Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology

Fengcheng, China

Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology

Fengcheng, China
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Wang J.,Stanford University | Liu L.,Stanford University | Ball T.,Brigham Young University | Yu L.,Zhejiang Research Institute of Chemical Industry | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2016

The pottery vessels from the Mijiaya site reveal, to our knowledge, the first direct evidence of in situ beer making in China, based on the analyses of starch, phytolith, and chemical residues. Our data reveal a surprising beer recipe in which broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), Job's tears (Coix lacrymajobi), and tubers were fermented together. The results indicate that people in China established advanced beer-brewing technology by using specialized tools and creating favorable fermentation conditions around 5,000 y ago. Our findings imply that early beer making may have motivated the initial translocation of barley from the Western Eurasia into the Central Plain of China before the crop became a part of agricultural subsistence in the region 3,000 y later.

Zhang J.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | Zhang J.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Lu H.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | Wu N.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | And 5 more authors.
Boreas | Year: 2010

The history of rice (Oryza sativa) cultivation in North China is ambiguous owing to a lack of evidence from rice remains with precise ages in archaeological sites. In this paper, we present rice phytolith evidence from six archaeological sites in the Guanzhong Basin, central North China, dating from c. 5500 to 2100 cal. a BP (calibrated/calendar ages) based on 19 AMS-dates. The phytoliths found in the three archaeological sites located on the second river terrace (Quanhu, Yangguanzhai and Anban) include three types of phytoliths from rice, namely bulliform, parallel-bilobe and double-peaked. These findings suggest that the earliest cultivated rice in central North China occurred not later than c. 5690 cal. a BP. After c. 5500 cal. a BP, the farming pattern in the Guanzhong Basin was characterized by dominant dry crops (e.g. millets) and locally cultivated rice. A likely spread route of rice from the lower reaches of the Huanghe (Yellow) River towards the Guanzhong Basin in central North China is speculated to have happened at c. 5690 cal. a BP. The findings of this study help us to understand the farming pattern in the area and how rice spread across the semi-arid regions of East Asia. © 2010 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2010 The Boreas Collegium.

Xing L.D.,China University of Geosciences | Lockley M.G.,University of Colorado at Denver | Klein H.,Saurierwelt Palaontologisches Museum | Gierlinski G.D.,JuraPark | And 6 more authors.
Palaeoworld | Year: 2014

Deposits from the Ordos Basin of mid-western China are rich in body fossils and ichnofossils of Early Cretaceous vertebrates. Thousands of Early Cretaceous sauropod, theropod and bird tracks described since 1958 have been found at several localities in the basin. We report two new sites (Dijiaping and Bawangzhuang) in the Luohe Formation of the Ordos Basin, Shaanxi Province, which contain small theropod footprints that are here referred to the ichnogenus Jialingpus. The assignment is based on pad configurations including (1) the large metatarsophalangeal area positioned in line with the axis of digit III, (2) the subdivision of this part into a small pad behind digit II, which in some specimens is close to the general position of the hallux (digit I), and a large metatarsophalangeal pad behind digit IV, and (3) a distinct inter-pad space between metatarsophalangeal pads and proximal phalangeal pads of digits II and III. We re-describe the type material of the type ichnospecies Jialingpus yuechiensis from the Upper Jurassic Penglaizhen Formation of Sichuan Province, proposing a largely amended diagnosis for this ichnotaxon. The presence of a digit I trace in the holotype, indicating a relatively long hallux, and the large metatarsophalangeal area positioned in line with digit III distinguishes Jialingpus from the ichnogenus Grallator and similar tracks that all lack these features. The only difference between Jialingpus specimens from the Cretaceous of the Ordos Basin and those of the Jurassic Penglaizhen Formation is the larger digit divarication in the Cretaceous taxon. This is the fourth record of Jialingpus in China and the second in Cretaceous strata, with the first being those from the Huangyangquan locality in Xinjiang, China. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS.

PubMed | Chinese Academy of Sciences, French Natural History Museum, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology and University of Aberdeen
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

The ancestor of all modern domestic cats is the wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica, with archaeological evidence indicating it was domesticated as early as 10,000 years ago in South-West Asia. A recent study, however, claims that cat domestication also occurred in China some 5,000 years ago and involved the same wildcat ancestor (F. silvestris). The application of geometric morphometric analyses to ancient small felid bones from China dating between 5,500 to 4,900 BP, instead reveal these and other remains to be that of the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). These data clearly indicate that the origins of a human-cat domestic relationship in Neolithic China began independently from South-West Asia and involved a different wild felid species altogether. The leopard cats domestic status, however, appears to have been short-lived--its apparent subsequent replacement shown by the fact that today all domestic cats in China are genetically related to F. silvestris.

PubMed | Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Sichuan, CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics, CAS Beijing Institute of Geographic Sciences and Nature Resources Research and 6 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

Phytoliths and biomolecular components extracted from ancient plant remains from Changan (Xian, the city where the Silk Road begins) and Ngari (Ali) in western Tibet, China, show that the tea was grown 2100 years ago to cater for the drinking habits of the Western Han Dynasty (207BCE-9CE), and then carried toward central Asia by ca.200CE, several hundred years earlier than previously recorded. The earliest physical evidence of tea from both the Changan and Ngari regions suggests that a branch of the Silk Road across the Tibetan Plateau, was established by the second to third century CE.

