PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (10): 1454-1462.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.10.003

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Spatial distribution of prehistoric settlement sites in Zhengzhou-Luoyang Region based on index model

BI Shuoben1, JI Han1, LIANG Jingtao2, QIAO Wenwen2, LI Xiliang1   

  1. 1. School of Remote Sensing, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China;
    2. School of Computer and Software, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • Received:2013-05-01 Revised:2013-07-01 Online:2013-10-25 Published:2013-10-24

Abstract: To study the distribution mechanism of prehistoric human settlements in Zhengzhou-Luoyang region, the relationships between the settlements distribution and the four environmental factors including elevation, slope, aspect and distance from water are analyzed with the support of GIS. On that basis, in the form of a graph of the region showing different suitability levels, a suitability index evaluation system is constructed and the settlement index model is established. The results of the model are then compared to the specific circumstances of the site distribution to explain the characteristics of, and possible reasons for, the settlements distribution. This approach enables the research based on documents and archaeological survey to reach more rational conclusions, and has great value for the interpretation of man-land relationship. The results show that: (1) Prehistoric settlement site selection was strongly influenced by the four environmental factors mentioned above. Low plain area was more convenient for prehistoric human to live, commute and plant crops. Most sites lied in the almost flat areas for minimum impact caused by the potential energy of the surface runoff, and it also helped build houses and resist natural disasters. Living at places facing the south not only kept out the wind but also promoted vegetation, growing crops and other farm produce. Water resources were made possible by living near lakes and rivers. (2) In Peiligang Period, the survival skills of humans had yet to be developed. They were heavily dependent upon the surroundings. They had to occupy the most suitable areas as much as possible to live on the abundant natural resources. In the Early Yangshao Period, based on the fact that the number of people living in the most suitable places decreased, humans had become adapted to nature and started to explore it. Not only they found out ways to locate the best places for living, but also they began to expand their living environment, suggesting that humans had advanced in their ability to carry out the production activities on their own. In the Late Yangshao Period, the capability of human activities didn't expand, and the suitability played less of role in choosing settlement sites. In Longshan Period, the prehistoric culture boosted, productivity increased, and by contrast the number of humans living at most suitable settlement sites increased, which means social stratification appeared so that the higher class had the power to occupy the most suitable settlement sites. The ability for humans to live by their free will or even remodel the nature had been further improved. To sum up, the research on spatial distribution of the Neolithic settlement sites in Zhengzhou-Luoyang region on the basis of index model provides a new approach to the field of archaeology from managing and decision-making aspects.

Key words: index model, prehistoric settlement sites, spatial analysis, Zhengzhou-Luoyang Region