Table of Content

    15 May 2020, Volume 39 Issue 02
    Discussions on stratigraphy and age of the Xujiayao hominin
    WANG Fagang, LI Feng
    2020, 39(02):  161-172.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0025
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    The Xujiayao hominin fossils discovered at the Houjiayao site in Yangyuan County Hebei Province in the western Nihewan Basin have been well-known and intensively studied in North China. However, the stratigraphy and age of the human fossils have been hotly debated for many years. The site was firstly excavated in the late 1970s, and twenty pieces of hominin fossils have been discovered along with thousands of stone artifacts and mammalian fossils. From 2007 to 2012, a new excavation by Hebei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics was conducted from which new stratigraphic information has been obtained besides the newly discovered archaeological remains. An uncomformity of the depositional sequence was identified in the 2007~2012 excavation about four to five metres under the lower archaeological horizons which sheds new light on understanding the dates and stratigraphic association of hominin fossils and archaeological material at the site. The hominin fossils, stone artifacts and mammalian fossils once considered to be buried in the Nihewan formation were actually yielded in the fluvial deposit above the uncomformity which might belong to the third terrace of the Liyigou River. Many independent dating projects have been conducted at the sites since its discovery applying U-series, Radiocarbon, Paleomagnetic, OSL, and ESR, and a range of 200 to 500 kaBP was suggested for the estimated age of the archaeological layers. In this paper, we evaluate various dating results together with the new stratigraphic information obtained during the new excavations. We suggest that dating results yielded from OSL and 26Al/ 10Be methods are the best representatives of the age of the site. We propose that the Xujiayao hominin from the upper archaeological horizon lived in the late Middle Pleistocene, around 200~160 kaBP; the age of lower archaeological horizon requires more work, and currently the OSL result suggests an age of 198±15 kaBP and the 26Al/ 10Be results suggest an average age of 240±50 kaBP.

    A preliminary report on the survey and test excavation of the Mogushanbei site in Zhalainuoer district, Inner Mongolia
    WANG Yinghua, SUN Zudong, SHAN Mingchao, HE Jia, LIU Wang, CHEN Fuyou
    2020, 39(02):  173-182.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0006
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    The Mogushanbei site is located at the northern edge of a hill called Mogushan in Zhalainuoer District, Hulunbeier City, Inner Mongolia. The site, discovered in 1980, with many chipped stone artifacts collected that year and again in 1990. The site was reinvestigated in August 2019, with about 400 chipped stone artifacts collected from the surface and from the uppermost breccia layer of three test pits. Artifacts were made of local andesite from Mogushan hill. The lithic assemblage includes cores, flakes, chunks, and retouched pieces, with artifact size being relatively large, however many small flakes were also found in test pit 3 (and not from surface explorations). Preliminary analysis of the technology, suggests the assemblage resembles a simple core-flake technology in North China, and is Late Paleolithic.

    Production patterns and strategies of the Acheulean large flakes
    LEI Lei, LI Dawei, MA Xiaorong, LIU Kangti, HOU Yamei, WANG Wei, LI Hao
    2020, 39(02):  183-192.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0005
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    Producing large flakes and making the large cutting tools are two core elements of the Acheulean technology. Compared with extensive studies on the manufacture of Acheulean tools, technologies and strategies involved in producing Acheulean large flakes have received less attention in China. In this study, we focus on introducing a variety of the large flake production technologies abroad, with the analysis of patterns and characteristics of each method. According to the complexity of these methods, we have divided them into three groups. The first mainly refers to cobble opening technology, which uses natural features of the cobble to produce a single large flake. The second includes bifacial core, sliced slab and the Kombewa methods, all of which share common technological characteristics involving reduction sequences of large cores. The third includes the Chirki, Tabelbala-Tachenghit and Victoria West methods, which are the most sophisticated core flaking technologies in the Acheulean. These latter methods show a certain degree of core preparation and result in the production of large flakes with consistent morphology. Based on the above analysis, we present a preliminary study of large cores and flakes discovered from the Bose Basin in South China, and discuss the significance of these products in completing our understanding of the lithic technology in this region.

