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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://apo.ansto.gov.au/dspace/handle/10238/5358

Title: Human activity and its impact on the landscape at the Xishanping site in the western Loess Plateau during 4800-4300 cal yr BP based on the fossil charcoal record.
Authors: Li, XQ
Sun, N
Dodson, J
Zhou, XY
Keywords: HUMAN FACTORS
CHARCOAL
ENVIRONMENT
CHINA
AGRICULTURE
FOSSILS
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2012
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Citation: Li, X. Q., Sun, N., Dodson, J., & Zhou, X. Y. (2012). Human activity and its impact on the landscape at the Xishanping site in the western Loess Plateau during 4800-4300 cal yr BP based on the fossil charcoal record. Journal of Archaelogical Science, 39(10), 3141-3147.
Abstract: The taxonomic identification of fossil charcoal can be a useful archaeobotanical tool, as it can reveal information about prehistoric humans' use of plant resources and other factors. In this study, we quantify the fossil charcoal in a cultural sequence from Xishanping in the western Loess Plateau of China representing 4800-4300 cal yr BP to consider aspects of humans' impact on this landscape. The fossil charcoal assemblages reveal that the relative abundances of Picea, Betula, Acer, Ulmus and Quercus decreased markedly after 4600 cal yr BP. This suggests a marked decline in the mixed coniferous-broadleaved forest after this time. Concurrently, an increasing abundance of Bambusoideae charcoal has been suggested to reflect the expansion of the bamboo forest. The marked changes in the vegetation after 4600 cal yr BP were not obviously influenced by climate; they may be a better reflection of the results of human activity. Furthermore, other genera that provide important resources to humans also increased after 4600 cal yr BP, including Castanea, Cerasus, Padus and Diospyros. It is nearly certain that nuts and berries were an important food resource and that fruit trees were managed by prehistoric humans in the late Neolithic. This work suggests that the scale of prehistoric human impact on the western Loess Plateau landscape during the late Neolithic was much greater than was previously believed. © 2012, Elsevier Ltd.
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.04.052
http://apo.ansto.gov.au/dspace/handle/10238/5358
ISSN: 0305-4403
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