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Exploring the geometric horizon : interregional interaction and local evolution

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Title: Exploring the geometric horizon : interregional interaction and local evolution
Author: Lucas, Janet
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Anthropology
Copyright Date: 1984
Abstract: This study presents a detailed investigation of the late prehistoric Geometric Pottery Horizon in the Provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi in southeastern China. The currently available published works in both English and Chinese are brought together in this study to provide the basic sources of data for the study of the development of complex societies in this region between approximately 3,000 and 200 B.C.. A major debate concerning the "Geometric Pottery Cultures" is the degree of impact the northern Chinese states had on the development of social complexity among such 'peripheral' groups as these. I discuss the general utility of frameworks which restrict the study of social developmental processes to internal factors alone, versus those which allow for the simultaneous consideration of both internal and external factors and conclude that the latter are more appropriate. Several tasks are undertaken in this study: first is the compilation and evaluation of the presently available evidence regarding the Geometric groups of Lingnan (Chapters 2-4); secondly the construction of a basic conceptual framework for analysing the empirical patterns of development in Lingnan Geometric society (Chapter 5), and finally a brief exploration of the part played by the northern states in the intensification of hierarchical organization of the Lingnan Geometric groups. Mortuary data from Geometric sites are used as the basis for studying the development of sociopolitical complexity (Chapter 5). Degree of ranking in each Period of the Geometric is assessed by the relative amounts of grave goods, amount of energy expenditure on the grave, and the presence/absence of special elite "badges" among contemporaneous burials. Evidence for political aspects of ranking and the concurrent development of hierarchical organization in manufacturing and exchange systems are also examined. I conclude from Chapter 5 that Lingnan Geometric society developed from egalitarian to strongly ranked during the second half of the Geometric time period. Moreover, it appears that the hierarchies which developed at this time were strongly involved in external exchange with more northerly states. The effect of this latter interchange on the internal network of the Lingnan geometric groups is examined in Chapter by an analysis of the spatial patterning of nodes in the internal network. I conclude that the northern exchanges did exert an apparent "pull" on centres, with the result that a disproportionate number are located along routes leading to the major trading partner. The intent of these analyses are twofold, first to explore how much usable data are available at present and some of the questions that might profitably be approached with them; secondly to outline and demonstrate the utility of a framework which comprehends both internal and external stimuli for evolutionary change. I maintain that these are the most important priorities at present in view of the existing lack of background information in the English language literature on this period of South China's prehistory.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/25169
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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