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Animal procurement in the Late Neolithic of the Yangtze River Basin: Integrating the fish remains into a case-study from Tianluoshan

Zhang, Y; (2015) Animal procurement in the Late Neolithic of the Yangtze River Basin: Integrating the fish remains into a case-study from Tianluoshan. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis aims to investigate the subsistence economy in the late Neolithic Lower Yangtze River region, by studying the faunal remains from Tianluoshan (4,900- 4,000 Cal BC), and integrating with the other environmental data. Considering that the excavation at Tianluoshan is still proceeding, this research only includes the animal remains which were collected until the year of 2010. There are mainly two categories of animal remains in the Tianluoshan assemblage, fish and mammals, which are analysed separately due to the differences in retrieval strategies and research methodologies. The study of fish remains is emphasised, as it is a new area in the archaeological research about this area, and may contribute to broadening our understandings about subsistence. Standard zooarchaeological methods and approaches are applied in the study of both remains. The methods of body length reconstruction and seasonality assessment using skeletal parts are used to study three predominant fish in the assemblage, snakehead (Channa argus), crucian carp (Carassius auratus) and common carp (Capio capio), to infer the fishing strategies and scheduling. In addition, an extra step of building up a fish reference collection was necessary for this research. Three major mammalian species are studied in detail, which are sika deer, muntjac and pig. Cull patterns, body part representation and body dimensions are used to analyse them, however, for different purposes. As the most intensively captured cervids at Tianluoshan, sika deer and muntjac are used to interpret the hunting activities. On the other hand, the analysis of pig remains at Tianluoshan aims to identify its domestication status, since the process of pig domestication in the Lower Yangtze River region is still under debate. Finally, I will attempt to place the food resources back in the ecosystem, in order to interpret the subsistence economy with each element placed in a broader background, e.g. the interaction and inter-relationship between the use of mammals, fish, plants and environment. This study will contribute to understanding the subsistence economy of the middle Neolithic Age in the Lower Yangtze River region, especially regarding the use of aquatic resources and the development of pig domestication.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Animal procurement in the Late Neolithic of the Yangtze River Basin: Integrating the fish remains into a case-study from Tianluoshan
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473389
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