This dissertation examines faunal assemblages from the Shangjifangyingzi, Dashanqian, and Wangbabozi sites of northeast China, spanning the period from Neolithic to Iron Age, to explore transitional stages from hunting to domestication through chronology by the analysis of subsistence variations. In order to examine the interactions of communities with different modes of subsistence (foraging and farming respectively), the non-metric anatomical variants of the skull and post cranial skeletons were examined on these three sites in different aspects such as taxonomic frequency distributions, herd management strategies, butchery, body part representations and meat weight contribution.
Based on the above analysis, no any significant difference can be observed for subsistence patterns of both lower and upper Xiajiadian periods in the Shangjifangyingzi, but the other two sites have significant difference, which indicates that long term usage of same habitat as a settlement, people might adapt the changing patterns of environment. However, at Shangjifangyingzi and Dashanqian sites, the subsistence economy concentrated on the procurement of domestic fauna with a minimum use of wild resources, which was always more than 80% for utilizing domesticates. Nevertheless, the Wangbabozi, emphasis was placed on the procurement of wild resources; especially red deer and wild pig were present by the evaluation of meat weight contribution through chronology. The Shangjifangyingzi and Dashanqian site, the dominant meat weight contributor is domestic cattle through period and followed by pig. These sources highlight the importance of cattle, sheep/goat, and pigs to northeast China economy and diet. They concur that most cattle were kept to older ages and exploited as work animals prior to consumption, but some evidence for ranching and dairying operations is noted. According to the butchery analysis, Shangjifangyingzi inhabitants mainly kept sheep as secondary product (wool). Taking these into account, It can be concluded that, during lower Xiajiadian period, western part of northeast China reached its consolidation phase of transition, meanwhile, southern part of northeast China reached to substitution phase in between late Neolithic and Shang Zhou period. After Shang Zhou, that region also came into practice of highest level of domestication or in other words-consolidation phase of transition to farming. Overall, I suggest that the northeast China transitional phases through chronology are as follow:
Xinglongwa -Availability Phase
Zhaobaogou - Last Stage of Availability and the Beginning stage of Substitution
Hongshan - Last stage of Substitution
Lower Xiajiadian - Consolidation Phase
Upper Xiajiadian - Consolidation Phase
These results indicate that general physiographic features and specific geographic location may have been the determining factors for the differencing subsistence economies at all sites. Other factors such as sampling procedures, preservation of faunal remains, analytical methods, population pressure, competition, environmental stress, subsistence technology, and cultural preference may also account for the observed differences.