Top Read Articles

    Published in last 1 year |  In last 2 years |  In last 3 years |  All
    Please wait a minute...
    For Selected: Toggle Thumbnails
    History of experiments and debates on the identification of soft-hammer flakes
    CAO Yu, YI Mingjie
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 36-45.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0009
    Abstract795)   HTML35)    PDF (660KB)(249)       Save

    The soft-hammer technique refers to the method that removing flakes by direct percussion using indenters made of soft materials, usually involving wood, bones, antlers or soft stones. The use of soft-hammer technique is beneficial for controlling the morphology of flakes more effectively, which is considered to be an important sign of the progress of ancient human cognitive and technological level. Since the early 20th century, the principle of soft-hammer technique and the characteristics of soft-hammer flakes have been described by scholars during the observation of prehistoric lithic assemblages and knapping experiments. It was generally believed that flakes produced by soft-hammer percussion were usually with special attributes such as diffuse bulb of force and lipping, which were usually regarded as direct evidence. Due to the lack of soft hammer discovery in archaeological sites, these attributes usually act as the only evidence for the existence of soft-hammer technique. But with the development of targeted knapping experiments, the above-mentioned attributes have been proved to be the results of multiple factors during the percussion process, such as properties of raw materials, force angle, edge angle and even the style of different knappers and it is controversial to distinguish soft and hard hammer technique based on the characteristics of flakes. This paper reviews the process of recognizing of soft-hammer technique and the history of systematic experiments. It is suggested that the “attributes of soft-hammer flakes” should not be taken as the only evidence for the existence of soft-hammer technique, but need to take into account various factors involved in the whole percussion process. We call for the establishment of a database containing experimental and archaeological data to provide richer comparative materials for the lithic analysis.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    The origins and destinations of the Levantine Initial Upper Paleolithic: A view from the Negev Desert, Israel
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (05): 626-637.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0035
    Abstract680)   HTML142)    PDF (7867KB)(245)       Save

    The Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) is a chrono-cultural phase corresponding with the onset of systematic production of pointed blades in various regions in Eurasia. This phenomenon is often conceived to correlate with the MIS 3 modern human expansion. Originally defined after the site Boker Tachtit in the Negev Desert, Israel, the Levantine IUP is composed of two consecutive superimposed lithic industries. The lower, named Emiran, is characterized with bidirectional blade technology, whereas the upper industry with unidirectional blades. Until recently the chronology of Boker Tachtit was insecure but new radiometric ages have shown that the Emiran is contemporaneous with the local Late Mousterian, thus supporting the assumption of this industry being imported. Similar technological features and chronological proximities between Boker Tachtit and assemblages from the Nile Valley and southern Arabia suggest the early Boker Tachtit inhabitants may have originated from these regions. The Emiran industry developed in Boker Tachtit into a later variant, the unidirectional industry, but it also expanded northward to central Europe and north-central Asia. The later variant acted in a similar manner as it developed locally into the early Ahmarian techno-complex but also expanded into the northern Levant and the Balkans. It is proposed the IUP phase featured at least two dispersal events. The first is the expansion from the Nile Valley/Arabia to the Levant from where it expanded rapidly to central Europe and north-central Asia. The second dispersal occurred slightly later and began in the southern Levant from where it spread to the northern Levant and the Balkans.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    A study of the bone awl from the Ziyang Man site, Sichuan Province
    ZHANG Yue, WU Xiujie, ZHANG Shuangquan
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 1-14.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0002
    Abstract677)   HTML64)    PDF (4848KB)(262)       Save

    Osseous artifacts manufactured with techniques specifically conceived for such materials, such as cutting, scraping, carving, grinding and polishing, is labeled as formal bone tools and commonly associated with modern human behaviour. Bone awls produced with such techniques are among the most significant components of formal bone tool assemblages uncovered from a large number of the important prehistoric sites in the Old World. In Africa, a bone awl with an age of 98.9±4.5 kaBP was discovered from the Blombos M3 phase; and such implements were also unearthed at a number of sites securely dated to between 75-60 kaBP. In Europe, the earliest age (44-40 kaBP cal) of bone awls which were from the Châtelperronian and the Uluzzian sites in France and Italy, is much younger than that in Africa. In China, the early appearance of bone awls is reported at the Longquan Cave in Henan province and the Ma’anshan Cave in Guizhou province, roughly contemporary to that in Europe.

    The Ziyang Man site in Sichuan Province is well-known for the discovery of an almost complete skull-cap of late Homo sapiens. However, an entirely modified bone awl, the unique osseous artifact from the site has received little attention after its first appearance in academic works in 1952. In this paper, we present a detailed techno-functional analysis of this bone awl.

