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The North China nanolithic

Bettinger, RL and Morgan, C and Barton, L (2015) The North China nanolithic. In: Lithic Technological Systems and Evolutionary Theory. UNSPECIFIED, 100 - 116. ISBN 9781107026469

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This chapter presents a very simple argument: that technology in general, and lithic technology in particular, can shed critical light on conditions surrounding and contributing to major behavioral innovations, in this case the origin of agriculture. There are probably as many views on the subject as papers, but there is a fairly clear divide between those who argue that agriculture evolves under conditions of scarcity – among them Binford (1968), Bar-Yosef (1998), Childe (1951), and others (e.g., Moore et al. 2000)), and those who argue that it evolves under conditions of plenty (Braidwood and Howe 1960 ; Price and Gebauer 1995:7–9). The “conditions of plenty” view is prominent in discussions of the emergence of millet agriculture in North China (Barton 2009) and specii cally the argument that, in common with nearly all early experiments with food production, millet farming developed among complex, “al uent” hunter-gatherers living in large, permanent settlements in highly productive riparian and lacustrine settings that of ered a rich variety of wild plants and animals (Crawford 2006:91; Smith 1995). This view portrays experiments with millet farming as solidifying a position of strength, increasing the yield and reliability of an already important staple in an already intensive and highly successful hunting-and-gathering economy (Smith 1995:136–137). Lu (2006), on the other hand, advocates the alternative “conditions of scarcity” view. Observing no archaeological evidence that China’s i rst farmers were sedentary and that, in contradiction to the abundance argument, agriculture arrived relatively late in the areas of greatest natural plant and animal productivity (e.g., South China, Yangzi basin), Lu (2006:146–149) argues that sedentism and food production were both responses to declining wild resource return rates resulting from population growth leading to overharvesting and territorial circumscription.


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Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bettinger, RL
Morgan, C
Barton, Lloukas@pitt.eduLOUKAS0000-0003-1519-4226
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Comparative Archaeology
Date: 1 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: 100 - 116
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1017/cbo9781139207775.010
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Refereed: No
ISBN: 9781107026469
Title of Book: Lithic Technological Systems and Evolutionary Theory
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2014 18:20
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 12:56


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