Prof. REN Shinan, Research Fellow, former Director, Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 27
Wangfujing Street, Beijing, 100710, PR CHINA (Kaogu - Archaeology 1996:37-49. Transl. by Wing Kam Cheung; ed. by B.Gordon)
China has many Neolithic archaeological sites older than 5000 BC, but to understand their framework in space and time, let us briefly discuss the distribution and age of major sites.
Besides undated Neolithic ceramic sites in the Guangdong and Guangxi limestone areas, the earliest dated site is in Nanzhuangtou in Xushui, Hebei, where level 6 was compressed by layers atop immature Malan loess. Separation between layers 5 & 6 is black clay and sandy silt lake deposits of the W swamp margin of the N China Plain. In these two layers very few sherds occur, the great majority mixed with sand and ash. A few are sandy-red clay mixed with thick, loose shell. Most pots have straight mouths. Many animal and plant remains were found.
We only made two trial excavations in 1986-7, but with a tight C14 sequence and pollen, animal and plant analysis, we obtained very important dates from scanty material1. Eight dates were accurately determined by C14 (5730 year half-life). Layers 5 & 6 date 8560±110 (BK87075) to 7860±100 BC (BK87093; Beijing University), with mean exceeding the Daman tree ring chart adjustment. Using highly precise tree ring adjustment, the period should be between 10268-9692 BC & 8950-8438 BC, with upper and lower ranges about 10200-8400 BC. Taking the adjusted means of upper and lower ranges of variance, it should be between 9980-8694 BC or rounded to 10000-8700 BC. Another archaeological laboratory determined one date from layer 6 at 6850±108 BC (ZK2661), with adjustment to 7590-7490 BC; i.e., onset of the cooler drier Pleistocene. By jointly considering sequences of Nanzhuangtou and the later site, the Pleistocene-Recent boundary and the ZK2661 date, Nanzhuangtou is in the initial period, but more research is needed, plus cultural comparison to similar sites. S China's many Neolithic artifacts suggest earlier cultures, but its limestone and calciferous sandstone and absence of a series adjustment method for determining deviation precludes accurate C14dating. Differential fractionation from animals eating other animals and plants, plus human bones, may give older readings, while trees in limestone areas may appear older.2 In this area we have only 2 C14 samples unaffected by the early and late periods of Zengpiyan site with an age between 7050±120 (ZK911) & 5730±140 BC (ZK910), adjusted to 7949-7579 & 6440-6120 BC, or range of 7900-6100 BC and mean of 7764-6280 BC. This corresponds to the dated layer at Xianrendong, Paozitou, Nanning, and the later period of Wuangyandong, Kaifeng.
One Neolithic site is Pengtoushan culture, presently known only from its type site on the Liyang Plain on the N bank of the Li River, Li county, Hunan. Conventional C14 dating on charcoal, bamboo charcoal and organic matter in pottery gave 9 dates3, with accelerator mass spectroscopy (AMS) in pottery, another 15 dates4. Comparing both, C14 dated pottery is obviously old, as its age represents conversion from clay. Therefore, we should ignore unadjusted dates between 6500-7800 BC. There are also minor later dates at 5300 BC, etc., altered by pollution and obviously devious. Presently, the real age of Pengtoushan sites are 6250±200 (BK87050) to 5795±90BC (BK89017). A highly accurate table adjusts this backward to between 7195-6548 & 6424-6219 BC, with range of 7200-6200 BC and mean of 6872-6322 BC. Preliminary Pengtoushan age is from these sites.
