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Sustaining Ritual: Provisioning a Hongshan Pilgrimage Center at Niuheliang

Ran, Weiyu (2022) Sustaining Ritual: Provisioning a Hongshan Pilgrimage Center at Niuheliang. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This research is focused on the Hongshan period society of the greater Niuheliang area in the Hongshan core zone. To investigate the social and economic focuses of different local communities within this area, fieldwork was carried out at Shangchaoyanggou, a Hongshan local community in an alluvial river valley 5 km away from the famous Niuheliang ceremonial structures. During the fieldwork, 41 artifact clusters, which represent 40 Hongshan household units and one potential ceremonial platform, were delineated by intensive survey. Surface collections were made to collect remains on the ground surface and shallowly buried within the areas of these artifact clusters, and all field remains were later analyzed in the lab.
Based on analyses of data collected in the fieldwork, it is suggested that Shangchaoyanggou household units were generally more involved in food production compared to other Hongshan local communities, such as near the Niuheliang ceremonial structures and in the Upper Daling Valley. The degree of participation in ritual activities, on the other hand, was much lower at Shangchaoyanggou than any other Hongshan local communities in comparison. Corresponding to the general character of the Shangchaoyanggou local community is its internal differentiation of productive activities, featuring a group of spatially clustered household units with a stronger focus on food production and related activities than others within the same local community. In addition, these food production-focused household units also played active roles in social activities within Shangchaoyanggou.
These findings support the existing hypothesis on different roles played by Hongshan local communities within the greater Niuheliang area. Shangchaoyanggou, as one of the food providers within the region, helped feed ritual-focused residents near the Niuheliang ceremonial structures. Coexisting with the regional differentiation are socio-economic differences within Shangchaoyanggou, which provides favorable conditions for food surplus production. This research suggests that the regional pattern within the greater Niuheliang area, with the existence of modest productive and ritual differentiation between local communities, and the internal structures of local communities, support this regional pattern.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ran, Weiyuwer11@pitt.eduwer110000-0002-8318-9384
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDrennan, Robert D.drennan@pitt.edu0000-0001-6405-3476
Committee MemberBermann,
Committee MemberAllen, Kathleen
Committee MemberMostern, Ruthrmostern@pitt.edu0000-0001-8219-7174
Committee MemberPeterson, Christian E.cepeter@hawaii.edu0000-0002-7630-3572
Date: 6 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 December 2020
Approval Date: 6 June 2022
Submission Date: 1 January 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 145
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Household, Ritual, China, Intensive survey, Food production, Neolithic
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 15:55
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 15:55


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