HOME

TheInfoList




The Hemudu culture (5500 BC to 3300 BC) was a
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
culture that flourished just south of the
Hangzhou Bay Hangzhou Bay, or the Bay of Hangzhou (), is a funnel-shaped inlet of the East China Sea The East China Sea is an arm of the Western Pacific Ocean, located directly offshore from East China (hence the name), covering an area of roughly . ...
in
Jiangnan , Wuzhong District, Suzhou Jiangnan or Jiang Nan (; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiang-nan, literally "South of the River" meaning "South of the Yangtze") is a geographic area in China referring to lands immediately to the ...

Jiangnan
in modern
Yuyao Yuyao () is a county-level city in the northeast of Zhejiang province, China. It is under the jurisdiction of the sub-provincial city of Ningbo. It is located west of central Ningbo, east of Hangzhou, bordering Hangzhou Bay in the north. Yuyao co ...
,
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...

Zhejiang
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
. The culture may be divided into early and late phases, before and after 4000 BC respectively. The site at Hemudu, 22 km northwest of
Ningbo Ningbo (; , Putonghua, Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanized as Ningpo, is a major sub-provincial city in northeast Zhejiang Provinces of China, province, China, People's Republic of China. It com ...
, was discovered in 1973. Hemudu sites were also discovered at Tianluoshan in Yuyao city, and on the islands of
Zhoushan Zhoushan , formerly romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and mo ...

Zhoushan
. Hemudu are said to have differed physically from inhabitants of the Yellow River sites to the north. Some authors propose that the Hemudu Culture was a source of the
pre-Austronesian The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan (collectively known as Taiwanese indigenous peoples), Maritime Southeast Asia, Oceania and Madagascar that ...
cultures.


Material culture

Some scholars assert that the Hemudu culture co-existed with the
Majiabang culture The Majiabang culture was a Chinese Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about ...
as two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two. Other scholars group Hemudu in with
Majiabang The Majiabang culture was a China, Chinese Neolithic culture that existed at the mouth of the Yangtze River, primarily around Lake Tai near Shanghai and north of Hangzhou Bay. The culture spread throughout southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang fro ...
subtraditions. Two major floods caused the nearby Yaojiang River to change its course and inundated the soil with salt, forcing the people of Hemudu to abandon its settlements. The Hemudu people lived in long,
stilt house Stilt houses (also called pile dwellings or lake dwellings) are houses raised on stilts Stilts are poles, posts or pillars that allow a person or structure to stand at a height above the ground. In flood plains, and on beach A summ ...
s. Communal longhouses were also common in Hemudu sites, much like the ones found in modern-day Borneo. The Hemudu culture was one of the earliest cultures to cultivate
rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania (genus), Zizania'' and ''Porteresia'', bo ...

rice
. Recent excavations at the Hemudu period site of Tianluoshan has demonstrated rice was undergoing evolutionary changes recognized as
domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
. Most of the artifacts discovered at Hemudu consist of animal bones, exemplified by hoes made of shoulder bones used for cultivating rice. The culture also produced
lacquer The term lacquer is used for a number of hard and potentially shiny finishes applied to materials such as wood or metal. These fall into a number of very different groups. The term ''lacquer'' originates from the Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attri ...

lacquer
wood. A red lacquer wood bowl at the Zhejiang Museum is dated to 4000-5000 BC. It is believed to be the earliest such object in the world. The remains of various plants, including
water caltrop The water caltrop is any of three extant species of the genus ''Trapa'': ''Trapa natans'', ''Trapa bicornis'' and the endangered ''Trapa rossica''. It is also known as buffalo nut, bat nut, devil pod, ling nut, ''lin kok, ling jow'', ling kio nut ...
, ''
Nelumbo nucifera ''Nelumbo nucifera'', also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, or simply lotus, is one of two extant taxon, extant species of aquatic plant in the Family (Biology), family Nelumbonaceae. It is sometimes colloquially called a water lily, though ...

Nelumbo nucifera
'',
acorn The acorn, or oaknut, is the nut Nut often refers to: * Nut (fruit), a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed * Nut (food), collective noun for dry and edible fruits or seeds * Nut (hardware), a fastener used with a bolt Nut or Nuts may al ...

acorn
s,
melon Image:Cantaloupe and canary melon.jpg, Canary melon and cantaloupe A melon is any of various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae with sweet, edible, and fleshy fruit. The word "melon" can refer to either the plant or specifically to the fruit. Bo ...

melon
, wild
kiwifruit A sliced kiwifruit Kiwifruit (often shortened to kiwi in North America and Euro English, continental Europe) or Chinese gooseberry is the edible berry (botany), berry of several species of woody plant, woody vines in the genus ''Actinidia''. Th ...

kiwifruit
,
blackberries The blackberry is an edible fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms disseminate seeds. Edi ...