There are four Yellow Basin cultures dating 6000-5000 BC, including Dadiwan or Laoguantai in the Guanzhong and Wei Basins of E Gansu and upper Han River S of Shanxi. Twenty C14 dates5 are between 5200±90 (BK80025) and 4515±120 BC (ZK0159), adjusted to 5960-5720 & 5340-5083 BC, with range of 6000-5000 BC and mean of 5840-5212 BC. Peiligang culture is mainly on the low hillock E of the site and the W Henan hills, but also in the Huang Huai Plain of S and middle Henan, and around Songshan; i.e., between Dabieshan in the S and Yellow River in the N. Twenty C14 dates are between 5495±200 (ZK0754) and 4905±110 BC (ZK0747), adjusted to 6230-5589 & 5640-5480 BC, with range of 6200-5500 BC and mean of 5910-5560 BC. Cishan culture is mainly in low mountains to the E by Taihengshan of the S Hebei and Huabei Plain. Its age is between 5405±100 (ZK0439) and 5110±100 BC (BK78029), adjusted to 6100-5960 & 5820-5630 BC, with range of 6100-5600 BC and mean of 6030-5725 BC. Houli culture6 in the Haidai area of the lower Yellow River has 2 sites and 6 dates between 5725±90 (BK91037) and 5016±70 BC (BK91036), adjusted to 6384-6179 & 5680-5582 BC, with range of 6300-5600 BC and mean of 6282-5631 BC.
Xinglongwa culture of N China concentrates in the Xiliao and Daling Basins S to Yinshan. Three sites have 12 C14 dates between 5520±115 (ZK1391) and 4653±107 BC (ZK2714), adjusted to 6211-5990 & 5438-5259 BC, with range of 6200-5300 BC and mean of 6100-5349 BC.
Two middle Yangtze cultures include Early Zao on the middle and lower Li, and lower Yuenshui and Xiangjiang Rivers, with concentration N of Li River, Li County. Two sites with 14 regular C14 and AMS dates are between 5260±110 (BK87046) and 4455±90 BC (XA2218), adjusted to 5961-5713 BC & 5256-5050 BC, with range of 5960-5050 BC and mean of 5837-5153 BC. Chengbeixi culture from Zigui to Zhijiang on the Yangtze W of Hubei and between W Hubei and Jianghan Plain has two sites with 4 C14 dates between 5020±127 (ZK2645) and 4850±80 BC (BK84028), adjusted to between 5740-5540 & 5619-5477 BC, with range of 5740-5400 BC and mean of 5640-5548 BC.
Several cultures in this stage are post-adjustment C14 aged earlier than 5000 BC: Beixin culture of Haidai between 4775±200 (ZK0632) and 3695±140 BC (ZK0640), adjusted to 5630-5243 & 4470-4167 BC; Shangzai (upper level) culture in the Ju Basin at the S foot of the Yinshan dates between 4630±120 (BK85077) and 4270±110 BC (BK84083), adjusted to between 5480-5230 & 5200-4802 BC; Xianle culture on the middle Liao is between 4670±150 (ZK0667) and 4195±120 BC (ZK0267), adjusted to 5490-5240 and 5048-4770 BC; similar Xiaceng (lower level) culture of Houwa (Xiaozhushan of S Liao) dates somewhat later; and Zhaobaogou culture on the upper Laoha and Daling Rivers date between 4270±85 (ZK2136) and 4095±90 BC (ZK2270), adjusted to between 5194-4847 & 4896-4678 BC.
Our ancestors had outstanding early material culture in 5000 BC, the most important time for reconstructing the Neolithic. Some objects remain the first found in China, paving the way for more inquiries. They also have far-reaching historical influence and a strong post-development foundation, such that we can outline several significant achievements:
A. First - Food and grain crops
The origin and growth of primitive agriculture is an important Neolithic topic. Pollen analysis of Nanzhuangtou's early Pleistocene level reflects rather cold dry climate, but warmer than the end of the Ice Age and giving more suitable human conditions. Pollen was mainly of grain, but we have not found actual plant remains. Co-occurring stone mortars and pestles show people used these tools for wild plants. The crux is displaying the important beginning of primitive agriculture.
1. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica)
In excavating Cishan in 1976-87, we found 80 rectangular storage areas (now 88) with decayed grain. Pile height was normally 0.3-2 m, but 10 piles were >2 m. The grey-image method confirms millet, some 109 m3 weighing 138,200 catties (1 m3 fresh millet averages 1286 catties). Considering possible error between real and estimate, 10,000 catties of millet in 88 cellars is credible8. Millet piles9 were also found in two Cishan culture rectangular pits in Niuwabao, Wuan.
Peiligang culture millet is in semi-subterranean square cellars in Xuchang's10 Dingzhuang sites, but seed was absent in completely carbonized husks. 1,000 carbonized seeds from Dingzhuang weigh 1.88 g. Converting by proportion of carbonized Dingzhuang millet, 1,000 grains of the second millet in original fresh condition weigh 3.02 gm.
