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

  • Hsiao-chun Hung (a1)

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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