The Cishan culture (Chinese: 磁山文化; 8000-5500 BC) was a Neolithic Yellow River culture in northern China, based primarily around southern Hebei, along the north shore of the Luo River. The Cishan culture was based on the farming of foxtail millet, the cultivation of which on one site has been dated back 10,000 years. There is also evidence that the Cishan people cultivated barley and, late in their history, a japonica variety of rice.
Common artifacts from the Cishan culture include stone grinders, stone sickles and tripod pottery. The sickle blades feature fairly uniform serrations, which made the harvesting of grain easier. Cord markings, used as decorations on the pottery, was more common compared to neighboring cultures. Also, the Cishan potters created a broader variety of pottery forms such as basins, pot supports, serving stands, and drinking cups.
Since the culture shared many similarities with its southern neighbor, the Peiligang culture, both cultures are sometimes referred to together as the Cishan-Peiligang culture or Peiligang-Cishan culture, suggesting that they were a single culture. The Cishan culture also shared several similarities with its eastern neighbor, the Beixin culture. However, the consensus among archaeologists is that the Cishan people were members of a separate culture that shared many characteristics with its neighbors.
The type site at Cishan is located in Wu'an, Hebei, China on a low elevation mesa. The site covers an area of around 80,000 m². The houses at Cishan were semi-subterranean and round. The site showed evidence of domesticated pigs, dogs and chickens, with pigs providing the primary source of meat. The Cishan people hunted deer and wild boar. Nuts, wild apricots and pears, and various roots and tubers were foraged from the surrounding forests. Fish was also an important part of the diet at Cishan, specifically carp and herring from the nearby river; fishing nets made from hemp fibers were used.
Over 500 subterranean storage pits were discovered at Cishan. These pits were used to store millet. The largest pits were 5 meters deep and capable of storing up to 1000 kg of millet.
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