Length, width and thickness of Dingzhuang excavated carbonized millet are 1.73x1.68x1.36mm vs. 1.61x1.58x1.18 mm for modern carbonized summer-planted millet. The growth season is long enough, sunlight sufficient, grain larger, quality good and output higher in modern Yellow River spring-cultivated millet. Output is lower for summer millet because the growth season is short, the grain smaller and quality slightly inferior. Generally, summer millet output is >20% less than spring millet. As Dingzhuang millet has high production like modern millet, it was probably spring-cultivated11.
Sawoli, Xinzheng is another Peiligang culture site where carbonized millet occurred in two excavations, the first in a clay pot in 197212 and the second while digging the culture level in 198213. Spot inspection in both suggested millet. The above Cishan and Peiligang culture crops date ca. 6000 BC.
As bran husks were put on semi-finished pottery to prevent adhesion, Beixin culture clay pots and bowls excavated in Teng County sites14 have their marks on their base. In a Pi County Daidunzi sublevel, carbonized millet was excavated15.
2. Broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum)
In April, 1978 some Dadiwan period 1 carbonized grain (ancient name mizi) was at the bottom of Qinan site H398. The Botany Research Institute of Gansu Teachers University first said it was foxtail millet. H398 excavation pit is large and flat-bottomed, with two red burnt earth residues. It had bone vessels, stone tools, 10 pots and 200 discarded stones. The pit bottom has rapeseed and millet, suggesting H398 originally was for special use.
The Peiligang Xinzheng re-excavation in April, 1978 yielded carbonized grain initially called foxtail millet17. Later, the Genetics Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave it local archaeological status, as well as a small rice variety differing from that of the middle and lower Yangtze River, but with certain traits awaiting further research.
B. Second - Vegetable crops
Daidiwan's period 1 H398 has co-occurring rape and millet with Brassica seed. The Botany Research Department of Gansu Teachers University show the rape is small colza type, while the leaf is used as food rather than oil.
C. Third - Domesticated fowl and animals
Nanzhuangtou's bottom level 6 had 19 bones of 3 possible domestic chickens. Wuan Cishan chicken38 is slightly larger than Cishan's and smaller than modern chicken. Sex traits show almost all are cock bone reflecting conscious choice, as hens were used for egg production and cocks for food, but cocks may have been used in religious rites. Cishan is China's earliest domestic chicken.
0ther Jiahu sites in the Peiligang area39 are Beixin archaeological sites with chicken bone, but domestication is unproven, as is Pleistocene chicken bone in a Xianrendong40, Wannian sublevel. In the Yangshou area, we found chicken bone in Beishouling Baoji, Banbo Xian, Jiangzhai Lintong and Longgangsi Nanzheng, plus Xian County Miaodigou period 2. Domestic chicken is important in Neolithic China because it is widespread in Hougang Anyang41, Baiying Tangming42 in Henan's Longshan culture; Anban Fufeng43 period 2 in the Keshengzhuang area; Xipoling Langzhou44 and Linjia Dongxiang45 in Majiayao style; Daiwenkou Taian, Wangyin Yanzhou46 and Daidunzi Pi County47, etc.
Presently, Nanzhuangtou layer 6 has the earliest Neolithic dog in N China. Its small size in Cishan with expanded forehead and shorter mouth suggests domestication. As seen in many smashed skulls, bone was generally broken48. 0ther than Jiahu in the Peiligang area and Daidunzi in the Beixin area, the Beiyou site in Xiaozhushan Changhai Liaoling had domestic dog bone49 midst a developed fishery and agriculture.
Pig and dog bone frequently co-occur in 5000 BC Neolithic remains. Nanzhuangtou pig was likely domesticated, Cishan pig was mainly subadult, while Xinglongwa dwellings had older full pig skulls50. Pig occurs in Jiahu, Peiligang, Shawoli, Zhongshan Shai51 in the Peiligang area, Xinle in the Xinle area; Dongjiabai Wenshang52, Wancheng Zouping53, Beixin, Erjiancun and Daidunzi in the Beixin area, etc. In addition, the short mouth of clay pigs in Peiligang Xinzheng, Xiaojingshan Zhangzhou and Shangzhe Pinggu sites reflect domesticity.
