Weijiadong Paleolithic cave site located in Bijie City, Guizhou province in southern China, was first discovered in 2007. Further excavations conducted during the field season of 2016~2018, where thousands of paleolithic artifacts, rich animal bone fragment remains, and human teeth were discovered from the upper disturbed layer. In 2018, the original lower deposit layer was uncovered at the front part of cave entrance and inner part of the cave back. The approach of 14C AMS dates the geological age of the Paleolithic layer as old as 12-27 ka BP in the termination of late-Pleistocene. One human right upper P4 (WJD-H4) was discovered in 2016 from the disturbed layer. In the present paper, we described in detail followed by comparison with modern and fossil humans in dental measurements and morphological traits. The crown size, mesial-distal length 6.9 mm, buccal-lingual width 10.8 mm, is within the range of modern Chinese. However, the buccal-lingual width is much wider at the superior limit of modern humans, also larger than the superior limit of early modern humans within east Asia and comparable to some middle Pleistocene fossils from China. The morphology study indicates the mosaic of its modern and primitive traits. The occlusal enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) is relatively simple without accessory ridges, and a single root with Vertucci Type I canal is common within the modern population. Considering the geological background of this site, WJD-H4 would represent members of early modern humans. However, several primitive traits are present, such as buccal triangular swelling, cingulum, buccal and lingual vertical grooves in the crown of outer enamel surface (OES) and EDJ, swelling in the middle of the root, and those are quite common in middle Pleistocene hominins. Especially, lingual vertical grooves are the first case in the late Pleistocene specimen in China. Marginal accessory tubercles were presented in WJD-H4 as well, a medium high-frequently regional trait in the modern populations in East Asia. In conclusion, the human upper premolar morphology from the Weijiadong cave site indicates the mosaic evolution of early modern humans in the Late Pleistocene.
In 1957, one humeral diaphysis of human (PA103) was discovered in Jianping couty, Liaoning province, northern China. According to the comparison of mammal fossils from the same layer, PA103 could be attributed to Late Pleistocene. This specimen has been described in detail. Given the scarcity of upper limb fossil of Late Pleistocene humans from East Asia, a more detailed comparative study is warranted. Here, we provide a comparative assessment of Jianping PA103 humeral inner morphology. Specifically, we analyze the diaphyseal structure of PA103 using micro-computed tomography coupled with methods of cross-sectional geometry and morphometric maps. Cross-sectional properties, continuous cortical bone thickness, and continuous bone strength of PA103 are compared to those of Neandetrals, Middle and Upper Paleolithic modern humans. The PA103 were found to be similar to those of Late Upper Paleolithic in cross-sectional shape of midshaft and biomechanical robusticity. The individual represented by PA103 is more similar to the non-dominant side of comtemporary samples, i.e. biomechanical robusticity and shape index at midshaft. Although the distribution pattern of cortical bone thickness and bone strength in modern human is similar, the cortical thickness of the humeral diaphysis do not seem to correlate strongly with bone strength. Thus, caution is warranted when equating the cortical thickness of a long bone diaphysis to its overall strength.
The Longya site, buried in the front margin of the first terrace on the bank of the Kangjiahe River, is located in Longya village, Jiancheng town, Jianyang County, Sichuan Province. It is excavated from July to September 2010 by the Sichuan Province Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology as a salvageable archaeological project. The excavation exposed an area of 87 m2. Four stratigraphic layers were identified at the site. A total of 559 stone artifacts were unearthed from the bottom of third and fourth layers, including cores, flakes, bifaces, knives, cleavers, heavy-duty scrapers, choppers, scrapers, points, etc. Three groups of artifacts were refitted. It is revealed that the lithic raw materials were locally available from ancient riverbeds, and quartzite is the predominant raw material. Direct hard hammer percussion without core preparation is the principal flaking technique. Heavy-duty tools including the handaxes, knives, cleavers, heavy-duty scrapers and choppers are the main types. Most whole flakes were produced with a natural platform. Basing on technological characters, the lithic assemblage could be considered as a Chinese variant of an Acheulean-like (Mode 2) industry. Preliminary OSL dating and technological comparisons between lithic artifacts collected from the Hanzhong Basin, Luonan Basin, Lantian Basin, and Danjiang Reservoir Region, human occupation of the site was not late than the Middle Paleolithic Age. The excavation gives us more evidence to the study of early human culture, early human migration and clarify the cultural relationship between Sichuan Basin and surrounding area.
