Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (5): 687-700.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0804-7

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Transmutation of ancient settlements and environmental changes between 6000?2000 aBP in the Chaohu Lake Basin, East China

WU Li1,2, WANG Xinyuan2,3, ZHOU Kunshu4, MO Duowen5, ZHU Cheng1, GAO Chao2, ZHANG Guangsheng6, LI Lan1, LIU Li2, HAN Weiguang2   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241000, Anhui, China;
    3. Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, CAS, Beijing 100190, China;
    4. Institute of Geology and Geophysics, CAS, Beijing 100029, China;
    5. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    6. Department of Urban Construction and Environment Science, West Anhui University, Lu&rsquo|an 237012, Anhui, China
  • Received:2009-06-06 Revised:2009-11-20 Online:2010-10-15 Published:2010-10-23
  • Supported by:

    Major Program of Natural Science Research at University of Anhui Province, No.ZD200908; National Science and Technology Support Program, No.2010BAK67B02; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41010104005; No.40971115


Based on the temporal-spatial distribution features of ancient settlement sites from the middle and late Neolithic Age to the Han dynasty in the Chaohu Lake Basin of Anhui Province, East China, using the methods of GIS combined with the reconstructed paleoenvironment by the records of lake sediment since Holocene, the transmutation of ancient settlements with response to environmental changes in this area has been discussed. Studies show that the main feature of transmutation of ancient settlements from the middle and late Neolithic Age to the Han Dynasty was that the distribution of settlements in this area changed from high altitudes to low ones and kept approaching the Chaohu Lake with the passage of time. These could be the response to the climate change from warm-moist to a relatively warm-dry condition during the middle Holocene, leading to the lake level fluctuations. The large area of exposed land provided enough space for human activities. These indicate that the above changes in geomorphologic evolution and hydrology influenced by climate conditions affected the transmutation of ancient settlements greatly. The distribution pattern of settlement sites was that the number of sites in the west was more than in the east. This pattern may be related to the geomorphologic conditions such as frequent channel shifting of the Yangtze River as well as flood disasters during the Holocene optimum. Therefore, climate change was the inducement of the transmutation of ancient settlements in the Chaohu Lake Basin, which exerted great influence on the distribution, expansion and development of the ancient settlements.

Key words: Chaohu Lake, Neolithic Age, Han Dynasty, transmutation of settlements, climate change 688 Journal of Geographical Sciences