The Hemudu culture (河姆渡文化) (5000 BC to 4500 BC ["The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective", pp.36] ) was a
Neolithicculture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bayin Jiangnanin modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. The site at Hemudu was discovered in 1973. Hemudu sites were also discovered on the islands of Zhoushan.
The Hemudu culture co-existed with the
Majiabang cultureas two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two. Two major floods caused the nearby Yaojiang Riverto 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 houses.
The Hemudu culture is one of the earliest cultures to cultivate
rice. 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
lacquerwood. The remains of various plants, including water caltrop, " Nelumbo nucifera", acorns, beans, " Gorgon euryale" and bottle gourd, were found at Hemudu. The Hemudu people likely domesticated pigs, water buffalo and dogs. The people at Hemudu also fished and hunted, as evidence by the remains of bone harpoons and bows and arrowheads. Music instruments, such as bone whistles and wooden drums, were also found at Hemudu.
The culture produced a thick, porous
pottery. The distinct pottery was typically black and made with charcoalpowder. Plant and geometric designs were commonly painted onto the pottery; the pottery was sometimes also cord-marked. The culture also produced carved jadeornaments, carved ivoryartifacts and small, clay figurines.
Fossilized amoeboids and pollen suggests Hemudu culture emerged and developed in the middle of the
Holocene Climatic Optimum. A study of a sea-level highstandin the NingshaoPlain from 7000 – 5000 BP shows that there may have been stabilized lower sea levels at this time followed by, from 5000 to 3900 BP, frequent flooding.
List of Neolithic cultures of China
* Allan, Sarah (ed), "The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective", ISBN 0-300-09382-9
* Chang, Kwang-chih. "The Archaeology of Ancient China", ISBN 0-300-03784-8
* 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
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