Too much rain contributes to Lianzhu Culture's fall, shows XJTU research

2021-11-27  []


Researchers from Xi'an Jiaotong University found that an increase in extreme precipitationin the lower reaches of the Yangtze River 4,300 years ago was an important climatic factor that led to the decline and fall of the Liangzhu Culture.  


Zhang Haiwei, Cheng Hai, Cai Yanjun from XJTU's Institute of Global Environmental Change did the research with Professor Ashish Sinha from California State University, Professor Christoph Spötl from the University of Innsbruck, and Professor Liu Bin from Zhejiang University.  


The findings were published in Science Advances on Nov 24 entitled Collapse of the Liang zhu and other Neolithic cultures in the lower Yangtze region in response to climate change.    





(A) The location of the cave and the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu (B) Photo of the Celestial Cave •Shennong Palace (C) Jade cong artifacts that were excavated from the Liangzhu site, is decorated with ancient tao tie patterns, which symbolize indomitable courage and self-transcendence


Liangzhu Culture, existing between 5,300 and 4,300years ago, was one of the most developed Neolithic cultures in the world during the same period.      


It is known for the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu, sound water conservancy knowledge, exquisite jade craftsmanship, and advanced rice farming.  



Comparison of the reconstructed climate record from 2,000-7,000 years ago and the cultural evolution of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.  


Researchers conducted high-precision uranium dating and high-resolution stable isotope index testing and analysis of multiple stalagmites in Shennong Palace and Jiulong Cave in East China's Jiangxi Province, and established high-precision and high-resolution hydroclimatic sequencing in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River dating back 14,000 years ago.  


The researchers found that high-precision stalagmite records from the Central Plains to the lower reaches of the Yangtze River during the period of climate change from wet to dry about 4,000 years ago support the view that the famous legend Yu the Great Harnesses the Flood benefited from the natural calming-down of the climate, which is of great significance for studying the establishment of the Xia Dynasty and its climate.    


Zhang is the first author and corresponding author of the paper. Cheng is the corresponding author. XJTU is the first unit. Cai of the XJTU Isotope Laboratory, and researcher Ning Youfeng also participated in the project. The main research directions of the laboratory are high-precision mass spectrometry isotope measurement technology, global climate change research, and the development of new stable isotope and inclusion isotope testing technologies. The project was financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.    


Link to the paper: