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Letting the stones speak: An interdisciplinary survey of stone collection and construction at Liangzhu City, prehistoric Lower Yangtze River

Wang, N; Dong, C; Xu, H; Zhuang, Y; (2020) Letting the stones speak: An interdisciplinary survey of stone collection and construction at Liangzhu City, prehistoric Lower Yangtze River. Geoarchaeology 10.1002/gea.21793. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Our interdisciplinary investigation of the stone collection and construction process of Liangzhu City walls offers important evidence to understand the engineering and organization behind the construction. We examined spatial distributions, physical and petrological characteristics of the stones discovered from our excavations of representative wall sections. These results were compared with similar aspects as well as sedimentation contexts and availability of the surveyed stones from the surrounding regions to identify the source areas for the stone collection. We developed criteria based on physical and petrological characteristics and spatial distribution of stones for the identification of construction units and estimated the volume of stones for each unit. We concluded that even though the overall scale of stonework construction was enormous, the actual tasks of stone collection and construction were likely completed by small individual working groups. Liangzhu workers preferred to collect directly available, hand‐portable stones from source areas. However, some areas with suitable stone sources were neglected by Liangzhu workers. The total workforce may have followed a central organization, and many groups likely worked simultaneously. Through the repeated efforts of numerous small working groups, Liangzhu society constructed a massive, multicomponent infrastructure. Our study holds implications for wider archaeological research of ancient stone architecture.

Type: Article
Title: Letting the stones speak: An interdisciplinary survey of stone collection and construction at Liangzhu City, prehistoric Lower Yangtze River
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/gea.21793
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21793
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Authors. Geoarchaeology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: City walls, Liangzhu, Lower Yangtze River, Neolithic, petrology, stone collection
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096843
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