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2018-11-16 12:32:29   •   ID: 2052

Artifacts from the Chifeng region in in southeastern Inner Mongolia

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This are microlithic (maximal 1,5 cm long) bifacial triangular points made mainly of translucent Calcedony, but also of brownish flint.

They were produced by micro-core technique, some of them even show characteristic of sophisticated FOG (flake over grind) flaking, not known before the Pre- and early Dynastic Egyptians.

They were found in the Chifeng region in in southeastern Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China. It is difficult to imagine, that such tiny implements were the tip of tiny arrowheads, rather they were part of composite weapons, known from findings in N-China with the preservation of organic components.

It is impossible to link these artifacts to a specific time period, but they are almost certainly from the Neolithic, where the use of Calcedony for the production of lithics was much more common than during later times.

North China has long been recognized as one of the major regions where agriculture began and is home to one of the longest-lasting, sustained agricultural systems in the world. The Neolithic, in this post is defined as the formation of sedentary communities, mainly relying on animal and plant domesticates.

This process started as early as the climatic amelioration after the LGM, which allowed a broad-spectrum subsistence economy. The earliest domesticated plants so far recovered in Northern China appear to date between 10 and 8 BP.

Anyhow the whole " Neolithic package" was not established before the beginning of the 6. millennium BP, when societies founded on the sedentary cultivation of rice and/or millets were widely established.

As elsewhere on a global scale, strategies toward the Neolithic show great regional variation, suggesting a complex mosaic of adaptations in the transition from collecting and hunting to agriculture.

For example in the Levant, larger parts of the population, did not established the whole Neolithic package before the middle PPNB.

Pottery is not part of this package, neither in the Levant, nor in Africa or Asia. -The oldest pottery in China has been found at the Xianrendong site in S-E China, layer 3C1B. Ten radiocarbon dates from this layer range between 17,4-19,5 k.a. cal BP, long before domestication took place.

The better known pottery Neolithic of the Levant started around 7,5 k.a. cal BP, after the establishment of the most important domesticates.

Anyhow, the invention and propagation of pottery can not be underestimated. It allowed more secure storage, may have been a trigger for a more sedentary lifestyle and appeared at Chifeng ca 8 k.a. cal BP.

Liu et al. recently published the results of new excavations from Inner Mongolia and by the way described the character of a risk reducing „mixed economy“ :

"By examining residue remains and usewear patterns on sandstone grinding stone tools unearthed from the Shihushan I and Shihushan II sites, dating to the mid-5th millennium BC, we show that the earliest Neolithic settlers in Daihai appear to have enjoyed a way of life making use, and possibly management, of a wide range of plants, including various underground storage organs (tubers, roots, rhizomes, and bulbs), nuts, and wild grasses, while engaged in a limited level of millet production".