Major patterns in the neolithic chronology of east asia: issues of the origin of pottery, agriculture, and civilization

Yaroslav V. Kuzmin, A. J.Timothy Jull, G. S. Burr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

General chronological frameworks created recently for the Neolithic complexes of China, Japan, Korea, and far eastern Russia allow us to reveal temporal patterns of Neolithization, origin of food production, and the emergence of civilizations. Pottery originated in East Asia, most probably independently in different parts of it, in the terminal Pleistocene, about 14,800-13,300 BP (uncalibrated), and this marks the beginning of the Neolithic. Agriculture in the eastern part of Asia emerged only in the Holocene. The earliest trace of millet cultivation in north China can now be placed at -9200 BP, and rice domestication in south China is dated to -8000 BP. Pottery in East Asia definitely preceded agriculture. The term "civilization," which implies the presence of a state level of social organization and written language, has been misused by scholars who assert the existence of a very early "Yangtze River civilization" at about 6400-4200 cal BP. The earliest reliable evidence of writing in China is dated only to about 3900-3000 cal BP, and no "civilization" existed in East Asia prior to this time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-903
Number of pages13
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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