Prehistoric Midden Cultures of Guangxi, Southern China

Guangxi Institute of Cultural Relic Protection and Archaeology, China

The southern Chinese province of Guangxi borders Vietnam and is an important region in the study of palaeoanthropology and prehistoric archaeology in South China and Southeast Asia. Numerous prehistoric midden sites were discovered in this region, dating from late Palaeolithic to Neolithic. The middens from Guangxi can be divided into three types: cave middens, riverside middens, and coast middens. Cave middens are mainly distributed in northeastern and central Guangxi, riverside middens are distributed in southern and western Guangxi, and coastal middens are concentrated on the coast of the Gulf of Tonkin. Generally speaking, cave middens are the oldest while coast middens are the youngest, indicating a change in human activities and occupation from the mountain regions to river valleys and finally the coast. The midden cultures from Guangxi are characterised by domination of flaked stone tools, sand-tempered pottery with cord-marking, and flexed inhumations, all of which are features observed in the Vietnamese archaeological record of a similar period.