Geometric morphometric approach has been widely used in the morphological analysis and relevant comparative studies in biological science. The geometric morphometric study aims to use landmarks and their corresponding coordinates to reveal the geomorphological characteristics of artefacts and to explore the factors that could potentially influence the morphological variabilities. Accompanying with the wide application of 3D scanning technology and the increased requirements to obtain the quantitative and high-resolution morphological information of stone artefacts, the 3D geometric morphometric approach has been gradually adopted in the Paleolithic Archaeology. This paper presents a brief introduction of the 3D geometric morphometric method and its application in lithic analyses. Importantly, we also provide a relatively detailed description of analytical procedures of the 3D geometric morphometric approach. Finally, in order to facilitate our understanding of this innovative analytical method, we provide a case study of handaxe assemblage from the Nanposhan site in the Baise Basin, South China. Overall, the 3D geometric morphometric approach is providing new perspectives and insights into the old stone artefacts, and it will likely become an important research branch in the Chinese Paleolithic Archaeology in future.
The present study summarizes a combined biological and cultural assessment of human skeletal remains from Gavaerk cemetery at Qiemo County, Xinjiang, to decipher trends related to population variation, health, and lifestyle in this region. The skeletal assemblage of Qiemo was unearthed from 29 burials, consisting of 150 individuals (MNI; 73 males, 50 females, and 27 undetermined). Males had an average age at death of 36.3 years, while females had 35.6 years. Cranial osteometric results largely indicate that Qiemo people appear to have considerable phenetic similarities with European groups, namely, depressed nasion, highly arched nasals, and deep canine fossa. Cluster analysis also suggests that Qiemo people have a close morphological affinity to ancient populations in Xinjiang, such as Yanbulaq group C, Charwighul group IV, and Duogang. Even though very limited “Mongolian” phenetic characteristics have been captured from Qiemo people, integrated with ancient mitochondrial DNA, material culture, and cranial morphological analyses, this paper reveals a genetic admixture with populations from Eurasia, suggesting a possible dual ancestry stemming from two different areas: one, most likely from Siberia; the other from Gansu, China. Nevertheless, the genetic interactions between ancient groups may have been at an early stage, so that the patterns observed in craniofacial morphology of the Qiemo people are not congruent with their genetic structure. In addition, this paper preliminarily examined the stature, trauma, and cranial pathology (cranial deformation of one individual) in this sample.
This paper describes the biological archaeology studies of the human skeletons of Ming dynasty from the Zhongnanshijicheng cemetery in Shandong province. Dental pathologies (such as caries, enamel hypoplasia, malocclusions), skeletal pathologies (such as porotic hyperostosis, osteoarthritis) and trauma were analyzed in this paper. The results show that the gender difference and age change of the frequency of caries are not significant, with the higher frequency of caries of the posterior teeth than the anterior teeth.
To study the adult somatotype characteristics of Kirgiz in Xinjiang, and analyze the differences in somatotype of Kirgiz adults that in different regions (southern and northern Xinjiang). Applying anthropometric methods, from July 2017 to August 2018, a total of 1270 Kirgiz adults (551 males and 719 females) were randomly selected from southern and northern Xinjiang with the informed consent. The sample was divided into groups by gender, age and region, and ten indexes such as height, weight were measured. The Heath-Carter method was used to classify their somatotype. It is found that there are significant differences between the adult male and female of Kirgiz in southern Xinjiang. There are differences in somatotype between the Kirgiz adults in southern and northern Xinjiang. The somatotype of the Kirgiz is similar to that of the han nationality.
