Re-visiting the correlation between movement of Chinese millet and painted pottery before the 2nd millennium BC

An, Ting 

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The current study has re-visited two distinctive patterns, namely pottery and millet, both of which conflict with conventional narratives concerning trans-Eurasian exchange. The significance of this lies beyond the simple matter of chronology, but rests on the relationship between the movement of agricultural resources and of other items of material culture. This in turn is related to the larger debate over whether the movements are stimulated by farmers without material culture (bottom up) or other populations of more prestigious status (top down).

Specifically, in terms of the pottery pattern, my thesis has re-evaluated the pottery similarity between Cucuteni-Tripolye Culture, Anau-Namazga Culture and Yangshao Culture. Previous studies regarding this issue are limited by localised typological analyses and fragmented technological studies. Having had a comprehensive comparative study of all three cultures, my study confirms that there are both typological and technological similarities between Cucuteni-Tripolye pottery, Anau-Namazga pottery and Yangshao pottery, contradicting with previous arguments that the similarity lies in stylistic patterns alone. Also, there are both similarities and differences between the material culture context of the three pottery assemblages as well.

As for the millet pattern, I have re-examined pre-2nd millennium BC charred millet grains and millet impressions by conducting two case studies. In particular, my review of pre-2nd millennium BC millet evidence from Europe contributes to a comprehensive record of early millet findings from Europe. Also, my simulation exercise of millet impressions, which has challenged previous identification criteria of millet impressions, provides invaluable reference for future work. My case study of Usatovo millet impressions re-examination confirms that there are indeed millet-dimensioned ‘voids' on Usatovo materials (3500-2900 BC) though details are lacking for species identification.

I have also put the two patterns of pottery and millet into a vertical (historical) context by deconstructing ‘hyper-diffusionism’, ‘Eurocentrism’ and Andersson’s hypothesis, adding to the collective work in the field of archaeological history across the past hundred years.

Jones, Martin
millet, painted pottery, grain impressions, Eurasian prehistory
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge