• carp;
  • China;
  • freshwater fishing;
  • Neolithic Age;
  • origins of rice cultivation;
  • pharyngeal teeth;
  • Tianluoshan site;
  • wetland utilization


The pharyngeal tooth remains of crucian and common carp from the Tinaluoshan site of the Hemudu Cultural Stage, Zhejiang Province, China, were analysed. The body-lengths (BLs) of the fish were estimated from tooth size and plotted as bar diagrams. Based on these, we infer that Neolithic dwellers used gill nets to efficiently catch fish of a specific size during the breeding season. The BL distribution of common carp there is similar to those from Jomon sites in Japan, and we therefore infer that the technology for controlling water for rice cultivation in paddy fields had not yet been developed. The abundance of tooth remains of crucian carp unearthed at the Tianluoshan site is reminiscent of similar finds in Western Japan, and we thus infer that the culture trait of utilizing crucian carp as a major protein resource was distributed from the Yangtze River basin to Western Japan. Analysis of pharyngeal tooth remains of carp at various Japanese archaeological sites shows that freshwater fishing was conducted quite differently before and after the establishment of paddy fields. With this fact in mind, one of the present authors tried to model the development of freshwater fishing, with reference to the relation of fishing to rice cultivation (Nakajima, 2010). In Phase I, artisanal fishing became an active and technically developed endeavour, and people began to cultivate rice at fishing site. In Phase II, people began to cultivate rice purposefully in irrigated paddy fields while also fishing there. Comparing the present results of the pharyngeal tooth remains from the Tianluoshan site with those from the Jomon Period, we see that the Tianluoshan site was in the same stage as the end of Phase I in Japan, which rice cultivation was done as a supplementary activity at fishing site. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.