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The Neolithic of Southeast China: Cultural Transformation and Regional Interaction o ...

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The Neolithic of Southeast China:

Foreword

The Neolithic Revolution was a major threshold in human social, cultural, and biological evolution. While opinions among scholars may diverge concerning why it happened, in how many geographic centers it started, and how it spread to neighboring regions, there is no doubt that the ensuing economic and social changes caused by the establishment of farming communities and the emergence of pastoral societies had a major impact on global history.

The socio-economic transition from foraging to farming left its imprint on the collective human memory, expressed in various parts of the world in mythological stories. Judging by the myths, the shift from the seemingly leisurely lifeways of hunting and gathering to toiling on the land, sawing, planting, harvesting, and storing surplus grain, was a major shift in the role of both work and gender in society.

Many generations of archaeologists, historians, botanists, and zoologists dedicated their time to uncover the story of how humanity succeeded and survived to the present, evolving from the state of prehistoric foragers to settled communities and urban centers. It was not a simple process of constant advance in economy, social organization, and life expectancy. Often the development of village-based agricultural system resulted in poor health. Domesticated animals contributed not only their milk, meat, horn cores, hair and wool, but also increase human exposure to new diseases.