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Oldest Directly Dated Remains of Sheep in China

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ABSTRACT

The origins of domesticated sheep (Ovis sp.) in China remain unknown. Previous workers have speculated that sheep may have been present in China up to 7000 years ago, however many claims are based on associations with archaeological material rather than independent dates on sheep material. Here we present 7 radiocarbon dates on sheep bone from Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Shaanxi provinces. DNA analysis on one of the bones confirms it is Ovis sp. The oldest ages are about 4700 to 4400 BCE and are thus the oldest objectively dated Ovis material in eastern Asia. The graphitisised bone collagen had δ13C values indicating some millet was represented in the diet. This probably indicates sheep were in a domestic setting where millet was grown. The younger samples had δ13C values indicating that even more millet was in the diet, and this was likely related to changes in foddering practices

No MeSH data available.


Map showing the location of key sites where sheep bone was analysed for this paper.Figure 1 was designed, composed and prepared by XZ using Correl Draw software.
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f1: Map showing the location of key sites where sheep bone was analysed for this paper.Figure 1 was designed, composed and prepared by XZ using Correl Draw software.

Mentions: The present study is part of a broader analysis on the impact of Prehistoric to Bronze Age cultures on environments of northern and western China16171819202122. In the course of this, several bone samples were collected from sediment at Shihushan, Dongxiafeng and Youyao in northern Shaanxi, and Haba Lake in Ningxia (Figure 1). The bones were removed from clayey sediment and transported to Xi'an for identification. In each case the bones were in a close archaeological context with pottery sherds, charcoal and sometimes associations of slag associated with metal working. The cultural setting is equivalent to the Yangshao. Six of the bone samples were identified as sheep (Ovis), and an additional sample from Huoshiliang (Shaanxi Province) was provided by the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. There exists a full list of taxa identified at Huoshiliang site23. About 10 gm of each Ovis bone was transported to the laboratories of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney for further analysis.


Oldest Directly Dated Remains of Sheep in China
Map showing the location of key sites where sheep bone was analysed for this paper.Figure 1 was designed, composed and prepared by XZ using Correl Draw software.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384082&req=5

f1: Map showing the location of key sites where sheep bone was analysed for this paper.Figure 1 was designed, composed and prepared by XZ using Correl Draw software.
Mentions: The present study is part of a broader analysis on the impact of Prehistoric to Bronze Age cultures on environments of northern and western China16171819202122. In the course of this, several bone samples were collected from sediment at Shihushan, Dongxiafeng and Youyao in northern Shaanxi, and Haba Lake in Ningxia (Figure 1). The bones were removed from clayey sediment and transported to Xi'an for identification. In each case the bones were in a close archaeological context with pottery sherds, charcoal and sometimes associations of slag associated with metal working. The cultural setting is equivalent to the Yangshao. Six of the bone samples were identified as sheep (Ovis), and an additional sample from Huoshiliang (Shaanxi Province) was provided by the Shaanxi Provincial Museum. There exists a full list of taxa identified at Huoshiliang site23. About 10 gm of each Ovis bone was transported to the laboratories of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney for further analysis.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The origins of domesticated sheep (Ovis sp.) in China remain unknown. Previous workers have speculated that sheep may have been present in China up to 7000 years ago, however many claims are based on associations with archaeological material rather than independent dates on sheep material. Here we present 7 radiocarbon dates on sheep bone from Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Shaanxi provinces. DNA analysis on one of the bones confirms it is Ovis sp. The oldest ages are about 4700 to 4400 BCE and are thus the oldest objectively dated Ovis material in eastern Asia. The graphitisised bone collagen had δ13C values indicating some millet was represented in the diet. This probably indicates sheep were in a domestic setting where millet was grown. The younger samples had δ13C values indicating that even more millet was in the diet, and this was likely related to changes in foddering practices

No MeSH data available.