Jing Cheng

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Yale U.

Grant number

Gr. 10594

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Cheng, Jing (Yale U.) "Collective Activities of Affluent Foragers in Southern China (c. 7000-5000 B.P.)"

A unique site, Xiajiaoshan, was excavated in 2019 in Shenzhen, southern China. The site yielded a massive deposit of complete vessels from the Xiantouling culture (c. 7000-5000 BP). This site can make a significant contribution to our understanding of prehistoric coastal hunter-gatherers. Koyama and Thomas (1981) use the term “affluent foragers” to describe the specific socio-economic conditions of coastal fisher-hunters in productive environments and argue that the rich natural resources were conducive to a largely sedentary population and an affluent foraging economy. The region was occupied by mobile hunter-gatherers who moved along the coastline to access various resources. My research suggests that the site may have been used for collective activities such as group rituals, feasting, or communal storage and production activities. Studying Xiajiaoshan and its relationships with surrounding sites can provide insights into hunter-gatherer activities and regional social networks. The study also should offer information on adaptive strategies and societal interactions during sea-level changes. My research will utilize methods such as petrographic analysis, INAA geochemical composition analysis, and residue analysis to gain insight not only into the prehistoric pottery found at Xiajiaoshan and surrounding sites but also through ethnoarchaeological research at contemporary workshops using ceramics to process marine foods.