The site of Tianluoshan 田螺山, near present-day Yuyao, Zhejiang, is significant in archaeology for producing the earliest evidence for rice cultivation in the Yangzi Valley. It demonstrates that Early Neolithic groups belonging to the Hemudu 河姆渡 culture were transitioning from hunting and gathering to settled agriculture about 7,000 years ago. No less significant from a technological perspective was the discovery of large numbers of cloth production tools among the pile dwellings. This seminar will analyse these seemingly mundane items of material culture to contribute to our knowledge of the technical skill of the groups who produced them. They show that there were higher levels of technological complexity and organization of production in this region than has generally been assumed in the past. The findings of this seminar are based on the results of collaborative research with archaeologists from Zhejiang Institute of Archaeology, which also provides new insights into the origins of the iconic jade artefact known as the bi.
Judith Cameron is an Associate Professor in the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific. Her research focus is archaeological textiles, a generic term for a wide range of fibre-based artefacts that occur in the archaeological record. Apart from Tianluoshan, her ongoing research involves the re-excavation of Hoa Loc in northern Vietnam producing new evidence for proto-globalization during the Neolithic. She is also currently investigating much earlier archaeological evidence for fibre technology at Middle Stone Age sites (c. 75,000 BP) in South Africa produced by early anatomically modern humans and very recently completed a re-investigation of the earliest fibre production site called Anbangbang 1 in Arnhem Land, which is assigned to the Holocene.
All attendees are invited to join us in the CIW Tea House from 3.30pm for an informal discussion with the guest speaker before the seminar.
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University’s College of Asia & the Pacific.