Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (01): 86-105.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0051

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Newly discovered lithic artifacts from the Yan’an range of the Shanxi-Shaanxi Gorge in the middle reach of the Yellow River, North China

ZHANG Gaike1, WANG Shejiang2,3(), LI Zhao1, DI Nan1, ZHAO Hanqing1, LU Huayu4, WANG Xiaoqing5, XIA Wenting2,3,6, BIE Jingjing2,3,6   

  1. 1.Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Xi’an 710054;
    2.Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    3.CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    4.School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023
    5.Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100710
    6.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2019-03-18 Online:2020-02-15 Published:2020-07-17
  • Contact: WANG Shejiang


In June 2018, five Paleolithic open-air sites were discovered from the Yan’an range of the Shanxi-Shaanxi Gorge in the middle reach of the Yellow River, North China. A total of 556 lithic artifacts were collected. Some of the lithic artifacts were directly collected from the exposed section of loess deposit. The raw materials of the lithic artifacts mainly come from the riverbed of the Yellow River and the river terrace. These lithic artifacts are mainly made of quartzite, followed by quartz. Flint, silicolite, siliceous limestone, quartz sandstone, fine sandstone, opal, agate, igneous rock were occasionally used. The lithic artifacts include hammers, cores, flakes, retouched tools, chunks and debris. They are mainly small (L<50mm) in size. The platforms of core and flake are dominated by cortical surfaces. Most of the stone artifacts were knapped by direct hammer percussion, a few ones were knapped by bi-polar technique, anvil-chipping technique, and ridged-hammer bi-polar technique occasionally used. The retouched tools are mainly light-duty scrapers made of flakes, and a small amount of choppers were made of pebbles. The primary buried layer of lithic artifacts found in Fuxicun, Suyahe, Gaojiapan and Yanshuiguan are Malan loess deposits on the second terrace of the Yellow River, this layer was formed in the late Pleistocene, and show typical characters of the simple core-flake industry, the age of lithic artifacts could be temporarily put in the Upper Paleolithic period. The lithic artifacts found in Yijintan site are buried in Malan loess deposits on the second terrace of the Yellow River and the deposits on the first terrace of the Yellow River, they belong to the the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic. These new discoveries extend the distribution of Paleolithic relics in the Shanxi-Shanxi Gorge area of the Yellow River, enriches the cultural features of Paleolithic relics, and provides a new clue for future research in this region.

Key words: Shanxi-Shaanxi Gorge of the Yellow River, Yan’an range, Lithic artifacts, Simple core-flake industry, Malan loess, Upper Paleolithic

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