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China, a History

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Author Topic: China, a History  (Read 3113 times)
Bee Cha
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« on: August 05, 2007, 06:47:41 am »

From hunter-gatherers to farmers

What is now China was inhabited by Homo erectus more than a million years ago. Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site are magnetostratigraphically dated as 1.36 million years ago. The archaeological site of Xihoudu (西侯渡) in Shanxi Province is the earliest record of use of fire by Homo erectus, which is dated 1.27 million years ago. The excavations at Yuanmou and later Lantian show early habitation. Perhaps the most famous specimen of Homo erectus found in China is the so-called Peking Man found in 1923. Two pottery pieces were unearthed at Liyuzui Cave in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province dated 16,500 and 19,000 BC. Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is carbon-dated to about 7,000 BC, and associated with the Jiahu site (also the site of the earliest playable music instruments). This period also includes the earliest stage of the Chinese written language (still under debate) and the earliest wine production in the world. Jiahu contains the Peiligang culture of Xinzheng county, Henan, of which only 5% has been excavated as of 2006. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, and to support specialist craftsmen and administrators. In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a cultural center, where the first villages were founded; the most archaeologically significant of those was found at Banpo (半坡), Xi'an.
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