In S China, 1-2 year-old to adult pigs with 181 generally small fragile front teeth are prominent in upper & sub-levels56. Heavy 3rd molar wear is absent, the result of artificial raising and slaughter, with raising time prolonged. Firewood and stone piles also occur. Food plants include starch, fruit and melon, plus textile fiber, etc., the last worth attention. As culture evolved, plant quantity remained stable. The association of stone mortar, pestle, mussel knife and family pig possibly shows the primary stage of primitive agriculture.
Zaoshi Shimen57 and Hujiawuchang Linli in the Zaoshi area also had domestic pig bone, the second more than the first. Many bones are in Beiqiu Chenqiao Chaoan Guangdong58 sites on the S China seashore.
In the Yellow Basin, cow was in Cishan culture; Peiligang and Jiahu in the Peiligang area; and Beixin, Erjiancun and Dadunzi in the Beixin area. Cishan also has rather small oxbone, while the Dadunzi sublevel has buffalo. Cows were between wild and semi-domesticated in Banpo, Jiangzhai (ox), Beishouling (ox), Longgangsi (ox), Xiawanggang (buffalo), Dahecun59, Erlanggang60, Nanzhao, etc., in the Yangshao area and Miaodigou, Fengcun Yuanqu60, Huxizhuang Wugang62 in Miaodigou period 2. S of the Yellow River, cow bone continues at Sanliqiao, Wangchenggang, Baiying, Hougang, Dahan63, Wangyoufang64, Jiangou (buffalo)65, Dongxiafeng (ox)66 and Taosi in the Longshan area; Keshengzhuang (ox, buffalo), Zhaojialai Wugong, and Anban fufeng in the Keshengzhuang period 2 area; Wangyin (ox, buffalo), Liulin67 and Dadunzi in the Dawenkou area; Huajiacun Junan68 and Chengziya, etc., in the Longshan Shandong area. S China buffalo bone is in Pengtoushan, Zaoshi, Hujiawuchang and Zengpi-stone caves of Chengbeixi. Cow also was in Beiqiao Chengqiao Qiaoan and Beiqiao Nanning69. Generally, the Yellow River Neolithic had ox; S China had buffalo.
Peiligang sites have sheep bone and clay sheep heads. Huikengli Yuanjunmiao in the Dadiwan area has sheep bone70, while Dahecun and Erlanggang Nanzhao in the Yangshao area has some. Some Banpo bone remains unconfirmed, but 61 Banpo domestic sheep bones in the Longgangsi Nanzheng site71 are valuable because they are much earlier than thought. Sheep raising is widespread on middle and lower Yellow River sites not later than Longshan period: Miaodigou (period 2, goat family), Fengcun Yuanqu, Miaodian Jiyuan72, Sanliqiao, Baiying (goat), Erligang Zhengzhou73, Wangchenggang, Xigangou Luoyang74, Jiangou, Dongxiafeng, Keshengzhuang, Yaoguanzhuang, Chengziya (sheep family), etc. Zaoshi, Hujiawuchang and Xianrendong in the Zaoshi cultural sublevel has sheep bone, while Xianrendong is known to have sheep, but not generally regarded as domesticated.
Domestic crops and animals represent major Neolithic production, with stockraising restricted only by agricultural development. As few areas suited stockraising, each with independant means, hunting and fishing was the main economy. Modern archaeology suggests certain main Neolithic achievements occurred before 5000 BC and formed the basic economy.
