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Dating Human Settlement in the East-Central Tibetan Plateau during the Late Holocene

  • LeLe Ren (a1), GuangHui Dong (a1), HaiMing Li (a1), Dave Rhode (a2), Rowan K. Flad (a3), GuoQiang Li (a1), Ying Yang (a1), ZhongXin Wang (a4), LinHai Cai (a4), XiaoYan Ren (a4), DongJu Zhang (a1) and FaHu Chen (a1)...

Abstract

Recent multidisciplinary research indicates that prehistoric agriculture innovation promoted permanent human settlements of areas up to 3400 m above sea level (asl) in the northern Tibetan Plateau, but when and how ancient humans extensively occupied areas above that altitude remains uncertain. In this paper, we investigated 12 archaeological sites situated above 3600 m asl in the Yushu autonomous prefecture, east-central Tibetan Plateau, to explore this issue. We determined the ages of five sites using the radiocarbon (14C) dating method and identified animal bones sampled from three sites. The dating results show that humans occasionally occupied the Yushu area around 900 BC, and permanently inhabited the area between AD 540 and 1620. Preliminary faunal identifications indicate human-raised livestock including yak, sheep, and horse during the latter period. Stone-constructed tombs and rock painting were found at some investigated sites, suggesting humans perhaps engaged in a pastoral lifestyle during the very late Holocene in the high altitude Yushu area, where nomadic livestock production remains the current primary subsistence strategy focus.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email: ghdong@lzu.edu.cn.

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Keywords

Dating Human Settlement in the East-Central Tibetan Plateau during the Late Holocene

  • LeLe Ren (a1), GuangHui Dong (a1), HaiMing Li (a1), Dave Rhode (a2), Rowan K. Flad (a3), GuoQiang Li (a1), Ying Yang (a1), ZhongXin Wang (a4), LinHai Cai (a4), XiaoYan Ren (a4), DongJu Zhang (a1) and FaHu Chen (a1)...

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