JINAN, Oct. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- It is common sense nowadays that excessive
carbon dioxide in the air caused by excessive lumbering leads to global
But a team of archaeologists from China and the United States is saying that
the greenhouse effect started about 5,000 years ago, much earlier than
people might expect.
This is the conclusion reached by a group of Chinese and US archaeologists
based on research on the relics excavated from the ruins of a Neolithic site in
Rizhao City, east China's Shandong Province, over the past ten years.
The joint archaeological team of experts from Shandong University and US
scholars began its survey at the ruins of the ancient Liangcheng Town in
suburban Rizhao in 1995, focusing on the relationship between plants and human
They collected wood samples from the site and did research on 21 pieces of
waterish logged timber and three pieces of charcoal. Archaeologists found that
the wood excavated at the site were mostly the remains of burning or
"Prehistoric human beings probably burned wood in cooking, lighting,
molding pottery and even bronze smelting, while large quantities of relics of
ancient housing facilities indicate that people of that time lumbered much to
build houses," said Kuan Fengshi, head of the Archaeological Research Center of
the Shandong University and a member of the excavation group.
The team also deduced that prehistoric human beings used plantsfor other
purposes, such as curing diseases, making furniture or tools and feeding
animals, but these plants were hardly preserved and found.
Luan concluded that the remains of plants and trees at the siteshowed that
prehistoric humans had started lumbering and that the increase of carbon dioxide
therefore probably started before the industrial age.
The traditional view was that human beings affected the environment little
in ancient times and that it was not human beings but climate change or
catastrophes that promoted or vanquished ancient cultures.
"What we have found has refuted the conception," said Luan. Enditem