Zhang R.,Palace Museum | Yue L.,Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology | Yang J.,Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology
Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Year: 2016

The samples of river snail shell pieces, unearthed from Laoniupo Shang dynasty site, were observed and characterized by SEM, Raman and IR to obtain the information about their chemical component and crystal structure. The uneven surface of the cuticle was covered with nanoparticles, which formed rough surface of the shells. The surface of pearl layer was combined with nano-sized flakes and kept smooth on the whole. The insection of shell was composed of three layers: the cuticle (100-120 μm in thickness), the prismatic layer (∼130-140 μm in thickness), and the thickest pearl layer (280-300 μm in thickness). All layers had the component of calcium carbonate with aragonite structure and they were different in nanostructures because of different biomineralization processes. Copyright © 2016 American Scientific Publishers. All rights reserved.

Fan X.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Fan X.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology | Harbottle G.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Gao Q.,Banpo Museum | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry | Year: 2012

An artifact of brass apparently predating the "Bronze Age" was unearthed at Jiangzhai site (China, Shaanxi Province, 4700-4000 BC). So that we might infer the probable metallurgical process for the production of this early brass, we performed simulation experiments that, in turn, involved two widely differing methodologies. For convenience we refer to their metallurgical routes as "melting" on the one hand, and "solid-state reduction" on the other. Clearly, either of these processes could have supplied the starting material for the subsequent development of metal production leading to a casting technology, which is a highly significant step in the technical progress of metallurgy, whether of copper, brass, bronze or arsenical bronze. The distribution of zinc and lead in the brass artifact of the fifth millennium BC and several brass specimens produced by simulation experiments were analyzed by μ-X-ray fluorescence at the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF). The results suggest that the archaeological brass artifact utilized alloy produced by a solid-state reduction process. This result is consistent with an indigenous origin in China. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Hu S.-M.,Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology | Xing L.-D.,University of Alberta | Xing L.-D.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Wang C.-F.,Shangluo Municipal Museum | Yang M.-M.,Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology
Geological Bulletin of China | Year: 2011

Described herein are two large theropod tracks from the Lower Cretaceous Donghe Group in Shaojian Village, Shangluo City, Shaanxi Province. The tracks are attributed to Megalosauripus isp. The Donghe Group is contemporaneous with the Jehol Biota. Megalosauripus isp. at the Shaojian track site can be compared with the foot structure of large theropods of the Jehol Biota. Furthermore, the length of the track maker of Megalosauripus isp. is approximately 7.4 m, which suggests that large theropods occurred in central-southern Shaanxi Province in the Lower Cretaceous. The discovery of Megalosauripus isp. adds a new member to Lower Cretaceous dinosaur footprints in China, and also indicates the very probable discovery of large-sized theropod dinosaur skeletons from the Lower Cretaceous sediments of this area in the near future.

PubMed | Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Microscopy research and technique | Year: 2016

Investigation of mortuary ritual is an important method to reconstruct many aspects of past societies. Due to the lack of relevant analytical work, little evidence related to organic materials in a burial can be found in China. Here we report materials collected from a burial during the excavation of the Shengedaliang site. The recovered materials were analyzed using Raman spectroscopy and plant analysis: flotation, pollen and phytolith analysis. The red pigments found scattered over the human remains were identified as cinnabar. Extracted phytoliths associated with the burial are mainly leaves from the Boraginaceae family. This is the first time that a covering of leaves have been identified with a burial in Neolithic China. The presence of special leaves fossil may indicate a type of plant worship and the identification of an important plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. The finding of the two materials allows us to better identify indicators of funerary ritual and its relationship to social inequality.

News Article | January 15, 2016

Tea is an ancient drink known for its taste, aroma, medicinal, and stimulating qualities. The earliest textual references to the beverage arise from 59 BC during the Western Han Dynasty. It is thought that tea—along with silks and porcelains—was a key commodity exported from the ancient Chinese capital Chang’an via the ancient network of trade routes, the Silk Road. Previous evidence indicated that tea made its way to Tibet, southern and central Asia during the Tang Dynasty (between 618-907 CE). And the oldest physical evidence stemmed from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 CE). However, archaeologists have found evidence that shows tea was grown around 2,100 years ago for the Western Han Dynasty and transported to central Asia by 200 CE. The finds constitute the oldest physical evidence of tea in the world. The new archaeological evidence was discovered in two funerary sites: the Han Yangling Mausoleum in Xi’an, Sha’anxi Province; and the Gurgyam Cemetery in western Tibet’s Ngari district. Built for the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty and his wife, the Han Yangling Mausoleum is situated along the north bank of the Weihe River. Excavations at the site occurred between 1998 and 2005, performed by the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology. Amid the artifacts, the archaeologists found plant remains consisting of rice and millet. But they also found unconsolidated plant pieces colored brown to black, which warranted further study. Radiocarbon dating placed the unidentified plant pieces from roughly 2,100 years ago. At the Gurgyam Cemetery, located along the bank of the Sutlej River, archaeologists—digging in 2012—found burial artifacts, including silk pieces, ceramic and bronze vessels, among other artifacts. “An unidentified object found in one ceramic vessel appears to be agglomerated plant residue,” write the researchers in Scientific Reports. “This plant residue and other grave goods have been dated as second to third century CE.” According to the researchers, several morphological features of the two samples matched those of tea, including tea bud structure. They further used ultra-performance liquid chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry to isolate traces of theanine, an amino acid found in tea; and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to identity caffeine traces. Additionally—at the Gurgyam Cemetery site—the researchers found abundant evidence of plant crystals called calcium phytoliths, which were identified as tea, but also found barley lemma phytoliths and unrecognizable plants mixed in. “Therefore, it is likely that tea buds and/or leaves were consumed in a form similar to traditionally-prepared butter tea, in which tea is mixed with salt, tsampa (roasted barley flour) and/or ginger in the cold mountain areas of central Asia,” the researchers write.

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