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Sustainable intensification of millet-pig agriculture in Neolithic North China

Yang, Jishuai; Zhang, Dongju; Yang, Xiaoyan; Wang, Weiwei; Perry, Linda; Fuller, Dorian Q; Li, Haiming; ... Chen, Fahu; + view all (2022) Sustainable intensification of millet-pig agriculture in Neolithic North China. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology , 5 pp. 780-786. 10.1038/s41893-022-00905-9. Green open access

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Abstract

The emergence of complex societies represents one of the major developments of human prehistory. Diverse agricultural strategies were implemented to produce the increased grain surplus necessary to allow the development of complex societies across the world. Little is known, however, about the millet–pig system that developed in Neolithic North China and ultimately underpinned the more complex societies, such as cities and states, in this region. Our data from studies of phytoliths and starches from pig dental residues and stable isotopes of millet grains excavated from the Dadiwan site demonstrate that an intensive crop–livestock system was in practice by at least 5,500 years ago. This novel system, characterized by the feeding of millet crop residues to pigs and the fertilization of millet fields with pig and/or human dung, enabled sustainable intensification in agriculture and fed the early complex societies in North China.

Type: Article
Title: Sustainable intensification of millet-pig agriculture in Neolithic North China
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00905-9
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-022-00905-9
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Agriculture, Archaeology, Sustainability
UCL classification: 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 > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10151920
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