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The Neolithic of northeastern China and Korea

  • Sarah M. Nelson (a1)

A close relationship between the archaeology of Korea and that of China’s northeast or Dongbei region (formerly known as Manchuria) is frequently postulated (e.g. Kim 1986). Korean models of East Asian prehistory tend to look toward the Dongbei, and beyond into Siberia, for the source of populations that migrated into the Korean peninsula (e.g. Kim 1986: 23). On the Chinese side, the Dongbei is often seen as the recipient of impulses from the middle Huang He (e.g. Chang 1986: 238). By the latter reconstruction, settlement spread to the northeast from a nuclear area around the Huang He where millet cultivation, domesticated pigs, and painted pottery of complex shapes had arisen. These two models of migration and diffusion are not mutually contradictory, but they direct the interpretation of Dongbei Neolithic in different ways. New data from the Neolithic in the Dongbei and Korea do indicate connexions, but not of the simple sort implied by the migrationist and diffusionist models.

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Northeast China is a region of precocious agricultural development in its Neolithic, and pottery is early also in the neighbouring peninsula of Korea. What is the relationship between the cultural sequences of the regions? Do conventional models satisfactorily account for its pattern?

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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