Mi River Basin (Shandong) Archaeological Project

Figure 1: Location of Early Neolithic cultures, pre- and Early Neolithic sites in China. No. 7 represent the general area of the Mi River Basin.(2018 – Present)

The Mi River Basin (Shandong) Archaeological Project is the first stage in a larger research project that aims at a better understanding of the long-term trajectory from mobile hunter-gatherers to sedentary agricultural societies in East China. It focuses not only on the reasons for this also on its social context and on the economic, social and cultural consequences that resulted from this revolutionary process. The research is supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (Grant no. 728/17).

The Mi River Basin (弥河流域) is located in one of the regions where early agriculturalist societies evolved in North China (Fig 1). In October 2019 we conducted the first field season of the Mi River Valley International Archaeological Collaboration Project. The project is a collaboration between the Hebrew University, the Shandong Provincial Archaeological Institute (山东省文物考古研究院), Shandong University, Shanghai University and Haifa University. The Principal Investigators on the Israeli side are Prof. Gideon Shelach-Lavi from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Dr, Yitzchak Jaffe from Haifa University; on the Chinese side is Dr. Sun Bo (孙波) from the Shandong Provincial Archaeological Institute. The team also includes researchers and students from the Hebrew University, Shandong University and Shanghai University, members of the Shandong Provincial Archaeological Institute and the Linqu city museum.

This year (2019) we worked in (临朐县), Shandong province. Our work consisted of a full cover systematic pedestrian survey. We worked in small teams and were able to locate some 200 archaeological sites, many of them previously unknown. The sites, dated from the Neolithic period to the Han dynasty, were mapped and the ceramics collected from their surface is being analyzed and documented. Our plans are to continue this project, including more surveys as well as archaeological excavations, over the coming four years.