In order to know the characteristics of the Zhuang-Dong ethnic groups distribution of muscle and discussed Zhuang-Dong ethnic groups each place the basic characteristics of the variation of the muscle mass along with the age growth, using the body fat meter adopting bioelectrical impedance analysis of 13 Zhuang-Dong ethnic groups,which include five provinces of Hainan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan and Hunan. The total sample size is 5098 (2126 males and 2972 females), and the grip strength of the left and right hands of 2685 males and 3793 females is measured with a grip dynamometer. The results show that the muscle mass of male and female in Zhuang-Dong ethnic groups is close to the standard, and the muscle mass of upper and lower limbs is the standard. Both male and female have the largest trunk muscle mass, followed by lower limb muscle mass, and the smallest upper limb muscle mass. Total muscle mass, limb muscle mass and trunk muscle mass of men are greater than those of women. There are statistically significant differences in total muscle mass, trunk muscle mass, upper limb muscle mass and right lower limb muscle mass among the three age groups of males, while the left lower limb muscle mass is close to each other. There are statistically significant differences in total muscle mass, limb muscle mass and trunk muscle mass among the three age groups. In men, except for the muscle mass of the left lower extremity, the other five muscle mass indexes shows significant negative correlation with age. Total muscle mass and trunk muscle mass are negatively correlated with age in women, but there is no significant negative correlation between limb muscle mass and age. The muscle mass of Zhuang -Dong ethnic groups is less than that of northern ethnic group, which has the characteristics of southern ethnic group in China. Among the southern ethnic groups, the Zhuang-Dong ethnic groups have moderate muscle mass in males and slightly more in females.
In order to explore the effects of different ball games on the bone density and directional asymmetry of upper and lower limbs, 210 subjects were selected, whose age is 20.12±1.02 years old, who are right handness unddivided into 7 groups: basketball group, volleyball group, football group, badminton group, table tennis group, tennis group and control group, 30 persons per group, each group had a balanced sex ratio, similar height, normal body fat and body weight. The training years of each ball group were 6-8 years old, while the control group had no professional training years. Bone mineral density and Directional Asymmetry (DA) were measured. The results showed that the Upper Limb BMD of basketball group, volleyball group, badminton group, table tennis group and tennis group was significantly higher than that of the left Bone mineral density and DA of upper and lower limbs were significantly different among different groups. The results also showed that the order of bone density of left upper limb was volleyball group > football group > table tennis group, tennis group and badminton group > control group, basketball group > table tennis group, tennis group and badminton group > control group. The order of bone density of right upper limb was tennis group > table tennis group, volleyball group and basketball group > football group > control group, table tennis group > badminton group> football group > control group. The order of bone density of left lower limb was football group > basketball group, volleyball group, badminton group, table tennis group and tennis group > control group. The order of bone density of right lower limb was football group > volleyball group, basketball group, tennis group, badminton group and table tennis group > control group, volleyball group > badminton group and table tennis group > control group The order of DA is tennis group > table tennis group, badminton group, basketball group and volleyball group, table tennis group > basketball group and volleyball group. The results suggest that ball games can improve the bone density of upper and lower limbs and cause the asymmetry of its direction. The reason may be related to the mechanical stimulation to the bone.
The Listvenka site is located in the Upper Yenisei, Siberia, Russia, on the right bank (the second terrace) of this largest river in the Arctic Ocean system. Its geographical coordinates measure 55°35′22″N, 85°46′24″E. It is an important Upper Palaeolithic site in Siberia with numerous unearthed cultural remains including microlithic assemblages and bone artefacts. Layer 7 of the site dates back to ca. 13.59-15.00 kaBP. There has identified 3 Mogera robusta individuals fossil material for study through MNI calculation. This discovery suggests its paleoenvironment was under continental monsoon climate with comparative abundant precipitation and distribution of woodland mixed with taiga forest and broad-leaf forest, rather than occupied by tundra-forest and cold tundra-steppe as that had presumed. It provided a good ecological environment and supported a diversity of fauna species, including mollusc, small mammal and large mammal. The study on Mogera robusta specimens of Listvenka site indicates the possibility for the hominin capturing large moles as an important food supplement during the harsh and long Siberian winter. It plays a vital role in the in-depth analysis of hominin cultural exchange, physical evolution and adaption to the cold environment in Asia. It provides significant research material for the study of the Talpidae family’s origin and evolution as well.
