We studied the mid-Holocene climate change in eastern Qinghai Province, China and its impact on the evolution of Majiayao (3980–2050 BC) and Qijia (2183–1635 BC) cultures, near the important Neolithic site of Changning. The investigation focused on analyses of grain size, magnetic susceptibility, ratios of elemental contents, and pollen assemblage from a loess–paleosol sequence. The results indicate that the climate was wet during 5830–4900calyr BP, which promoted the development of early-mid Majiayao culture in eastern Qinghai Province. However, 4900–4700calyr BP were drought years in the region, responsible for the decline and eastward movement of prehistoric culture during the period of transition from early-mid to late Majiayao culture. The climate turned wet again during 4700–3940calyr BP, which accelerated the spread of Qijia culture to the middle reaches of the Huangshui River, including the Changning site.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.