    An experimental study of use-wear on dolomite microblades from Shuidonggou
    YU Guanyue, YI Mingjie, ZHANG Xiaoling, CHEN Fuyou
    2020, 39(02):  193-207.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0054
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    Shuidonggou is an important Late Paleolithic Site complex in North China. The raw materials are mainly local dolomite. In this paper, we conducted 29 groups of microwear experiments with microblades and flakes made of dolomite from the Shuidonggou region. The results indicate that use-wear differs according to the different tool motions and the varied worked materials. It is efficient for microblades to be hafted and employed as composite tools. The lateral edges of hafted microblades are efficient for scraping, cutting and shaving, and the points (distal ends) of microblades are suitbale for low hardness plants and animals. The use-wear produced by the same activities shows varied characteristics on artifacts made of different raw materials. We discussed the appropriate scope of tool motions and worked materials for microblades, and provide reference data for further functional study of microblades unearthed from Shuidonggou site.

    An experimental research on dynamic formation of microwears on the shooting projectile points
    XU Zhe, ZHANG Xiaoling, PEI Shuwen
    2020, 39(02):  208-222.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0071
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    Projectile point, appeared in the Upper Paleolithic, includes tips and barbs of a projectile composite weapon. It’s using strategies have gotten great attention in the paleoanthropological research. Based on the environmental background and lithic raw materials of the Shizatan Paleolithic site in Shanxi, this paper focus on the use-wear analysis to explore the dynamic formation process of microwear during the process of reuse of stone projectile points. Twenty-one experimental tools were shot for 337 times in different stages, while 121 times observed by use-wear analysis. It can be considered that the repeated use of stone projectile points can be recorded by microwear, but it still needed to combine with morphological characteristics. Viewing on the morphological change process, the change of tip is more significant, indicating that the shape of excavated artefacts and its implied human behavior should be considered by dynamic thinking. From the view point of measurement data, tools with sharp edge and moderate length have better affected of using and may be reused many times. Furthermore, from the view point of microwear analysis, if the tip produces clumped large and medium break and/or step scar termination and hafting part produces run-together small break or feather scar termination, resulting in some of part produce rounding and polishing which can be considered for re-use. This study provides important clue for the study on the hunting strategies and adapted behaviors implicated from the projectile point in the hunter-gathered living history.

    Archaeological discoveries and studies of ostrich eggshell beads
    WEI Yi, GAO Xing
    2020, 39(02):  223-235.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0015
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    Ostrich eggshell beads are among the main types of personal ornament since the Stone Age, offering vital clues for human behavioral evolution and cognitive development. As a form of information technology for interindividual and intergroup communication, ostrich eggshell beads are still widespread in African hunter-gatherer societies today. This article starts with ostrich eggshell structure and taxonomic identification, giving a general overview of the discoveries of Paleolithic beads made of ostrich eggshell, as well as relevant ethnological documentation and archaeological studies since the 20 th century. The authors expect the information provided could benefit Chinese archaeological research on ostrich eggshell beads.

    Human use of ostrich eggshells at the Yujiagou site, Nihewan Basin
    WANG Xiaomin, MEI Huijie, XIE Fei, GAO Xing
    2020, 39(02):  236-248.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0073
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    Ostrich eggshells(OES) are the most common avian remains from Paleolithic sites in North China. They were used to manufacture the beads, and also, they were one of the most important dating samples of AMS- 14C technique for Upper Paleolithic sites in North China. However, at present, limited to the sample size and preservation status of OES remains, few studies have be carried out to discuss if ancient humans could consume the ostrich eggs or use relatively complete OES as the container. In this study, we present the AMS- 14C dating results, information of hatching and burnt levels of OES from Layers 3b and 4 of the Yujiagou site, Nihewan Basin. Based on the unhatched burnt OES, which were dated consistently with other animal remains, the strategies of obtaining and processing the ostrich eggs are discussed. It indicates that the human from Yujiagou not only collected the OES fragments to manufacture ornaments, but also gathered the eggs for food and might use the eggshells as heating containers.

