Human–environment interactions at Yangguanzhai, a Middle Neolithic site in the Wei River Valley, northern China: A comprehensive soil‐stratigraphic analysis
AffiliationDepartment of Geosciences, University of Arizona
School of Anthropology, University of Arizona
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CitationKielhofer, J. R., Fox, M. L., Ye, W., & Yang, L. (2021). Human–environment interactions at Yangguanzhai, a Middle Neolithic site in the Wei River Valley, northern China: A comprehensive soil-stratigraphic analysis. Geoarchaeology.
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AbstractYangguanzhai, a Middle Neolithic archaeological site (c. 5500–5000 cal year BP) in the Wei River Valley of China, contains a well-preserved record of environmental fluctuation, landscape evolution, and human–environment interaction over the Holocene. We examined eight stratigraphic profiles across the site and identified an alternating sequence of sediment and buried soils, indicative of multiple changes in landscape stability. Through this study, we provide a more detailed soil-stratigraphic framework for the site. Buried soils are well developed, with a subangular blocky structure, high organic matter content, and pedogenic carbonate. There are clear associations between buried soils and the two main archaeological occupations (the Middle Neolithic and a later historic period occupation, c. 600–300 cal year BP). Lower soil horizons contain abundant Middle Neolithic ceramics and archaeological features, and the upper soil horizon contains historic period artifacts and features. Sediment between these soils lacks any artifacts or evidence of occupation, suggesting that Yangguanzhai was abandoned as a residential area for over 3000 years. Heightened sediment deposition and landscape instability contributed to Late Holocene shifts in human land use and settlement patterns at the site. Our work is consistent with previous stratigraphic investigations at the site, while refining descriptions of buried soil horizons.
Note12 month embargo; first published: 22 July 2021
VersionFinal accepted manuscript