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Loess and early land use: geoarchaeological investigation at the early Neolithic site of Guobei, Southern Chinese Loess Plateau

Zhuang, Y; Bao, W; French, C; (2016) Loess and early land use: geoarchaeological investigation at the early Neolithic site of Guobei, Southern Chinese Loess Plateau. Catena , 144 pp. 151-162. 10.1016/j.catena.2016.05.005. Green open access

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Abstract

Prehistoric land use at the Guobei site and its relationship with the local environment are examined by applying OSL dating, micromorphological examination and geo-physical analysis. The majority of the OSL dates are of early to middle Holocene ages and are thus comparable to many OSL dates derived from other studies in the same region. According to the particle size analysis, silt-sized particles (2-60 μm) were predominant throughout the profiles examined. However, there are spatial and temporal variations of different size groups of particles throughout the profiles, which provide complementary information for the micromorphological interpretation. The total organic component of the samples examined through LOI is relatively high (all >. 2%), with those of the overlying Holocene deposits higher than those of the underlying Malan loess by about 0.2%. Moreover, in all three profiles, the highest organic contents appear in the palaeosols, confirming that there was greater organic accumulation during soil formation periods. The groundmass of most slides collected from the early to middle Holocene horizons displays a very homogeneous pattern, while the abundance and distribution of different kinds of pedo-features, mainly including clay textural, calcitic, iron/Mn and crustal features, vary greatly temporally and spatially. These different lines of information demonstrate diversified pedo/sedimentary processes due to variations in micro-environmental conditions and cultural activities. We discuss the importance of a palaeo-ecological perspective, allowed by the geoarchaeological study, to an improved understanding of the relationship between loess, changing hydrology, prehistoric farming practice and land use, and long-term landscape change in the Chinese Loess area. This will thus contribute to a comparison on the dynamic relationship between loess and prehistoric farming in other regions of the world such as Europe and North America.

Type: Article
Title: Loess and early land use: geoarchaeological investigation at the early Neolithic site of Guobei, Southern Chinese Loess Plateau
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2016.05.005
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2016.05.005
Language: English
Additional information: Crown Copyright © 2016 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Keywords: Loess; Early farming; Micromorphology; OSL dating; Geoarchaeology; China
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1493400
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