D. Fourth - Cishan dwelling construction
About 50 semi-subterranean dwellings are in Cishan Wuan in the Cishan area, Jiahu Wuyang, Egou Mixian75, Shigu Changge76 and Tieshenggou Zhuxian77, etc., in the Peiligang area; Dadiwan Qinan, Baijia Lintong78 and Lijiacun Xixiang, etc., in the Dadiwan area. All are roundish, elliptical or irregular, except individual square or rectangular ones at Egou Mixian and Dingzhuang Xuchang. All are single room but Jiahu dwellings are joined by 2-4 extensions. Single room area is <10 m2. Most have framed rooves, some with slanted walls directly expanding from the door and inclining inward. Most have postholes around the living area, but some have central posts. Entrances are sloped or stepped. Hearths are rare like Egou which has hard burnt central soil, while others were beside the wall opposite the door. Some roundish hearths on the living surface are red earth, while others are round or pan-shaped loess, grass and mud piles above the living surface. Others are semicircular shallow pits, but on the whole not central. At Egou, some living surfaces are ashy or white clay, with a white pigmented "ginger soil" layer under stone surfaces. Grass-textured soil was not yet used as a living surface, nor were baked hard red soil surfaces universal. Large dwellings do not represent the above cultures, and compared to later Yangshao dwellings, have an obviously different shape, plan, divided and partition walls, hearths, packed and baked floors, etc., which display their primitive development.
On the lower Yellow River, many Houli culture dwellings are at Houli Linzi79, Xihe Zhangqiou (i.e., Sancun Longshan)80, Xiaojingshan81, etc. They are semi-subterranean, round-cornered squares or rectangular, with areas of 30-40 m2 on baked and burnt surfaces. They have shallow hearths, a special one surrounded by three stones. Many Dawenkou82 dwellings of late Beixin culture are round, elliptical and semi-subterranean. Many postholes surround the hard, burnt living surface. Jiabai Wenshangdong dwellings have postholes either around the semi-subterranean pit or the living surface.
About 200 dwellings are at Xinglongwa Aohanqi, Changhan Baryin Linxi, Chahai Fouxin, etc., in the Xinglongwa area. They are semi-subterranean rounded squares or rectangles, with larger areas ca. 50-70 m2, some reaching 140 m2. Except for some Changhan Baiyin dwellings with door and passage, most are doorless, with postholes surrounding the semi-subterranean pit. Some rooms have internal and external postholes, not yet using main frame posts to clearly divide space. Central hearths are mostly round with stone bottoms, but some are square with stone slab walls. Partly lined walls of some Xinglongwa dwellings are baked and burnt, but some are daubed mud.
Changyin Baihan rooms have daubed baked yellow grass-reinforced mud walls. Earlier Xinglongwa culture has larger, neat, square or rectangular dwellings with central well-made hearths. At that time, people used grass-reinforced mud walls, their culture bypassing one step of the same Yellow River Neolithic. Slightly later Zhaobaogou and Xinle dwellings and hearths maintain the same tradition as Xinglongwa culture. All dwellings are semi-subterranean, square or rectangular, while Zhaobaogou dwellings are trapezoidal with central round or square hearths and no door. Rather large Xinle dwellings have three ring postholes with new stone bases. The Houwa Donggou Liaoning sublevel has some large square and many small round dwellings. They are semi-subterranean, with square, rectangular or round stone hearths in the middle or side. Generally, doors are absent, with postholes in the gap or in semi-subterranean pits. Beiniantou Pinggu dwellings in the Shangzai cultural area are irregular elliptical and semi-subterranean. Central buried clay pots are surrounded by hearths.
A few incomplete dwellings are S of the Yangtze Basin. The Pengtoushan site has a large squarish surface dwelling and a small irregular semi-subterranean one, with a burnt earth hearth in one corner. At Hujiawuchang in the Zaoshi Xiaceng area (lower level), sand was laid on the ground for hardness, red earth to prevent moisture and walls that were baked and burnt. Wenshanbao Eyang sites in the same area have postholes for building rails like those of late Hemudu culture. S China Neolithic surface construction generally appears earlier, with burnt red mud under living surfaces.
F. Fifth - painted pottery
Painted pottery began in S and N China about 5000 BC, the Yellow River Dadiwan culture being first. As Early Dadiwan pottery should be no later than 5800 BC, China has one of the world's earliest painted pottery, especially the Wei Basin; e.g.s, Baijia, Beiliu88, Dadiwan and Laoguantai sites. Almost all have mixed reddish-brown or purplish-red, wide, narrow and striped round bowls and tripod pots (two types have a light red-striped slip outside the mouth on scraped-off cordmarks). Uncordmarked pots are rare, only red-striped of outer and inner widths of 2.5-4 & 0.3-0.5 cm. Tripod bowls have red stripes outside and inside the mouth, with red on their legs. Some round bowls have 3-4 symmetrical red designs on their inside. >10 kinds of stripes are dot, circle, short curve, short straight stripe, arrow, comb, etc. Dadiwan outer and inner colours were simultaneous, making pottery appear richer. Rare Earlier period painted pots of Lijiacun type are in the Dadiwan area on the upper Hanshui. At Majiaying Ziyang and Yuanjiabei Hanming sites89, people removed cordmarks at the straight mouth of round-based bowls, polishing and replacing them with mainly black then red stripes.
