Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (7): 1231-1240.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201607011

• Ecology and Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

New evidence of human activities at an altitude of 4000 meters area of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Guangliang HOU1(), Guangchao CAO1, Chongyi E1, Xiaoyan REN2, B Wuennemann3, Fan LI1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Physical Geography and Environmental Processes of Qinghai Province, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
    2. Qinghai Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Xining 810007, China
    3. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093,China
  • Received:2015-08-03 Revised:2015-12-08 Online:2016-07-25 Published:2016-07-27
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.441550001;Special Project of Key Laboratory of Qinghai Province-Key Laboratory of Physical Geography and Environmental Processes of Qinghai Province, No.2014-Z-Y24, No.2015-Z-Y01


Human activities during the early stage in Tibetan Plateau are crucial to improve the knowledge about how human beings react and respond to extreme environmental conditions, especially those in the area with elevation > 4000 m asl, which is considered as the key of the migration and diffusion of human from plain to hinterland. Ash layer dated as 11290±69 cal. a BP and stoneworks such as micro-blade and fine flake mainly occurring at ca.11.2 cal ka BP were found in the archaeological site XDW1, which can be considered as the first evidence to show the human activities above 4000 m asl in the Tibetan Plateau. This study indicates that human beings have migrated to hinterland in the early Holocene, and evaluated the spacial and temporary population diffusion patterns in northeastern Tibetan Plateau: (1) human beings dominated the marginal regions with 3000-4000 m asl in northeastern Tibetan Platean, such as Qinghai Lake Basin and Gonghe Basin during the Last Deglaciation. (2) They expanded to the regions above 4000 m asl during the Early Holocene. (3) People diffused toward hinterland with higher elevation during the Holocene Climatic Optimum. The three stages of human migration and diffusion in the Tibetan Plateau are closely related to the improving climate conditions from the Last Deglaciation until the Holocene Climatic Optimum.

Key words: early Holocene, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, human activity