Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (03): 344-361.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0040

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Lithic artifacts excavated from the Jinshuihekou site in the Hanzhong Basin, Shaanxi Province, China

BIE Jingjing1,2, WANG Shejiang1,3,*(), XIA Nan4, LU Huayu5, WANG Xianyan5, YI Shuangwen5, XIA Wenting1,2, ZHANG Gaike4, Mathew L FOX6, ZHANG Hongyan5, ZHUO Haixin5, ZHANG Wenchao5   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100044
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049
    3. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    4. Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Xi'an, 710054
    5. School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023
    6. School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA 85716
  • Received:2019-06-24 Revised:2019-08-06 Online:2019-08-15 Published:2020-09-10
  • Contact: WANG Shejiang
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41472026);Macroevolutionary Processes and Paleoenvironments of Major Historical Biota(XDPB05)


The Jinshuihekou site, discovered in the 1980s, is located in the southern piedmont of the Qinling Mountains. This site is on the fourth terrace of the Jinshui River, a left tributary of the Hanjiang River in central China. From June 2014 to February 2015, three Paleolithic localities, including the Jinshuihekou site, were excavated near Jinshui town as part of the national key construction project: the Western Route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, also known as the “Hanjiang River to Weihe River Water Diversion Project”. An area of 370m2 was excavated yielding 1210 stone artifacts. The early hominins at this site mainly selected cobbles/pebbles from fluvial gravels for tool knapping; predominately made from quartz and quartzite, followed by siliceous limestone, quartzite sandstone and granite. The principal flake knapping method is hard hammer percussion, and considerable components of the artifacts still retain features of its original use without the need for modification. Analyses of the lithic assemblage indicate that the retouched tools are comprised of small tools made on small flakes such as scrapers, notches, awls, and heavy-duty tools such as choppers, picks, and heavy-duty scrapers. The characteristics of the lithic assemblage resemble the Longyadong Middle Pleistocene cave site in the Luonan Basin in the southern Qinling Mountains but with higher proportion of heavy-duty tools. Based on the post-IR elevated temperature IRSL(pIRIR 290°C) dating method, the layer which buried stone artifacts at Jinshuihekou is earlier than 150 ka. The Jinshuihekou site restore the missing part of the Paleolithic cultural sequence in the Hanzhong Basin and provides new materials for studying the behavior and Paleolithic technology of hominins in the catchment of the Jinshui River and the Qinling Mountains region.

Key words: Hanzhong Basin, Jinshui River, Jinshuihekou site, stone artifacts, fourth terrace, late Middle Pleistocene

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