blackberries
,
peach The peach (''Prunus persica'') is a deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow ...

peach
, the foxnut or '' Gorgon euryale'' and
bottle gourd Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine A vine ( ''vīnea'' "grapevine", "vineyard", from ''vīnum'' "wine") is any with a growth of t ...
, were found at Hemudu and Tianluoshan. The Hemudu people likely domesticated
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...

pig
s but practiced extensive hunting of
deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapiti), the , and the ; and the , including the (caribou), , the , and the . Male deer of all species (except the Chinese ) as we ...

deer
and some wild
water buffalo The water buffalo (''Bubalus bubalis''), also called the domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo, is a large bovid The Bovidae comprise the biological family Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical tax ...

water buffalo
. Fishing was also carried out on a large scale, with a particular focus on
crucian carp The crucian carp (''Carassius carassius'') is a medium-sized member of the common carp family Cyprinidae. It occurs widely in northern European regions. Distribution The crucian carp is a widely distributed European species, its range spanning ...
. The practices of fishing and hunting are evidenced by the remains of bone
harpoon A harpoon is a long spear A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with Fire hardening, fire hardened spears, or it ma ...
s and bows and arrowheads. Music instruments, such as bone whistles and wooden drums, were also found at Hemudu. Artifact design by Hemudu inhabitants bears many resemblances to those of Insular Southeast Asia. The culture produced a thick, porous
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with and other materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include , and . The place where such wares are mad ...

pottery
. This distinctive pottery was typically black and made with
charcoal or soil, and firing it (circa 1890) Charcoal is a lightweight black carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetravalent ...

charcoal
powder. Plant and geometric designs were commonly painted onto the pottery; the pottery was sometimes also cord-marked. The culture also produced carved
jade Jade is a mineral, much used in some cultures as jewellery and for ornaments, mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow and white. Jade can refer to either of two different silicat ...

jade
ornaments, carved
ivory Ivory is a hard, white material from the tusk Tusks are elongated, continuously growing front teeth A tooth (plural teeth) is a hard, calcification, calcified structure found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates and used to Masticat ...
artifacts and small clay figurines.


Sociopolitical organization

The early Hemudu period is considered the maternal clan phase. Descent is thought to have been matrilineal and the social status of children and women comparatively high. In the later periods, they gradually shifted into patrilineal clans. During that period, the social status of men rose and descent was passed through the male line.


Religion

Hemudu's inhabitants worshiped a sun spirit as well as a fertility spirit. They also enacted
shamanistic Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner who is believed to interact with a spirit world through altered states of consciousness An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of mind or mind alterati ...
rituals to the sun and believed in bird totems. A belief in an afterlife and ghosts is thought to have been widespread as well. People were buried with their heads facing east or northeast and most had no burial objects. Infants were buried in urn-casket style burials, while children and adults received earth level burials. They did not have a definite communal burial ground, for the most part, but a clan communal burial ground has been found from the later period. Two groups in separate parts of this burial ground are thought to be two intermarrying clans. There were noticeably more burial goods in this communal burial ground.


Environment

Fossilized
amoeboid An amoeba (; less commonly spelt ameba or amœba; plural ''am(o)ebas'' or ''am(o)ebae'' ), often called an amoeboid, is a type of cell or unicellular organism A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled organism, is an organism ...
s and pollen suggests Hemudu culture emerged and developed in the middle of the Holocene Climatic Optimum. A study of a sea-level highstand in the Ningshao Plain from 7000 to 5000 BP shows that there may have been stabilized lower sea levels at this time, followed by frequent flooding from 5000 to 3900 BP. The climate was said to be tropical to subtropical with high temperatures and much precipitation throughout the year.


See also

*
List of Neolithic cultures of China This is a list of Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago wh ...
*
Liangzhu culture The Liangzhu culture (; 3300–2300 BC) was the last Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is f ...
*
Majiabang culture The Majiabang culture was a Chinese Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about ...
*
Yangshao culture The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 ye ...


References

* * *


Further reading

* Allan, Sarah (ed), ''The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective'', * Chang, Kwang-chih. ''The Archaeology of Ancient China'', * Fuller, D.Q & Harvey, E., Qin,L. (2007). Presumed domestication? Evidence for wild rice cultivation and domestication in the fifth millennium BC of the Lower Yangzte region.Antiquity 81(312), 316-331 * Zhu C, Zheng CG, Ma CM, Yang XX, Gao XZ, Wang HM, Shao JH. On the Holocene sea-level highstand along the Yangtze Delta and Ningshao Plain, east China. CHINESE SCIENCE BULLETIN 48 (24): 2672-2683 DEC 2003 {{coord, 29.9642, N, 121.3444, E, region:CN-33_type:landmark_source:dewiki, display=title Neolithic cultures of China History of Zhejiang