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Prosperity and complexity without farming: the South China Coast, c. 5000–3000 BC

  • Hsiao-chun Hung (a1)
Abstract

Around 5000 BC, affluent village communities emerged along the South China Coast. Although traditionally regarded as ancestors of Austronesian migrants, whose farming economies expanded into the Asia-Pacific region, the new synthesis presented here shows that these coastal groups actually lived as hunter-gatherers and fishers, with evidence of socio-cultural complexity. Around c. 3000–2500 BC, this ‘first layer’ of hunter-gatherers witnessed the arrival of a ‘second layer’, associated with rice farming and Austronesian assemblages. This new synthesis positions global coastlines as centres of socio-economic and political complexity, long-distance contact and technological advancement.

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Antiquity
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