Rare painted pots with new tripods appear in Late Peiligang, with wide red and yellow stripes on the mouth of flat-based bowls in Shigu Changge sites. Most Late period 1 pots in Zhongshanzhai Ruzhou are black with stripes.
Painted pottery is absent in lower Yellow River Houli culture. In the middle Early stage of Beixin culture, rare painted pots appear in great quantity with clay tripods. Wide black and some red stripes are on flat bases or outside the mouths of round bowls. Painted pottery is absent to the E on Jiaodong in Beixin culture period 1 and Xiaozhushan Yantai lower level, but some polychrome black, brown, yellow and white pots with flower petal, dot and stripe designs are in Baishicun period 2 (including Quijiazhuang Fushan period 1) ca. 4300 BC. Monochrome, generally black or red with triangular oblique lines, dots, stripes, etc.,90 were popular in Baishicun period 3 (including Qiujiazhuang period 2), and period 1 of Beizhuang Changdao and Zijingshan Penglai. In Jiaodong peninsula, painted pottery has various designs and a higher standard. If this element didn't emerge suddenly, we should explore its painted pottery at a former stage. Middle level remains in Xiaozhushan Liaodong Peninsula likely are contemporaneous with Zijingshan period 1, which, isolated by the sea and opposite, also has black and red pottery. Early Xinle culture painted pottery is in the N, while lower level remains in Xinle culture have only one black horizontally striped bowl.
Summing up, most earlier and many painted pots are in the Yellow Basin and N area near Quanzhong (connected to Wei Basin, Shianxi). Like the E, painted pots are later. One general trait of early painted pottery is wide and narrow stripes, red ones earlier than black, while other coloured stripes appear later.
Early period painted pottery appears conclusively in the Yangtze Basin and S in the lower Zaoshi cultural level, and Chengbeixi culture. White painted red clay appears in the later period of Zaoshi Shimen lower level, most with tripods. Individual tripod pots have white paint and deep red stripes around the legs. Wenshanbao Eyang Painted pottery is brown on white, with small dense squares and wide stripes. Individual painted pottery appears in Chengbeixi Yidon in the Chengbeixi area. Painted pottery slightly increases in the latest period, with few in the later stage of Chaotianzui Zigui period 1, mainly thin red colour on mouths and shoulders of red clay bowls and pots, then simple black stripes with straight lines in geometric design. Liulinxi Zigui also has painted pottery. Painted pottery rose ca. 4000 BC after Daxi culture middle level at Dongting Lake and Jianghan area of the middle Yangtze, contemporaneously with Yangshao culture on the middle Yellow River.
G. Sixth - white pottery
White is an important rare Neolithic pottery trait, but expands on the middle and lower Yangtze, especially Dongting Lake. From there to S China, the earliest white pottery is in Zaoshi lower level culture. It also in Wenshanbao Eyang, where some white clay pots have rope stripes. Zaoshi Shimen lower level did not have clay utensils, but a few thin white muddy red clay pots may have been substituted for more comparatively expensive white ones. Most are tripod type, often decorated with carved or picked holes and stripes. Chengbeixi pots in the Chengbeixi area also have a few thin white red-brown pots, their adjusted age ca. 5500 BC. A few white pots are in Zhengxihou Chenxi, Dadi Tankan, Gaomiao Qianyang, etc., sites in the Huaihua Yuanshui Basin of W Hunan. Adjusted age of Gaomiao is before 5400 BC, with possible relationship to Zaoshi lower level at Dongting Lake.
White pottery also occurs in Luojiajiao Tongxiang Zhejiang remains93 in the earlier period in the Majiabin area. Yangwen Shanguan design has a raised hypotenuse, dot series, winding stripes, rhomboid, moon beam, etc. Concave stripes with delicate comb stripes together constitute shallow relief style pictures. White pottery appeared before 5000 BC.