    Technological analysis of burned bones and its implications for Paleolithic archaeology
    HUANG Chao, ZHANG Shuangquan
    2020, 39(02):  249-260.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0022
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    Burned bones are commonly found in Paleolithic sites. As one particular category of fire-use residues, burned bones are significant to a due understanding of the repertoire of hominin behaviors. However, the significance of these objects still remains largely unexplored in Chinese Paleolithic sites. In this paper, we present a review of analytical techniques in observation and quantification of the main features, including colors, fracture patterns, black carbon content, bone histology changes and the crystallinity of hydroxyapatite, of the burned skeletal remains from a variety of contexts. We also mention three types of fire-use behavior that may be related to burnt bones researchs. In this way, we seek to provide a referential framework for future analysis of the burned bones from archaeological sites of China.

    Analysis of body composition of Bulang adults
    YU Keli, JIA Yalan, ZHENG Lianbin
    2020, 39(02):  261-269.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2017.0066
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    Biological impedance analysis was used on 19 indices of 604 individuals (248 males, 356 females) to determine body composition characteristics of the Bulang family from Yunnan province. Bioelectrieal impedance analysis, statistical analysis utilized Excel 2003 and SPSS version 19. The results of this research showed that male body fat distribution characteristics of the trunk and lower limb had a greater fat rate than the upper limb. Female body fat distribution characteristics followed this pattern: lower limb > trunk > upper limb. Male and female bilateral lower extremity fat rate was close to muscle volume with the left upper limb muscle volume low but with a high fat rate. Height, body weight, muscle mass, bone presumption mass, water content rate, visceral fat level of Bulang males were greater than females, while body fat rate and BMI was less than compared to females. With age, the amount of body muscle, bone mass, lower limb fat rate, energy metabolism significantly decreased in the Bulang group, but visceral fat levels significantly increased. Compared with the Han nationality in Yunnan Province, body fat rate of Bulang nationality adults is lessened and with more developed muscles.

    The influence of quality parameter selection on 3D virtual reconstruction model precision based on dry skull
    ZHANG Xuan, ZHANG Yameng, WU Xiujie
    2020, 39(02):  270-281.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0069
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    In anthropology, craniometry is an important means for obtaining human skull dimensional information and other characteristics. Computed tomography (CT) and three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction technologies offer significant advantages to craniometry specialists by facilitating both the collection of repeated measurements and analysis of inner structures without destroying specimens. However, the influence of 3D reconstruction precision based on dry skull measurements is unclear. MIMICS, one of several commonly used 3D reconstruction software packages, provides users with the choice to select from four quality settings during the 3D model reconstruction process: low, medium, high and optimal. Ultimately, lower quality corresponds with a smaller file size and faster modeling computing speeds. In this study, four models were generated from a single skull using each of the four quality settings. Measurements were made of the parietal sagittal chord, cranial horizontal circumference, cranial surface area, cranial capacity, mastoid cell system surface area, and mastoid cell system volume of 43 reconstructed Yunnan modern human cranial specimens modeled using MIMICS. According to matrix simplification rules of MIMICS, optimal quality models were chosen as the standard for paired t-tests or non-parametric tests followed by the calculation of measurement difference (expressed as a percentage). Results indicated that the high-quality modeling group, including the parietal sagittal chord and mastoid cell system surface area measurements exhibited no difference in optimal quality. Conversely, measurement data of the other four characteristics used to generate simplified quality models significantly differed from optimal quality model data. Notably, measurement differences between simplified and optimal quality models of sagittal chord, cranial horizontal circumference, surface area of cranium, and cranial capacity were below 3%, while absolute values of measurement differences between low and optimal quality measurements of mastoid cell system surface area and volume exceeded 50% and 120%, respectively. These results suggest that low-quality 3D reconstruction models can be useful for measurements of large-scale morphological features with smooth surfaces. As for small-scale morphological features with rough surfaces such as the internal cavity sinus of the skull, three-dimensional reconstruction quality parameters must be selected very carefully.

