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The US-China Working Group

Late Quaternary Human Adaptation and Climate Change in Northwest China




In the mid-1980s The US-China Working Group initiated a long-term project aimed at understanding the transition from foraging to farming along the margin of the summer monsoon in northwestern China during the late Pleistocene. While this continues to be one of our principal research interests, we have expanded the project to include archaeological studies aimed at understanding the spread of the early Upper Paleolithic technologies in northern Asia, early human adaptation to the extreme environments of the Tibetan Plateau, the domestication of millet and the development of settled village life, and the use of dung as fuel by Tibetan pastoralists and the implications for the early settlement of Beringia. We have also expanded the project’s scope to include paleoenvironmental research aimed at understanding late Quaternary millennial-scale climate change events and rapid fluctuations of desert lakes, the use of charcoal from archaeological sites in dating loess depositions, and the environmental parameters surrounding periods of northwestern expansion of the summer monsoon.

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