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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the prehistoric environment in the lower regions of the Yangtze River; human adaptation to the wetlands; food production reflected by animal and plant remains; and wetland reclamation for cultivating rice. Warmer climates after the last glaciation melted the ice caps, causing sea levels to rise at the beginning of the Holocene. During this period, the coastline reached even the areas between Zhenjiang and Yangzhou in lower regions of the Yangtze River. In the Mid-Holocene (c. 7500 BP), sea levels regressed again and the Yangtze Delta was formed. This ‘new’ wetland prairie-like landscape with a large number of rivers and lakes provided a rich habitat with abundant plants, mammals, birds, and fish, as well as wetland areas for rice cultivation. Subsequently, Neolithic cultures such as the Hemudu Culture moved into this region and took advantage of the rich environment.

Keywords: wetland archaeology, food production, plant remains, animal remains, wetland reclamation, Holocene, sea levels, Neolithic, Hemudu Culture

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