Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (03): 359-372.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0006

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A taphonomic analysis of faunal remains from the Jijiazhuang Paleolithic site in the Yuxian Basin

DU Yuwei1,2,3(), ZHANG Yue1,2(), YE Zhi1,2,3, PEI Shuwen1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, 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
  • Received:2022-07-04 Revised:2022-10-10 Online:2023-06-15 Published:2023-06-13


Yuxian Basin is located in the southeastern part of Nihewan Basin. Characterized by the presence of abundant archaeological materials from the well-preserved fluvio-lacustrine sequence of Middle Pleistocene Paleolithic sites, this basin bears significant implications for the study of human adaptive behaviors in North China. An analysis of the lithics from the Jijiazhuang site(JJZ) has highlighted the technological diversity of the Middle Pleistocene(MP) humans in the basin. However, little is known about human subsistence behaviors here. In this paper we present the results of a zooarchaeological analysis of the faunal remains from JJZ-A, JJZ-B, JJZ-D, and JJZ-E. While the limited number of animal specimens from JJZ-A and JJZ-D offers information of fauna, there can be ambiguities in the taphonomic interpretation; therefore, reconstruction of taphonomy of JJZ-A and JJZ-D is excluded. The research aim is to reconstruct taphonomic history of JJZ-B and JJZ-E and to investigate further potential transport and carcass processing decisions by early humans living at both sites. Our preliminary study shows that Equus sp. was the main animal species with Bovidae, Cervus sp., Rhinocerotidae, and Gazella sp. also represented. There are fundamental differences between JJZ-B and JJZ-E in terms of taphonomy. For example, animal remains at JJZ-E were most probably preserved in secondary context; in contrast, bones from JJZ-B are largely found in primary context, with humans as main agent for the accumulation and modification of this assemblage.
Construction of body part profiles of the main animal species form JJZ-B shows no trend in selective transport of animal parts at the site. Presence of cut marks indicates a variety of human activities, such as skinning, dismembering, and defleshing; while percussion traces on the bones suggests marrow extraction strategies.
Being located on a lakeshore, the JJZ-B site was probably an optimal place for human subsistence activities such as procurement, butchering, and marrow-extraction of large-sized herbivores that were attracted to this area by the water and variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants. And yet, the limited number of bones and stone artifacts suggests that the human presence was probably short-lived; and after their departure, carnivores might have ravaged animal parts left behind.

Key words: Zooarchaeology, Taphonomy, Middle Pleistocene, Jijiazhuang, Nihewan Basin

CLC Number: