2. Geographic Distribution and Cultural Stages

Stone tool studies have tended to go hand in hand with those of ceramics, the latter providing the basis for assigning many tools to cultural stages. The Xuejiagang culture dates from 3500 to 2600 BC. The early Neolithic spanned 3500-2800 BC, concurrent with the Songze culture. The later stage was from 2800 BC to 2600 BC, contemporary with the Liangzhu culture (Wei Jun 1999). So far, the early phase is represented only by cemetery evidence. By contrast, the later phase is known by material both from cemeteries and occupation sites. Since it was named in the 1980s, c. 20 further sites have been identified along the mid-reaches of the Yangze. This area connected the upper and lower reaches and was also linked to the Huaihe River, which runs to the north of the Yangze. The Dabie mountains rise to the north, and all sites are located in the V-shaped zone between those mountains and the Yangze.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Geographic region of Xuejiagang culture

The data used in this article are from 12 excavated sites and survey assemblages, all recovered in this region (Fig. 1). The Xuejiagang culture is famous for its stone and jade implements. The typical artefacts unearthed at sites with these associations are perforated stone knives, rectangular adzes, stepped adzes and yue axes. Most of them were unearthed from tombs (Figs 2, 3, 4).

Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

Figure 2: The stone knives of Xuejiagang culture
Figure 3: The Yue axes of Xuejiagang culture
Figure 4: The adzes of Xuejiagang culture


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