New Archaeological Findings Tracing 9000-Year Old Domestic Pigs in China
The beginning of February, 2019 saw exciting archaeological discoveries and studies in China that the countrywas one of the earliest places in the world to domesticate pigs about 9,000 years ago.
“Our research confirms that pig bones excavated from the Jiahu （贾湖）relic site in Wuyang （舞阳）County, central China’s Henan Province, date back 9,000 years and belong to domestic pigs,” said Yuan Jing, a researcher with the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Foreign scholars have found remains of domestic pigs from around the same period at many sites in southeast Turkey.
“The domestic pigs in China’s Jiahu relic site had a similar age to those in Turkey, which were among the oldest domestic pigs in the world,” said Yuan.
Unlike cattle, sheep, goats, horses and chickens, which were introduced to China, pigs were bred from wild boars, said Yuan.
“The pigs in Jiahu already had some clear features of domestic pigs, indicating they had been domesticated for some time. But we still lack archaeological findings prior to 9,000 years ago. We don’t know yet when and where the ancients started to raise pigs, and we are looking forward to more discoveries,” Yuan said.
The adult wild boars were strong and ferocious, so they would have been difficult to tame, and this must have started when they were young. The ancients might have caught very young wild boars and raised them as pets at first, Yuan speculated.
Pigs grow fast and breed quickly, making them more efficient to farm than other livestock. They have a more varied diet and can consume human scraps. All these were favorable factors in domesticating pigs, Yuan said.
“The taming, raising and breeding of pigs was one of the great accomplishments of ancient China, and provided a steady meat source to strengthen the human body and expand the human population,” said Yuan.
The domestication of pigs also drove the development of civilization and social progress, he said. （Source: Xinhua）