    By comparing with modern reference collections curated at the IVPP, we conclude this artifact was most probably made from the tibia midshaft of a large-sized deer (most possibly Cervus unicolor), as some anatomical features of this bone element could still be observed on its surface.

    Technological and morphometric analyses show the dorsal aspect of this specimen was unevenly scraped, with certain parts of the original compact bone surface still preserved; the ventral aspect, on the contrary, preserved no original bone surface as its distal and medial portion was leveled off by scraping and the proximal portion with a U-shape section was shaped by the repeated gouging with a lithic scraper.

    Microscopic observation of the bone awl shows that rounding, fine transverse striations and polish are confined mostly within a limited area of both its tips. This is in full agreement with the features of ethnographic and experimental examples of awls used to piece hide and skins, as well as those of archaeological specimens of well-established functions.

    Observation of the specimen under microscope revealed the presence of red residues still adhering to the distal tip of the bone awl. Both the SEM-EDS (Scanning Electron Microscope-Energy Dispersive Spectrometer) and LIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) analyses of the sampled red residues detect Fe-rich components, and yield spectra with peaks centered on Fe element more intense than the control samples lacking red residues. We thus suggest that the distal tip of the awl might have been stained by ochre powder when it was used for hide or skin piercing.

    Through comparative studies with the alike finds from the archaeological sites of southern China, the regional specificity as well as human behaviors embodied in this artifact were tentatively explored and it seems reasonable to argue that the bone artifact from the Ziyang Man site was an exemplary osseous tool in prehistoric China with signs of multi-functionality and clearly identified ochre residues on its functional unit.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    The study progress of the morphological variation of human orolabial region
    LI Haijun, WENG Minjie, DUAN Wanqi, LIU Liming
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 137-148.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0016
    Abstract657)   HTML33)    PDF (1326KB)(162)       Save

    The orolabial region is one of the most important anatomical structures of the human face, closely connected to the skin around the oral cavity, and has important physiological functions. The lips protect the oral cavity from the penetration of external substances, and maintain the humidity and temperature inside the oral cavity, and aid to chew. At the same time, the orolabial region is also one of the main parts of cosmetic surgery, and lip wrinkles have an important identification value in forensic physical evidence research. In addition, the orolabial region is one of the main objects of study in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and medicine. In the field of anthropology, both the skeletal and soft tissue morphology of the orolabial region are important materials for the study of the characteristics of different ethnic groups. In the field of medicine, the study of orolabial morphology can provide a more accurate basis for the treatment of orolabial diseases and the individualization of plastic surgery. With the development of science and technology, research on orolabial morphology in different fields at home and abroad has used a variety of research techniques and methods and involved multiple aspects, forming a diverse range of research results, providing a basis for the establishment of a quantitative database on the orolabial region of the population in the future. Current research on orolabial morphology includes the following aspects: 1) The manifest characteristics of sex differences in orolabial morphological variation, and their association with nasal width; 2) Age differences in morphological variation of the orolabial region, and their age-related sex comparisons; 3) Ethnic differences in morphological variation of the orolabial region; 4) Factors influencing the morphological variation of the orolabial region, including genetics, dietary structure, tooth and jaw morphology, and breathing patterns; 5) Applications related to the study of the morphology of the orolabial region, including medical aspects such as cheilopalatognathus, orthodontics, lip plastic surgery, etc., personal identification through lip prints and lip shapes, and applications in the field of forensic criminal investigation such as reconstruction of the deceased’s appearance. There are relatively few studies on the morphology of the orolabial region in China, especially the lack of more systematic studies on the growth and development of the morphology and variation of the orolabial region. In this paper, we examined the research results on orolabial morphology at home and abroad, sorted out and summarized the research data and conclusions in the related literature, gave a brief overview of the research on orolabial morphology according to certain research directions, and made a brief review and outlook on the research on orolabial growth and development and morphological variation in China.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    A review of Paleolithic raw material exploitation studies in China
    SHEN Xuke, LI Ting, ZHANG Dongju
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 161-176.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0014
    Abstract629)   HTML441)    PDF (13606KB)(358)       Save

