Thiessen polygon analysis and spatial pattern evolution of Neolithic cultural sites (8.0–4.0 ka BP) in Huaibei Plain of Anhui, East China

Li Wu, Hui Zhou, Jiaoyang Li, Kaifeng Li, Xiaoling Sun, Shuguang Lu, Linying Li, Tongxin Zhu, Qingchun Guo

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The Thiessen polygon concept was applied to analyze how Neolithic sites were gathered and the features of agriculture, living environment and transportation in the Huaibei Plain, Anhui Province, East China, in the Shishanzi cultural period (8.0–6.5 ka BP), Dawenkou cultural period (6.5–4.5 ka BP), and Longshan cultural period (4.5–4.0 ka BP). The Thiessen polygon analysis method was effective in determining the settlement center of the region and helped to confer the complex relationships among agriculture, the living environment and transportation during the Neolithic Age. From the Shishanzi cultural period to the Longshan cultural period, a growing number of small polygons showed enhancement in the degree of gathering and cultural communication. In the Dawenkou and Longshan cultural periods, the central part of Huaibei Plain was the settlement center and the distance from the center of each Thiessen polygon to its edges was decreasing. This indicates that the ancients' dependence on agriculture and development conditions increased over the three cultures. The development of Neolithic cultures was also affected by the environmental changes in the Huaibei Plain. From the Shishanzi cultural period to the Longshan cultural period, the climate tended to be dry, and the area of marsh decreased. However, there was little change in temperature, which was beneficial to the ancients' lives and production. Not only did cultural sites and small polygons increase constantly, but groups of sites and settlement centers also appeared in the central part of plain and areas along the main stream of the Huai River. The Neolithic culture developed vigorously, and the abilities of ancients to adapt to environment and transform nature gradually improved. The NW to SE direction of the small polygons’ distribution suggests the control of the ancient rivers on transportation in the Huaibei Plain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - Jun 30 2019



  • East China
  • Holocene civilization
  • Huaibei Plain
  • Neolithic cultural site
  • Site catchment analysis
  • Thiessen polygon

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