Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (9): 1268-1283.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201409003

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress on Holocene environmental archaeology in the Yangtze River Valley, China

Cheng ZHU1(), Li WU2, Lan LI3, Chaogui ZHENG4, Zhongxuan LI5, Chunmei MA1, Yan TAN1, Quanhong ZHAO6, Kunhua WANG1, Liugen LIN7, Zhanghua JIANG8, Jinlong DING9, Huaping MENG10   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241002, Anhui, China
    3. School of History & Culture, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China
    4. Geographic Information and Tourism College, Chuzhou University, Chuzhou 239000, Anhui, China
    5. Department of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Xuchang University, Xuchang 461000, Henan, China 6. State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
    7. Jiangsu Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Nanjing Museum, Nanjing 210016, China
    8. Chengdu Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Chengdu 610000, China
    9. Suzhou Institute of Archaeology, Suzhou 215005, China
    10. Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Wuhan 430077, China
  • Received:2014-05-06 Revised:2014-06-07 Online:2014-09-17 Published:2014-09-17
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371204,No.41171163;National Key Science and Technology Infrastructure Program, No.2013FY111900;Open Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, No.2012SKL003;Open Foundation of State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, No.SKLLQG1206;Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China, No.11&ZD183;National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2013BAK08B02;Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, No.PAPD;Training Foundation for Natural Basic Science, No.J1103408


The Yangtze River Valley is an important economic zone in China with a long history of human civilization. However, natural disasters, such as floods and droughts, also frequently occur in this area. The study of Holocene environmental archaeology has important scientific significance for clarifying the interactive effects between environmental evolution and human activities during 10.0-3.0 ka BP with no written records. In recent years, Holocene environmental archaeology was mainly based on the event stratigraphy of palaeoflood and sea-level change in the Yangtze River Valley. From the aspects of temporal-spatial distribution of archaeological sites, archaeological stratigraphy of typical sites, and regional environmental evolution archived from typical natural sedimentary strata, there have been significant progresses of Holocene environmental archaeology in the upper, middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, which indicate deeper and wider development of this research field. Also, the development of international research on environmental archaeology is deepening continuously, such as the new progress on annual recorders of the past in PAGES Magazine. New technologies, such as RS, GIS and DNA analysis, are also applied in the field of environmental archaeology. China has a long history, therefore many archaeological sites and well preserved natural sedimentary records are of great value in environmental archaeology research. In the future, we should keep pace with the international frontier, and take full advantage of above richly endowed conditions, which will further promote the progress on the Holocene environmental archaeology of the Yangtze River Valley.

Key words: Yangtze River Valley, Holocene, environmental archaeology, research progress