The Life of the People in the Xia Dynasty
In recent years, multidisciplinary and sci-tech approaches have been widely used to study the culture of China’s Xia Dynasty (around 2070-1600 BC), presenting a vivid picture of the people’s life at that time.
What was the climate like during the Xia Dynasty?
It is a critical period for the origin and evolution of the Chinese civilization from the late Longshan Culture (2500-2000 BC) to the Xia Dynasty. Archaeological data shows that the climate from the Longshan Culture to the late Xia Dynasty represented by the Erlitou site dating back to 3,500 to 3,800 years ago gradually changed from the warm and humid one to a cold and dry one.
What were the staple diets of the people in the Xia Dynasty?
Featuring agriculture and livestock, the subsistence economy witnessed various staple diets of the people in the Xia Dynasty. Dryland farming, especially millet, was the core of agriculture at that time. Apart from broomcorn millet, soybean was also a necessary supplement with rice occupying a small proportion. Livestock included pigs, dogs, cattle, goats and sheep, of which the pig was a staple diet. Besides, deer also played a significant role in their diets.
How about their physical fitness?
The period from the late Longshan Culture to the late Xia Dynasty witnessed a high infant and child mortality rate. The pathological manifestations of anaemia and scurvy were frequently seen in the remains of juveniles discovered at several sites. Besides, meningitis has also been observed in their skulls. That is to say, most people suffered from nutritional deficiencies in their childhood, and infections related to malnutrition might be the main cause of their death.
How about their height?
Their height varies greatly, as data acquired from the sites of different periods shows. The highest height is about 168 and 175 centimeters respectively for women and men in the Longshan Culture, while about 155 and 170 centimeters in the late Xia Dynasty.