Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (9): 1113-1125.doi: 10.11821/xb200909009

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Distribution Patterns of the Ancient Cultural Sites in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River since 8500 a BP

DENG Hui1, CHEN Yi-yong1, JIA Jing-yu1, MO Duo-wen1, ZHOU Kun-shu2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences,Peking University,Beijing 100871,China;
    2. Institute of Geology and Geophysics,CAS,Beijing 100029,China
  • Received:2009-03-26 Revised:2009-07-10 Online:2009-09-25 Published:2009-09-25
  • Supported by:

    National Key Technology R&D Program, Ministry of Science and Technology of China,No.2006BAK21B02;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40871087


With the aid of GIS technology, the authors made a study on man-land relationship in the perspective of environmental archaeology. The GIS database was set up based on 7534 spatial data of ancient cultural sites in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River since 8500 a BP. The ArcGIS software was employed for the analysis of the data to reveal the spatial distribution patterns of different cultural sites in different time periods. Results showed that the natural factors, such as topography, altitude, and slope, etc., had very close relationships with the distribution patterns of the ancient cultural sites. The Neolithic sites were mainly distributed on the loess terra in the piedmont hills and high alluvial plains, where the altitude was higher and the slope varied. During the Western Zhou Dynasty, the main distribution of the cultural sites shifted from the loess terra to the alluvial plain with lower altitude and gentler slope. From the Qin Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, the cultural sites were mainly located in the lowest alluvial plain and the lake-deposit plain. During the past 8000 years the average altitude of the different cultural sites moved down about 12 m.

Key words: the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, ancient cultural sites, geomorphology, altitude, slopes, man-land relationshi