    Dental caries of the Yangshao Culture residents from the Sunzhuang site, Zhengzhou
    ZHOU Yawei, BAI Qian, GU Wanfa, LIU Qingbin
    2020, 39(02):  282-291.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0021
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    Sunzhuang is a late Yangshao cultural site located in the Sun Zhuang village, Zhengzhou, Henan Province. In this research, we used a high-powered microscope to analyze 846 human teeth for dental caries. Some are our research results are given below. 1) For the ancient residents of the site, caries prevalence rate was 70.37%; caries incidence rate was 22.93%; and average number of caries was 3.59. 2) Middle-aged people showed the highest caries prevalence rate (88.89%). 3) Caries incidence rates among different age groups were significantly differentiated. 4) Caries incidence rates of female was 30.55% and thus, higher than in male (16.16%); this difference was significant (P<0.05). 5) Shallow caries rate was 6.70%; middle caries rate 21.65%; and deep caries rate was 27.32%. 6) The deep caries rate with penetrated pulp was 19.07% whereas the residual crown rate was 25.26%; and the degree of caries was aggravated with age growth. 7) Caries lesion ranges below 1/2 were most common (42.27% of total number of dental caries). 8) Caries incidence in the upper jaw was 26.91% but was 19.7%, in the lower jaw; this difference was significant (P<0.05). 9) Dental caries incidence rates existed in different tooth positions where M3 > M2 > P2 > M1 > P1 > C > I1 > I2, and the proximal and occlusal surfaces were the main areas where caries distributed the most, accounting for 46.40% and 39.18%, respectively. The prevalence rate of incisor caries was high at Sunzhuang, which suggests that this group had serious dental caries and probably an agricultural economy.

    Starch grain evidence of utilizing plant in phase II of the Houjiazhai site in Dingyuan County, Anhui Province
    LUO Wuhong, XUAN Huali, YAO Ling, YANG Yuzhang, YI Wenwen, KAN Xuhang, ZHANG Juzhong, ZHANG Aibing
    2020, 39(02):  292-305.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0023
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    The middle Huai River valley in eastern central China is located in a transitional area of geography, climate and culture. During the Neolithic, it was a zone for millet and rice farming but when these agricultural systems got established especially in regions south of the Huai River are still unclear. In this paper, we use starch analysis of 22 pottery fragments unearthed from Phase II of the Houjiazhai site (6.2-5.6 kaBP). Results of this work show evidence for a variety of grains derived from Oryza spp., Triticeae, Coix spp., Setaria italica (L) P. Beauv., Panicum miliaceum L., Quercus spp., Nelumbo spp., as well as tubers and roots on ceramic fragment surfaces. Discovery of rice starches indicates that ancient peoples continued to use Oryza species in this area from the middle to the end of the Neolithic. In contrast, starch grains from foxtail and broomcorn millets are the oldest evidence of dry crops discovered in the middle Huai River valley. These findings mean that food exchange and communication probably existed between the areas of millet farming in the north and regions south of the Huai River as early as 6.2 kaBP and 5.6 kaBP. This paper provides important data on agricultural development and transformation in the middle Huai River valley during the Neolithic, and provides some clues for the spread of rice and millet farming in eastern central China.

