Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (03): 373-388.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0037

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Chronology and characteristics of the Upper Palaeolithic blade tool industry in Korea

LEE Heonjong1(), LEE Sangseok2   

  1. 1. Department of Archaeology & Cultural Anthropology, Mokpo National University, Mokpo 58554, Korea
    2. Cultural Tourism Department, Jangheung-Gun 59328, Korea
  • Received:2018-05-08 Revised:2019-01-02 Online:2019-08-15 Published:2020-09-10


This article describes the regional characteristics of blade tool assemblages in Korea and presents a general overview of human migrations into the Korean Peninsula based on recent research. Paleolithic sites with blade tool assemblages are rare in East Asia except for the Altai and other regions of Siberia, and Shuidonggou in North China. At the end of 1990, the remains of a typical blade tool industry were found at the Koreri site, Milyang City. For the last ten years, several important sites have been found in South Korea. Around 40 kaBP, blade tool assemblages appeared in the Korean Peninsula while the pebble tool tradition still existed in the early Upper Paleolithic. Most heavy-weight tools disappeared at typical blade tool sites. These consistent characteristics demonstrate that the blade tool industry was probably the result of migration. There is no evidence that a microblade industry(25~10 kaBP) replaced the blade tool industry in Korea. Rather, these two cultures were probably produced by different populations who migrated into the Korean peninsula. When groups using microblades rapidly spread throughout the entire Korean peninsula, the blade tool industry still coexisted from ca. 25 to 15 kaBP.

Key words: Blade, Upper Palaeolithic, Chronology, Characteristics, Korea

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