White pottery appears in S China much earlier than in the N, but only in isolated 5000 BC Yellow Basin Neolithic sites. One fine white clay bowl with carved tooth stripes on the mouth is in Laoguantai Huaxian later period in the Dadiwan area, its shape duplicated in fine red clay utensils. This kind of white pot is rare in late Dadiwan culture and not a main trait.
Dongting Lake white pottery is ca. 4500 BC Dadiwan culture. Commonly, its shallow comb and stripe relief was an enhanced special technological trait in China's highest quality utensils. Most are round tripods of silica, alumina and two types of silica and magnesia. The first type is Gaoling earth, the second only in special Neolithic S China94 material. Then, white pottery was in Dasikong, Miaodigou, Dahecum period 1 and Hougang types in the Yangshao area, but rare and all are sherds without fine decorative stripes. A few white pots appear a little later in lower Yellow Basin middle Dawenkou level. White pottery was numerous in later Dawenkou and Longshan cultures after 3000 BC, finally dominating China. By comparison, white pottery in Yangshao later period and Longshan Zhongyuan, or in S China, is not all that numerous and inferior to Haidai culture after 3000 BC.
H. Seventh - jade ware
Jade ware has been a constant important factor in Chinese traditional culture since the Neolithic, with Xinglongwa having the earliest refined jade. Chahai Fuxin and Xinglongwa Aohanqi sites have some jade ware, including yujue earplugs, possible linear concave dagger-shaped pendants, tubular beads, chisels, etc.; e.g., Xinglongwa earplugs on skulls in two rectangular vertical semi-subterranean dwellings used as graves. The child's grave W of Chahai F7 had 3 pairs of large, middle & small linear daggerlike yujue between neck and abdomen. Besides being rather thick and round, they were small diameter, their infrared and electronic scanning microscopy identifying them as real yangqi soft jade95, China's first soft jade and heretofore unreported in the Yellow and Yangtze River Neolithic.
Although N jade carving was very early, beads, axes and chisel-shaped carvings appear in late Zhaobaogou and Xinle cultures, but more research is needed to see if jade ware had multiple origins.
Was yujue used for centuries, developing its own sequence before becoming representative? Some beadshaped yujue occurs in several central Liaohe Neolithic cultures, besides Xinglongwa and Xiaoshandegou Wengniuteqi in the Zhaobaogou area, but never in Hongshan culture (4500-3000 BC) where jade was well-developed. Present yujue distribution remains unclear, but it has a basic longterm shape in several 5000-3000 BC middle and lower Yangtze Neolithic cultures.
Despite a major find in the 1880's on the middle Yangtze, Cishan and Peiligang cultural studies became significant only in the late 1970's. 6000-5000 BC remains were Early Neolithic, preceded in N China by 8000 BC Nantouzhuang sites. 3500-2000 BC C14 dates span the transition from Yangshao to Longshan cultures, but 5000 BC "Early Yangshou", etc., is unsuitable for generalizing the Early Neolithic without adjustment.
Although different cultures have different traits, several 6000-5000 BC Neolithic cultures in S and N China have common traits; e.g., elevated economy based on cultivated rice. Heavy storage at Cishan shows knowledge of superior spring millet (Setaria italica) and japonica rice. People also raised pigs, dogs, chickens and water buffalo. Later, livestock intensified but not as much as agriculture. Simple painted pottery appeared in S and N China, the beginning of a new society and the base for future painted pottery. Dwellings became patterned and populations grew and stabilized. Pottery and jade demonstrated unique craftmanship and class structure, tools were well made and diversity reflected a spiritual domain.
Full Neolithic survey suggests 10,000-7500 BC is Early Neolithic; e.g., Nanzhuangtou aengpiyan sublevel, Xianrendong, etc.; 7500-5000 BC has two Middle Neolithics: Pengtoushan and Houli, Cishan, Peiligang, Dadiwan, Zaoshi sublevel, Chengbeixi, Xinglongwa, etc., plus Beixin, Shangzhe (upper level) and Xinle cultures, and post-5000 BC has Late Neolithic Yangshao and Majiabin cultures.
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