Origins, expansion, and decline of early hunter-gatherers along the South China Coast

Hsiao-chun Hung, Chi Zhang

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This study aims to clarify the characteristics of early coastal peoples in Southeast China and their relationship to the emergence of a Neolithic transition in this region. In prior decades, the region’s pottery-bearing Neolithic sites were thought to reflect rice farming societies (which were identified as an “Early Neolithic Culture”) linked to ancient Austronesian language groups. However, these beliefs may need to be revised now that archaeological findings have revealed an ongoing reliance on coastal and maritime resources, rather than rice agriculture, in this region since about 5000 BC, or even much earlier. More specifically, the evidence suggests that mixed-origin complex foragers successfully occupied the coastal zones of Fujian (福建), Guangdong (广东), Guangxi (广西), Hainan (海南), and perhaps Taiwan (台湾) around 5000 to 3000 BC. Only later did these groups experience variable degrees of cultural transformation and move towards rice agriculture as a result of their contact with migrating farmers from the middle and lower Yangtze Valley.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPrehistoric Maritime Culture and Seafaring of East Asia: A Multidisciplinary Recognition of the Origin of Maritime Silk Road
    EditorsChunming Wu, Barry Vladimir Rolett
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherSpringer Link
    ISBN (Print)978-981-32-9256-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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