    As an important part of the lithic artifact manufacturing system, lithic raw materials exploitation reflects several attributes of prehistoric humans, including environmental cognition, resource exploitation, mobility patterns, and cultural exchanges. However, there were differences in these attributes between Africa and Western Eurasia: In the former, high-quality flint and obsidian are relatively abundant, whereas in East Asia the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers mainly exploited the locally ubiquitous vein quartz, quartzite, and ordinary chert to produce stone artifacts. This has resulted in a relatively small number of Paleolithic raw materials exploitation studies in East Asia. To better understand what is known about the lithic raw material exploitation strategies of the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers in China, here we review and summarize all previous related studies. We found that from the Lower Paleolithic to Upper Paleolithic periods, raw materials composition, source selection and exploitation methods changed substantially. During the Lower Paleolithic period, hunter-gatherers mainly exploited local vein quartz, quartzite and flint from riverbeds, bedrock outcrops and weathered outcrops near residential or camp sites. The quality of these raw materials was usually unexceptional, and the exploitation distances were generally within 10 km. During the Middle Paleolithic period, lithic raw material types increased in number and they varied between regions. Although the quality of these raw materials was also generally unexceptional, high-quality flint began to appear at some sites, albeit not in dominant proportions. Local procurement within 10 km still dominated during this period, while long-distance procurement occurred occasionally. The hunter-gatherers during this period clearly had an improved ability to recognize and utilize local raw materials, and they relied increasingly on high-quality raw materials. During the Upper Paleolithic period, the types of lithic raw materials increased greatly, and there was a marked decrease in the proportion of vein quartz and quartzite, and a significant increase in the proportion of high-quality raw materials, like flint, chalcedony, siliceous rock and volcanic tuff, and there was also the first appearance of obsidian. Long-distance procurement of high-quality raw materials in northern China became more common, but in southern China local procurement from riverbeds still dominated. The emergence of specialized raw material exploitation and lithic production workshop sites is another distinctive feature of this period. These temporal and spatial changes in Paleolithic raw material exploitation strategies in China were likely the result of multiple factors, including the mobility patterns of hunter-gatherers, advances in stone tool production technologies, and climate changes. In summary, the study of Paleolithic raw material exploitation strategy is critical for understanding human behavior, population interactions and migrations. Therefore, more intensive and systematic studies of Paleolithic raw materials exploitation in China are needed in the future.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Ancient genomes reveal the complex genetic history of Prehistoric Eurasian modern humans
    ZHANG Ming, PING Wanjing, YANG Melinda Anna, FU Qiaomei
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (03): 412-421.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0010
    Abstract580)   HTML104)    PDF (1917KB)(362)       Save

    Significant shifts in human populations occurred several times throughout history, as populations dispersed throughout Eurasia about 50 kaBP. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), global temperatures dropped sharply causing environmental deterioration and population turnover in areas. After the LGM, populations increased as the natural environment stabilized and gradually developed into today’s populations. With advancements in ancient DNA extraction and sequencing technology, it is increasingly possible to directly retrieve genome-wide data from prehistoric modern human remains. The rapid emergence of new ancient genomes provides an entirely new direction for studying modern human population structure and evolutionary history. This research on Eurasian populations spanning 45~19 kaBP (pre-LGM) and 19~10 kaBP (post-LGM) summarizes the movement and interaction of prehistoric modern human populations, focusing especially on prehistoric East Eurasia, a region that has been less well-studied genetically. Of at least six distinct populations in Eurasia, three did not contribute substantial ancestry to present-day populations: Ust’-Ishim (≈45 kaBP) from northwestern Siberia; Oase 1 (≈40 kaBP) from Romania; and Zlatý kůň (over 45 kaBP) from Czechia. One population represented by three individuals (4.6~4.3 kaBP, from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria) seemed to contribute at least a partial genetic component to later some Eurasian populations. One population represented by Tianyuan man (≈40 kaBP, from East Asia) was shown to be more similar to present-day East Asians and Native Americans than to present-day or ancient Europeans. One population represented by Kostenki 14 (≈36 kaBP, from western Siberia) and Goyet Q116-1 (≈35 kaBP, from Belgium) was more closely related to Europeans than to other Eurasians. This work also summarized five representative populations after 40 kaBP and before the end of the LGM. In East Eurasia after the LGM (or since 14 kaBP), population histories played out very differently. For instance, high genetic continuity is observed in the Amur region in the last 14 kaBP, while in the Guangxi region of southern China, an ancient population that lived 10.5 kaBP carried ancestry not represented in any present-day humans. To conclude, comparison of genome-wide ancient DNA from multiple prehistoric humans have illustrated a complex genetic history of prehistoric Eurasian modern humans. In the future, additional ancient genomes will provide more evidence and details to illuminate the complex genetic history of modern humans.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    The northern dispersal route: New evidence of Upper Paleolithic human behavior from the Tsagaan Turuut River Valley, central Mongolia
    Tsedendorj BOLORBAT, Dashzeveg BAZARGUR, Guunii LKHUNDEV, Batsuuri ANKHBAYAR, Adyasuren ALTANBAGANA, Tsend AMGALANTUGS, Gonchig BATBOLD, CAO Jian’en, SONG Guodong, CAO Peng, CAI Xi
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (04): 488-502.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0007
    Abstract546)   HTML48)    PDF (24876KB)(220)       Save

