Research Articles

The study of size-grade of prehistoric settlements in the Circum-Songshan area based on SOFM network

  • 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    2. Institute of Geography, Henan Academy of Sciences, Zhengzhou 450052, China;
    3. Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, CAS, Beijing 10009, China

Received date: 2012-04-03

  Revised date: 2012-06-04

  Online published: 2013-06-15


Choosing site area, cultural layer thickness, significant relics and significant remains as the variables, we applied cluster analysis to the ancient settlements of four cultural periods, respectively, which were Peiligang, Yangshao, Longshan and Xiashang, in 9000-3000 a BP, around Songshan Mountain. Through application of the SOFM (self-organizing feature map) networks, every type of ancient settlements was classified into different size-grades. By this means, the Peiligang settlements were divided into two grades, Yangshao and Longshan settlements were divided into three grades, respectively, and Xiashang settlements were divided into four grades. The results suggested that the size-grade diversity of ancient settlements was not significant during the Peiligang period in this area. Around the middle-late Yangshao period (5000 a BP), the size-grade diversity of ancient settlements began to appear, a process that continued during the Longshan period and finally matured in the Xiashang period. Moreover, the results reflected the regional differences in cultural characteristics in a particular period, which were mainly represented in that there were three Peiligang cultural systems distributed in different areas. Such differences also existed in the spatial distributive characteristics between the Xia and Shang cultures. Based on the size-grade study of ancient settlements in the Circum-Songshan area, it was found that the SOFM networks method was very suitable for size-grade classification of ancient settlements, since, using this method, adjacent cells would compete and learn from each other, a benefit that reduced the effect on classification by the inaccuracy of site acreages.

Cite this article

LU Peng, TIAN Yan, YANG Ruixia . The study of size-grade of prehistoric settlements in the Circum-Songshan area based on SOFM network[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(3) : 538 -548 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1027-5


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