Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (05): 867-878.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0032

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

An analysis of the starch grains from the Zhangwangzhuang site of early Yangshao culture

YI Wenwen1(), WEI Xingtao2(), YANG Yuzhang1, YAO Ling3, LAN Wanli2, ZHANG Xiaohu2, ZHANG Juzhong1   

  1. 1. Department of History of Science and Scientific Archaeology, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026
    2. Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Zhengzhou 450000
    3. Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Wuhan 430077
  • Received:2020-04-08 Revised:2020-07-07 Online:2021-10-15 Published:2021-10-15
  • Contact: WEI Xingtao;


The western Huanghuai Plain is a transitional zone of archeological cultures and agricultural models between the south and north China during the Neolithic period. In recent years, great progress has been made on archaeobotany in this area. However, the situation about human plant food resources and agricultural development during the early Yangshao culture in this area are still not well understood. The Zhangwangzhuang(ZWZ) site, located at the Wuyang County, Henan Province is a Neolithic archaeological site which date belongs to the early Yangshao culture. In this paper, 54 pottery sherds and 13 stone tools from the ZWZ site are studied by using starch grain analysis. The experimental results indicate that two kinds of dryland crops originated from the north China, foxtail millet (Setariaitalica) and broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum), have spread to the low-latitude areas of western Huanghuai Plain no later than 6000 years ago, and then, together with the locally grown rice (Oryza sative), the mixed farming of rice and millets formed in the whole western Huanghuai area. Notably, in addition to the three above crops, ancient people of the ZWZ site also utilized many kinds of wild plant food such as Triticeae, Coix, Nelumbo nuciferaand Trichosantheskirilowii. To understand the importance of different kinds of plant food in human diet, the ubiquity analysis is conducted in this paper and the result show that wild plant foods still dominated in ZWZ people’s life although the early agriculture has been greatly developed during the early Yangshao culture in the western Huanghuai Plain. This paper provides the scientific evidence for understanding the utilization of plant food resources and the development of agriculture during the early Yangshao period in the western Huanghuai Plain for the first time, which is also of great value to understand the specific Spatio-temporal process of prehistoric crop spreading and agricultural structure evolution in the western part of the Huanghuai area.

Key words: Zhangwangzhuang site, Early Yangshao culture, Starch grain, Plant food, Mixed farming of rice and millets

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