    Mongolia’s unique geographical location between northern China and the Siberian Plateau of Russia has facilitated its role as a corridor of regional cultural connection since the Pleistocene. It is evident that the Early Upper Paleolithic of Mongolia dates to 33-27 kaBP from the archaeological studies of those Upper Paleolithic sites at Tsagaan Agui and Chikhen Agui in Bayankhongor Province (Southwest Mongolia). Here, we present the results of archaeological analysis of Paleolithic remains from the six sites in the Tsagaan Turuut River Valley located in Galuut district, northern Bayankhongor Province. These newly discovered sites significantly expand our knowledge of the prehistory of central Mongolia and most of Central Asian region. The knapping technology at these sites is based on radial cores and unidirectional prismatic cores. By analyzing the lithic artifacts from these six sites, we believe that these cultures have continuity from early to late stages of the Early Upper Paleolithic. Special tools such as points and large bifaces were recovered. The 14C dating results of a bone sample from the lower layer of a test pit indicate that the Tsagaan Baast Valley sites are no later than 43500 BP cal (β-TSTC1).

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Antler fossil of Sinomegaceros ordosianus from Nanbaishan site of Late Pleistocene age in Yüxian, Hebei Province
    MEI Huijie, ZHANG Bei, LEI Huarui, TONG Haowen
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 225-237.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0001
    Abstract527)   HTML49)    PDF (12905KB)(208)       Save

    Giant deer is among the most common animals of Mid-Late Pleistocene sites in northern China, and was one of the representative icons of the Pleistocene fauna in northern China, while the fossil materials are fairly poor and very few complete antlers were ever recovered, except those from Zhoukoudian site; on the other hand, the knowledge about the age-related changes of the antlers is absolutely insufficient. Therefore, the previous taxonomic work based only on the antler features is open to questions.

    In 2018, a quite complete antler of giant deer was recovered from the Nanbaishan site of Middle Paleolithic period in Yüxian County, Hebei Province. The antler is quite big; brow tine and the palmation of beam are thin and fan-like, without palm tines; the brow tine and the palmation of beam run along two nearly parallel planes, but are not exactly parallel; the shaft of the beam bends at the basal part, but the sigmoid form is not prominent. In general morphology, the new antler is very close to that of Sinomegaceros ordosianus. The new specimen represents the most complete antler of S. ordosianus ever recovered. The dimensions (L: length & W: width) of the palmate is 670×526.8 mm; the dimensions (L& W) of the brow tine is 510×480 mm, the length and circumference of the beam are 270 and 193 mm respectively, the circumference of the burr is 310 mm. The first phalanx is robust, its greatest length is 77.7 mm; proximal width is 29.2 mm, transverse and antero-posterior diameters are 24.0 and 26.0 mm respectively.

    In China, quite a number of megalocerine taxa had been named at the species and subspecies levels, namely Sinomegaceros pachyosteus, S. ordosianus, S. flabellatus, S. konwanlinensis, S. youngi, S. luochuanensis, S. sangganhoensis, S. o. mentougouensis and S. baotouensis, among which S. ordosianus is the most widely distributed species and has the richest fossil records. On the contrary, S. baotouensis is the least known species which only represented by one shed antler and one metatarsal bone. With only a few exceptions, e.g. Tangshan near Nanjing, Zhoushan island in Zhejiang and Hualong Cave in Anhui, all the other megalocerine fossil sites in China occur north of the Yangtze River, and most of them are located in northern China. The fossils of S. ordosianus were frequently appeared in the prehistoric site, which indicates that the giant deer was very probably among the food sources of early humans. The OSL age of the Nanbaishan site is around 110 kaBP, which falls into the range of the Middle Paleolithic period.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Utilization of the Chinese water deer of early Holocene by human from the Xiaogao site, Shandong Province
    GAO Yao, WANG Hua, LANG Jianfeng
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 238-247.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0060
    Abstract492)   HTML36)    PDF (4756KB)(160)       Save

