Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (01): 129-136.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0061

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Review and prospective of the experimental study on the simulated flaking of wedge-shaped microblade cores in Northeast Asia

TONG Guang1,2,3,4(), LI Feng5, GAO Xing1,2,3()   

  1. 1. Laboratory for Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of CAS at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4. Hebei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics, Shijiazhuang 050031
    5. School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2021-12-13 Revised:2022-03-10 Online:2023-02-15 Published:2023-02-20


There are many microblade assemblages emerged in Northeast Asia during the Upper Paleolithic. Among them, the wedge-shaped microblade cores are noteworthy in terms of their varied forms and extensive distribution throughout Northeast Asia. This kind of core reduction technique has been examined from multiple aspects by scholars using various methods, among which the knapping experiments have played a significant role in such studies, and yielding a wealth of information regarding microblade technology and ancient human behavior. Since 1980s, three knapping techniques, including direct percussion, indirect percussion, and pressing, have been employed by some scholars during the replication experiments for producing microblades from wedge-shaped blanks like those found in Northeast Asia. Moreover, Various methods of securing cores during flaking process have been designed to correspond with knapping techniques. Based upon these knapping experiments, strategies of raw material selection and core preparation have been discussed, and a lot of valuable information and inferences have been generated by these experiments, which are difficult to infer from archaeological data alone. Here, we attempt to provide a comprehensive review of these experimental studies, including aspects of raw material procurement and selection, core preparation, methods of securing cores, and the fabrication of end products. Furtherly, some deficiencies of these experimental studies are summarized and their prospects are also discussed. We hope this review provides some useful information and could inspire further research of microblade technology in Northeast Asia as well as promote more in-depth experimental studies in the future.

Key words: Northeast Asia, Microblade technology, Wedge-shaped microblade core, Knapping experimentation

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