Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (3): 474-486.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201803007

• Surface Process and Ecological Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The size distribution of Neolithic sites in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River

CHEN Rui,LI Fengquan(),WANG Tianyang,ZHU Lidong,YE Wei,ZHOU Guocheng   

  1. College of Geography and Environmental Science, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, Zhejiang, China
  • Received:2017-04-20 Online:2018-03-20 Published:2018-03-20
  • Supported by:
    [Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41572345, No.41371206; Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang, No.LY16D010001;National Innovation Training Program for College Students, No.201510345025]


Cultural sites are relics of human activity and they are also the product of the interactions between human and nature. The size of cultural sites could reflect the population size and grade of the ancient settlements. The study of cultural sites could help us to deepen the understanding of the relationships between human and nature. This paper established the spatial database of the Neolithic cultural sites in the middle reaches of Yangtze River from 9000 a BP to 4000 a BP. by using ArcGIS software. Overlay analysis and statistical method were employed to examine the spatial relationships between the size of archaeological sites and elevation, slope, the distance to the river in different periods. The results showed that, from the early Neolithic period to the late Neolithic period, the number of sites, the size of sites and the spatial distribution range of the sites showed an increasing or expanding trend, and the proportion of overlapping sites increased; Sites with different sizes generally had low altitude, gentle terrain and near river selection tendency. For sites of the late Neolithic Age, while there existed the above-mentioned selection tendency, the selection of altitude, slope and the distance to river tended to show the characteristics of diversification. There were some differences in location selection of Neolithic cultural sites with different sizes in the late Neolithic period. Small sites were mostly located on the gentle slope of 6-15 degrees. The large or medium-sized sites tended to be distributed on the flat land with a slope of 2-6 degrees; From small to large sites, Neolithic sites was dominated by an elevation of 30-50 m. The elevation of super sites was mainly in a range from 50 m to 100 m. The super sites were located in the area less than 1 km far from the river; The Neolithic culture was greatly influenced by the natural factors such as climate, water resources and topography in the early and middle Neolithic Age, and the adaptation ability of culture in the late Neolithic period was gradually enhanced.

Key words: middle reaches of Yangtze River, Neolithic culture, the size of sites, distribution