|关键词: 南寨子遗址 半坡文化 生命表 平均预期寿命 死亡概率
|Average life expectance and mortality pattern at Nanzhaizi archaeological site, Tongguan, Shaanxi Province
YU Shi-Yong, KANG Zhi-hai1,2
1.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy
of Sciences, Xi′an 710075, China;2.Shaanxi Province Key Laboratory of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Technology
and Application, Xi′an 710061, China
|Population played a pivotal role in the emergence and complexification of human society. As a primary knowledge base, human skeletal remains preserved in the graves of archaeological sites can open a window into the relationship between prehistoric demographical and cultural processes. Previous studies in northwestern and northeastern China revealed that the average life expectancy and mortality pattern of Neolithic people were totally different from modern human population. However, little is known about such demographical information on the Guanzhong Plain. Here we analyze a total of 18 human skeletons excavated from four graves at Nanzhaizi archaeological site about 0.6 km southeast of Tongguan, Shaanxi Province. The life table method is used to calculate the average life expectance and survival probability. It is a descriptive analytic method that represents the full life processes of a local biological population. Our results indicate that the average life expectance at this site is about 27.8 years, generally higher than that in northwestern and northeastern China as well as in Taihu area, but very close to that on the coast of Shandong Province. This high life expectance is most likely due to the optimal climatic and socio economic conditions during the middle Holocene. Our results also reveal a sexual difference in the average life expectance. Specifically, the life expectance of male is slightly higher than that of female at childbearing age. This appears to be a common demographical phenomenon in prehistoric population. A closer look at the survival curves of both male and female suggest that the high mortality rate due to the poor perinatal care is the key reason for this phenomenon.
|Key words: Nanzhaizi archaeological site Banpo Culture life tables average life expectancy mortality probability