The new murid rodents associated with Gigantopithecus blacki from Yanliang Cave of Fusui, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southern China are described in this paper, and include Mus cf. M. Pahari, Micromys minutus, Apodemus asianicus, Hapalomys gracilis, Chiropodomys primitivus, Niviventer preconfucianus, Niviventer andersoni, Leopoldamys edwardsioides and Rattus cf. R. pristinus. There are 8 genera and 9 species identified, of which 6 species (67%) are extinct. The combination of murid species from Yanliang Cave is more primitive than those from Longgudong Cave of Jianshi in Hubei, Sanhe Cave and Juyuan Cave of Boyue mountain in Guangxi, but slightly more advanced than that from Longgupo site of Wushan in Chongqing. The geological age of Yanliang Fauna is estimated to be the early Early Pleistocene (~2.0 Ma BP). In addition, the initial stratigraphic sequence (in chronological order) of the Pleistocene Murinae faunas from Zuojiang River watershed, South China is also proposed: Yanliang Fauna (~2.0 Ma BP) — Boyue Fauna (~1.8 Ma BP) — Sanhe Fauna (1.6-1.2 Ma BP) — Zhiren Fauna (~110 ka BP). The study on murid remains from Yanliang Cave, Guangxi greatly enriches the micro-mammalian record of the early Pleistocene Gigantopithecus-Sinomastodon fauna of southern China, and provides important evidence to understand the division of Quaternary biostratigraphy in southern China.
The Milan site is located in the Ruoqiang County on the southeastern edge of the Tarim Basin. As one of the important sites in the southern section of the Silk Road in Xinjiang, it can be traced from the Han Dynasty to the Tubo occupation period (200 BC-900 AD). Altogether, 15 individual relics such as Buddhist temples, irrigation facilities, beacon tower, garrison and city sites were discovered in the Milan site. The garrison site was excavated in the year of 2012 by the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology. Apart from the various cultural relics, plant remains were unearthed including common millet (Panicum miliaceum), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), naked barley (Hordeum vulgare var. coeleste), wheat (Triticum aestivum), peach (Amygdalus persica), as well as weeds like Echinochloa crusgalli, Aeluropus pungens var. pungens and Sophora alopecuroides. According to results of the plant identification and the relics of irrigation systems, there were farming garrison troops with crop cultivation of different species in the Milan site. Since there were roots, stems, and the other parts of the cereals, all of them should be local cultivated instead of transported from the other areas. Apart from cereal cultivation, there were also peach stones discovered, which suggested local horticultural activities 1200 years before.
The Pre-Shang culture of ancient northern China(4000-3600 BP) is not well known, though it is root of the famous early Chinese dynasty- the Shang dynasty (3600-3046 BP cal) and agriculture, walled cities as well as other significant aspects of the Shang culture appeared or were significantly intensified during this period. In particular, little is known about the economy and subsistence practices during this period. The Pre-Shang deposits are dominant in the Zhangdeng site of Henan Province, northern China. Moreover, these deposits have been classified as the Zhanghe variant, which is considered the mainbody of the Pre-Shang culture. We present here archaeobotanical data from the Pre-Shang Zhangdeng site (3750-3600 BP cal). Our results indicate a strong reliance on foxtail millet (Setaria italica (Linn.) P. Beauv.) with minor components of common millet (Panicum miliaceum Linn.). Other domesticated species (wheat and soybean) were also consumed. The material recovered from the Zhangdeng site provides the first evidence confirming the expected patterns for the use of early domesticates in the Pre-Shang culture. Originating from central Hebei Province, the Pre-Shang people have undergone a transition of the subsistence strategy from living basically a nomadic life to adopting agriculture of the central plains in the southward migration, which probably has facilitated the development of the Shang tribe greatly.