    Late Early Pleistocene Artiodactyls associated with Gigantopithecus from Queque Cave, Chongzuo, Guangxi, South China
    DONG Wei, WANG Yuan, BAI Weipeng, ZHANG Yingqi, LIU Jinyi, JIN Changzhu
    2020, 39(02):  306-318.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0007
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    Mammalian fossils associated with Gigantopithecus were unearthed mainly in 2007 from the late Early Pleistocene deposits inside the Queque Cave at Chongzuo Municipality of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. The identified artiodactyls total four taxa: Sus peii, Megalovis guangxiensis, Caprinae gen. et sp. indet. and Bubalus chowi. The Queque cave is the southernmost locality yielding Sus peii, marking the southern boundary of distribution of the species. The Megalovis guangxiensis from the Queque Cave is characterized by the enigmatic pachyostosis of lower jaws. Since Megalovis does not need to store calcium in mandibular body for growing very large size of the antlers as Megacerini, nor for holding massive lower canines as in Sus lydekkeri. Its pachyostosis is likely related to its diets on tough food such as small bamboo or sugarcane-like monocotyledons for supporting hard chewing. Bubalus chowi from the Queque Cave is the earliest buffalo. It is likely the ancestor of the Middle Pleistocene water buffaloes. The presence of Megalovis in the Lower Pleistocene of southern China and western Europe, the close relationship between Sus peii and S. strozzii imply the possible faunal exchanges or migrations events between Asia and Europe since the Late Neogene. The artiodactyls as well as other members of the fauna from the Queque Cave indicate the tropic bushy and forestry environment favorable for habitation of high primates such as Gigantopithecus.

    A report on the Late Pleistocene vertebrate fossils from the Zhangshan locality, Suqian, Jiangsu Province
    CHEN Xi, WU Suming, WANG Ping, WANG Xuanbo, CHAO Jianhong
    2020, 39(02):  319-331.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0021
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    As one of the few reported Pleistocene faunal assemblages from the lower Huaihe River Region, this taxonomic study sheds new light on the biostratigraphy of the Zhangshan fauna. Zhangshan is a fossil locality in the lower Huaihe River region, located where the modern climatic transition area lies between North and South China. This fossil locality was accidentally found in the 1950’s during the Xinyihe River construction project, when a few poorly preserved fragments were unearthed. Recently, more identifiable specimens were collected during a test excavation and these are the focus of this study. The material originates from a fossil layer around 0.4 m thick, composed of greyish yellow fine sands and rich with calcic concretions.The following taxa have been identified: Turtles, Alligator cf. sinensis, Palaeoloxodon huaihoensis, Equus hemionus, Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis, Sus lydekkeri, Sinomegaceros ordosianus, Cervus (Sika) grayi and Bison priscus. The identified species allow for a re-assessment of the current record, including specimens of Alligator cf. sinensis that represents the northernmost record of this species during Pleistocene and remains of Bison priscus, which is the most southern recorded example of this taxon. The Palaeoloxodon materials were identified as P. huaihoensis, based on a lamellae number greater than P. namadicus, and of a bigger size than P. naumanni. The mandible of S. ordosianus is the only specimen with a complete cheek teeth series. Study of these Sinomegaceros materials further confirms that mandible thickness, cheek teeth length and antler size are significantly correlated in evolution; at the end of Sinomegaceros lineage, S. ordosianus has the longest cheek teeth row, the slimmest mandible, as well as more slight antler.Most of the elements of Zhangshan fauna represent extinct species, however, E. hemionus and S. ordosianus were recorded only in Late Pleistocene. Thus we can put the age of Zhangshan fauna at the early Late Pleistocene. The ecological setting of the Zhangshan fauna likely reflects a mixed habitat of swamp, forest and grassland in a relatively warm and humid climate. Zhangshan locality is also the only reported fossil assemblage studied as of yet from the Malingshan mountains, where dozens of Late Pleistocene Paleolithic sites have been discovered through surveys. Although further study is needed of the relationship between these fossils and artifacts from the site, the present research begins to elucidate the environmental background of human evolution in the Malingshan mountains.