaanxi Province, China. Pig and sika deer remains are studied in detail since they dominate the faunal assemblage. For the pig, its domesticated status is documented and its husbandry strategies are explored in detail; for sika deer, human hunting practices are investigated. Based on this, the subsistence system, especially the balance between pig husbandry and sika deer hunting practices, is addressed. Meanwhile, the utilization patterns of animal bones are investigated using contextual analysis, to understand human refuse discard behaviour and residential strategies. Standard zooarchaeological methods and approaches are used in this study. For pig, size change, cull patterns, body part representation, and archaeological evidence is used to infer its domesticated status, husbandry regime and utilization. This study is enhanced by Linear Enamel Hypoplasia (LEH) analysis, which is applied to pigs from Wayaogou and other Neolithic sites in the Wei River valley, to explore further the environmental conditions and husbandry practices. For sika deer, the age structure, size change, body part representation and bone modifications provide information on human hunting strategies and selection, as well as other uses of the animal, such as for bone tools. Spatial analysis is undertaken to investigate the spatial distribution patterns of faunal remains from Wayaogou. Some special depositions and contexts are assessed to infer social meanings and implications of faunal remains. The animal subsistence study is put into a broader context in an attempt to understand the interactions between climate fluctuations, human responses, subsistence strategies and social development and decline throughout the Neolithic in this region.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Animal subsistence of the Yangshao period in the Wei river valley: a case-study from the site of Wayaogou in Shaanxi Province, China
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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