Ordos Culture - Prehistoric People

Prehistoric People

The Ordos culture is documented from the Upper Palaeolithic. The points and sides of their tools indicate a "Moustero-Levalloisian" element. They seemed to have a masterful knowledge of Upper Palaeolithic technology, producing blades as much as fifteen centimeters long.

The human fossil remains of the Ordos Man from Salawusu site dated between 50,000 and 35,000 BCE show strong Mongoloid features, specifically on the fore-tooth and occipital bone.

The Zhukaigou culture is one of the neolithic cultures at Ordos, dated between 2200 and 1500 BCE. It is associated with about 327 burials, with recent maternal genetic evidence showing that they were related to the remains from Yinniugou, as well as modern populations like Daurs and Evenks. The archaeological finds at the site are similar to those of the lower Xiajiadian culture. These finds are important as they are associated with the development of snake pattern designs on the decoration of weapon and animal-depicting artifacts which later would become a characteristic style of the Ordos.

The people of Ordos are recorded in the area of the Ordos desert from the 6th to the 2nd centuries BCE. What kind of populations occupied the area before them is unclear but may have been Mongoloid.

The skeletal remains at Taohongbala (桃紅巴拉) tomb dated to between the 7th and 6th centuries BCE are generally identified as belonging to the Xiongnu bronze culture and show strong Mongoloid features.

A similar type of burial at Hulusitai around Bayannur, uncovered in 1979 and dated to between the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, is considered the only Xiongnu site along the northern slope of Yinshan. The site consisted of mainly bronze artifacts and pottery and 27 horse skeletal remains. Further excavation in 1983 at Guoxianyaozi uncovered a total of 31 burials dated to the 6th to 5th century BCE revealing strong north Mongoloid features. These generally decreased towards the south, and skeletal remains of east and north Mongoloid type can be seen from finds in Maoqinggou and Yinniugou dated to around the 7th century BCE, amounting to a total of 117 burials. Many bronze weapons of these cultures are similar to those of Chinese style.

Depictions of the Ordos people tend to show straight hair. This is especially true of archaeological finds from Baotou (M63:22, M63:23, M84:5), Etuoke (M1, M6), Xihaokou (M3), lower Woertuhao (M3:1), and Mengjialiang.

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