Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (1): 59-68.doi: 10.11821/xb200901007

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The Transmutation of Ancient Settlements and Environmental Changes from the Neolithic Age to the Han Dynasty in the Chaohu Lake Basin

WU Li1,2, WANG Xinyuan1,2, ZHOU Kunshu3, MO Duowen4, GAO Chao1,5, LIU Li1,2, HAN Weiguang1,2   

  1. 1. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism,Anhui Normal University,Wuhu 241000,Anhui,China;
    2. Work Station of Anhui Province for Remote Sensing Archaeology,CAS, SME & SCRB Joint Laboratory of Remote Sensing Archaeology,Wuhu 241000,Anhui,China;
    3. Institute of Geology and Geophysics,CAS,Beijing 100029,China;
    4. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences,Peking University,Beijing 100871,China;
    5. Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology,CAS,Nanjing 210008,China
  • Received:2008-08-29 Revised:2008-10-31 Online:2009-01-25 Published:2010-08-03
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571162; National Science and Technology Support Program, No.2006BAK21B02;National Basic Research Program of China, No.2003CB415201


Based on the temporal-spatial distribution features of ancient settlement sites from the middle and late Neolithic Age to the Han Dynasty in the Chaohu Lake Basin of Anhui Province with the methods of GIS, combining with the reconstructed paleoenvironment by the records of lake sediment since Holocene in the Chaohu Lake, the transmutation of ancient settlements with responses to environmental changes in this area has been discussed. Study shows that the main feature of the transmutation of ancient settlements from the middle and late Neolithic Age to the Han Dynasty was that the distribution of settlements in this area changed from high altitude to the low one and kept approaching to the Chaohu Lake with the passage of times. These could be the response to the climate change from warm-moist to a relatively warm-dry condition during the middle Holocene, leading to the lake level fluctuations. The large area of exposed land provided enough space for human activities. These indicate that the above changes in geomorphologic evolution and hydrology influenced by climate conditions affected the transmutation of ancient settlements greatly. The distribution pattern of settlement sites was that the number of the sites in the west was more than the east. This pattern may be related to the geomorphologic conditions such as frequent channel shifting of the Yangtze River and flood disasters during the Holocene optimum. Therefore, the climate change is the inducement of the transmutation of ancient settlements in the Chaohu Lake Basin, which exerts great influence on the distribution, expansion and development of the ancient settlements, and the transmutation of ancient settlements responded to the environmental changes evidently.

Key words: Chaohu Lake Basin, Neolithic Age, Han dynasty, transmutation of ancient settlements, climate change