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Arid Land Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (1): 27-37.doi: 10.12118/j.issn.1000-6060.2020.01.04

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Relationship between the distribution of Neolithic cultural sites and topography in the Lanzhou Basin

JIANG Meng-di1,ZHANG Peng-li2,LIANG Bo-yi1,LI Yu2   

  1. 1 College of urban and environmental sciences,Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes,Peking University,Beijing 100871,China; 2 College of Earth and Environmental Sciences,Key Laboratory of Western Chinas Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education),Center for Hydrologic Cycle and Water Resources in Arid Region;Lanzhou University,Lanzhou 730000,Gansu, China
  • Revised:2019-04-19 Accepted:2019-08-11 Online:2020-01-05 Published:2020-01-05


Research on the relationship between human settlements and environmental factors such as topographic features has important significance for understanding the mechanisms of man-land interactivity. The Lanzhou Basin, Gansu Province, China is a typical valley region and is surrounded by a series of imposing mountains and hills whose relative relief is indeed immense. Using the methods of GIS spatial analysis and binary logistic regression model, the spatial and temporal distribution of Neolithic Majiayao and Qijia cultural sites and the influencing factors were analyzed respectively in this study; then, the relationships between the distribution of human settlements and topographic factors at a longer time scale from Neolithic culture to modern settlements were investigated. The results show that the distribution scope of Neolithic sites was large. The Neolithic cultural sites including Majiayao, Banshan, Machang and Qijia are situated along the Yellow River, mainly sitting on the river terraces with smaller slopes above the river floodplain. This may be related to limited ability of humans to withstand floods at that time, and river terraces provided favorable conditions for primitive settlements formation. The range of the closest distances to the Yellow River was from 318.6 m to 17 721.7 m. The Neolithic sites had significant spatial agglomeration, especially the Machang cultural site. From Majiayao, Banshan to Machang, the proportion of the sites of single type was increased gradually from 53.3% to 92.6%, which reflected relatively unstable life style and noncontinuous cultural development. The distribution centers of the sites of Machang type are the closest ones to the Yellow River. The overlay of sites and the changes of distribution centers indicated that the migration and evolution of the sites were mainly triggered by climate change dated back to 4 200 years ago. Topography and environmental factors remarkably influenced the distribution of cultural sites, and the slope, aspect and the distance to the Yellow River determined the probability if there was a site. The model can explain approximately 65.0% of the existence of the Neolithic sites. By contrast, the occurrence of historical sites was influenced by elevation and slope, whereas that of modern settlements was influenced by elevation, slope and the distance to the Yellow River. The change of settlements distribution and influencing factors could be explained by development of social productivity.

Key words: Lanzhou Basin, Neolithic cultural sites, topography, spatiotemporal distribution, the logistic regression model