Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (5): 1294-1313.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202105018

• Resources Use and Environmental Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Communication route and its evolution on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau during the prehistoric time

HOU Guangliang1,2(), 1, ZHU Yan1, PANG Longhui1   

  1. 1. College of Geography, Key Laboratory of Physical Geography and Environmental Process, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
    2. Academy of Plateau Science and Sustainability, Xining 810008, China
  • Received:2019-03-04 Revised:2020-12-22 Online:2021-05-25 Published:2021-07-25
  • Supported by:
    The Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA2004010101);Qinghai Province "Thousand Innovative Top Talents Plan"(青人才字[2019]6号)


Eurasia mainland cultural exchange has been at the center of the international concern, especially after the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed. The unique geographical location of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau made it important to strengthen the cultural exchange between the East and the West. This paper uses natural geographical factors and cultural sites in various time periods as data sources, based on cyclic cumulative analysis of the lowest cost path-multipoint connectivity, and GIS spatial analysis (R language) to construct cultural exchange routes from the Neolithic to Bronze Age. We constructed 27 routes in the Neolithic Age with a total length of 6000 km and 30 routes in the Bronze Age with a total length of 7800 km. During the Neolithic Age, the cultural exchange routes mainly exhibited a crescent form along the Northeast-East-Southeast-Southwest margin. By the Bronze Age, the cultural exchange routes expanded to the hinterland in a net form, due to the development of cultural exchange between the settlements. The reconstructed route testified the dissemination path of colored pottery, millet, jade, sheep, wheat and bronze technology, and concretized these archaeologically conceptualized roads. In addition, this paper identified that evolution of the early plateau route was significantly influenced by climate, and also influenced by agricultural technology, introduction of domesticated livestock.

Key words: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, communication route, prehistory, spatial numerical simulation