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Land Use Among Prehistoric Steppe Societies on the South Mongolian Plateau

Chao Zhao
Publication Year:
148 pages, Illustrated throughout in b&w, and colour.
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of East Asia, 11
BAR number:


This book uses a cultural ecological approach to explore how prehistoric societies were economically and socially organized to utilize the steppe environment in the southern Mongolian Plateau before the emergence of specialized herding economies in the early and middle Holocene. The research is based on a combination of excavation and survey data from the Ulanqab region of Inner Mongolia.The dynamic land use strategies were examined through the lens of subsistence, mobility, and social integration, based on lithic assemblages, settlement patterns, and other material expressions. The results indicate that although the specifics of subsistence practices changed from the Early Neolithic to the Mid-Late Neolithic/Early Bronze age, people made intensive use of the landscape, adopted semi-sedentary lifeways, and combined hunting-gathering with small-scale farming. It reveals a divergent trajectory of cultural adaptation when compared with the core Monsoon-affected zones of northern China during this time period.

Chao Zhao (赵潮) is a lecturer at Shaanxi Normal University in China. He was awarded his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include Paleolithic-to-Neolithic transition, prehistoric human-environment interaction, and lithic analysis.


‘This is an original work that is a valuable examination of data that would otherwise be buried in grey literature or stored in a fieldwork station.’ Dr Joshua Wright, University of Aberdeen 

‘This is the first time data on this site has been published in English. Few works contextualize data at this level of detail from a landscape perspective, but Zhao’s study digs into critical questions of seasonality, site function, degrees of sedentism, and landscape use. It is an important contribution.’ Dr Lisa Janz, University of Toronto

Table of Contents (S3150_Zhao_9781407315362_-_contents.pdf, 221 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (S3150_Zhao_9781407315362_-_introduction.pdf, 303 Kb) [Download]