The Dongmen site is located 1 km east to the Shanügou Village, Xincheng Town, Xiangfen County, Shanxi Province, and is about 5.1 km west to the Dingcun site. Between October 2015 and May 2016, the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology conducted a four-month excavation, and 27 square meters in total were opened. Strata from top to bottom are sequenced as: topsoil, Malan Loess (L1), and brown-colored paleosol (S1). All the lithics, animal fossils, and charcoal fragments are recovered from Layer S1, while two lithic artifacts are also collected in the Layer L1 about 100 m west to the excavated area. Hornfel is the dominant lithic raw material, and lithic artifacts mainly consist of cores, flakes, tools, fragments, and chunks. The discovery of several other similar localities in situ associated with lithics in the Layer S1 of loess tablelands east to the Sha-nv-gou Village, suggests that prehistoric foragers frequently occupied the tablelands between the Da-gu-dui-shan Hill and the Fenhe River, and the occupation might have lasted a long time during the Last Interglacial. The Dongmen site is identified as a temporal campsite, different from the alluvially deposited Dingcun site. It provides important reference for us to deeply understand behavioral patterns of the Dingcun Man and their survival strategies during the Last Interglacial and Last glacial cycle.
Qijiaojing is the earliest discovered microblade site in Xinjiang, which is located in the northwestern part of Hami, at an intermountain basin south to the piedmont of eastern Tianshan. The survey in 2019 recovered an in situ locality with well-preserved living surface and 847 lithic artefacts, which were dated to about 11 ka by OSL. Lithic analysis suggested that bladelets and microblades were made with fine-grained flint, and the assemblage was mostly composed of by-products and debris, while tools were only slightly retouched, indicating that the locality was a short-term lithic workshop. This discovery provided important materials on the adaptation strategy of Arid Asia and cultural exchange between the east and the west during terminal Pleistocene and initial Holocene.
The evolution of stone artifact assemblages has a close relationship to the investment (time and energy) in stone tools’ making. In other words, it is also subject to the availability of the lithic raw materials, animal and plant resources which can be obtained by early humans. According to Paleolithic archaeological records around the world, G. Clark characterized the evolution of lithic technology into five different modes which made great influence in explaining the technological evolution of early humans in the Old World. However, it should be noted that early hominins lived in North China and even East Asia adopted Core and Flake techno-complex before 40 ka BP. To explain this phenomenon, scholars proposed a point of view that this due to a strong local cultural tradition in China, and limited cultural exchange between west and east hinders the development of technological characterization. This paper focus on the research scopes of technological organization and the dichotomy of the expedient or curated stone tool manufactured strategies. It can be inferred that the prevalence of Core and Flake techno-complex in China represents a successful adaptation which represents to a low-cost expedience strategy. On the contrary, a small amount of Mode 2 and Mode 3 lithic technology in China can be explained to a relatively high-cost curation strategy. In addition, the high-cost lithic strategy of relatively advanced technology of Mode 2 and Mode 3 delivers the cultural symbol which represent cultural transmission from west to east, while low-cost lithic strategy of Core and Flake techno-complex in China may indicate the cultural inheritance and development. Furthermore, the persistence of Core and Flake Techno-complex in China can be interpreted as the successful adaptation to the local raw materials and animal and plant resources, on the other hand, the sporadic and low-frequency variation of relatively high-cost strategy of Mode 2 and Mode 3 assemblages may present the limited early hominins’ migration (low effective group size) and technical transmission from west Eurasia and Africa to China and even East Asia.
Transoxiana is an ideal place for studying agriculture spread and civilization exchange as the drought local climate meaning that there is sensitivity to environmental changes and good preservation of archaeological materials. This region has always played an important role in communication between eastern and western civilizations in Eurasia. This study combines archaeobotanical and chronological methods in order to reconstruct Holocene agricultural activities and analyze human adaptations to environmental changes in Aum Darya region from 4000 BP (late Bronze Age) to the Sassanid Empire. Results show that the agriculture systems in Transoxiana were highly complexity since 4000 BP. Although different types of crops were planted in different periods, the local oasis agriculture structure composed mainly of barley and wheat, with supplementary foods including common millet, foxtail millet, beans, and fruit such as grapes. Rice and other crops were added in later periods, these foodstuffs did not impact the local agricultural structure. This study provides some details about the evolution of oasis agriculture and human response to environmental changes in Central Asia. It also give us some new perspectives for further study about agricultural spread in Eurasia.