    The Xiaogao site is an early Holocene site discovered in Shandong Province in recent years. In 2017, the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Shandong Province and the Department of Archaeology of Shandong University conducted a rescue archaeological excavation and discovered a large number of cultural remains and animal bones, and Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis) is the most frequently found species among them. The Chinese water deer, as one of the main animal resources used by prehistoric humans in China, occupied an important position in the prehistoric subsistence activities, that can be confirmed by large amounts of bones, teeth and bone tools found in archaeological sites. Therefore, Chinese water deer from the Xiaogao site provide important materials for us to fully explore the hunting and utilization strategy of Chinese water deer, and further understand patterns of human subsistence strategies and complex relationship between humans and animals in the early Holocene. Based on five aspects of Chinses water deer bones, including age structure, sex ratio, seasonality, skeletal distribution pattern and bone fracture degree, this paper analyses the utilization pattern of Chinese water deer in the Xiaogao site. The age structure of Chinese water deer indicate that human hunting targets were mainly young and middle-aged individuals of 7-24 months, and a higher proportion of immature individuals were hunted in the late phase of site, indicating that most Chinese water deer became human hunting targets after approaching or reaching the maximum weight, and human hunting activities had a certain impact on population structure. Seasonality studies show that human hunting for Chinese water deer occurs mostly in winter and spring when food resources are scarce. The sex ratio study show that there was little difference in bone size between males and females, and it was difficult to analyze sex ratio with bone measurement data. Skeletal distribution pattern and bone fragmentation studies show that there may be full exploitation and utilization of meat and bone marrow. Combining with the biological characteristics of Chinese water deer, we propose that the utilization mode of Chinese water deer conforms to the features of broad-spectrum and intensive utilization of animal resources in the early Holocene. It also reflects the close interaction between human and animals. With this interaction, human not only have access to a variety of animal resources, such as meat, bone marrow and tools materials, but also have an opportunity to learn about animal characteristics and accumulate experience from animal management.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    A preliminary report on the excavation of Fodongdi site in Gengma, Yunnan Province
    GAO Feng, YANG Shixia, ZHOU Xinying, RUAN Qijun, HUAN Faxiang, HE Linshan, QIU Kaiwei, YANG Bo, WANG Yiren, YANG Qingjiang, WANG Jian, SHEN Hui, ZHAO Keliang, LI Xiaoqiang
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 122-128.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0062
    Abstract446)   HTML59)    PDF (6796KB)(211)       Save

    The Fodongdi site is located at Mengjian village, Gengma County, Lincang City, Yunnan Province. It is situated on the north bank of Nanting River, in a Permian limestone cave with an entrance towards southeast. The site was discovered in 2016~2017, and excavated in 2017~2018 by a joint team of the Yunnan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Lincang Prefecture Administration of Cultural Relics, etc. The excavation exposed an area of 20 m2. A plenty of remains were unearthed, including lithic artifacts, fauna fossils, and flora fossils. Based on the results of primary sedimentary and chronological analysis, the prehistoric cultural layers were dated back to 18,400~14,000 BP, and divided into three phases. As a prehistoric site located in the tropical-subtropical region, the Fodongdi site provide some new data to interpret the adaptation behavior of prehistory humans in a specific ecological context during Late Pleistocene.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    A restudy of stone artifacts from the Fulin site in Hanyuan, Sichuan
    HUAN Faxiang, YANG Shixia, CHEN Wei, CHEN Weiju, ZHU Lidong, ZHANG Yuxiu
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 177-190.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0011
    Abstract436)   HTML326)    PDF (7184KB)(169)       Save

    Microliths recovered from the Fulin site in western Sichuan Province have attracted much attention since their discovery in the last century, and is of particular value as an exception to the large cobble tool traditions of South China. This paper re-examines 1940 lithics from the 1972 excavation. Based on raw material selection, knapping techniques, striking platform types and quantities of both cores and flakes, we establish reduction strategies models. Hard hammer percussion is the main technique, with some bipolar percussion. The production of the bladelet-like pieces was highlighted in preliminary reports of the Fulin assemblage. In the current study, we confirm that the production of bladelet-like pieces is an important part of the industry; pieces mainly produced by controlled hard hammer with clear percussion marks different from real microblade reduction. In another words, the bladelet-like pieces are elongated small flakes but have features similar to microblades such as parallel edges and slender forms. Except for the bladelet-like products, small flakes account for a large proportion of this assemblage. There are simple unidirectional, bidirectional, multidirectional and Kombewa-type cores. In terms of tool retouching, the unretouched edge of the flake is more common. Small flakes and bladelet-like pieces provided efficient cutting edges. Scrapers, notches, bores and tanged tools are identified as retouched tools. The identification of tanged tools indicate the existence of composite tools. According to the stratigraphic reports of the 1970s, and recent excavation and dating results, the age of the site is 10.97±0.71 kaBP. Microliths are related to ecological and climatic adaptations, raw material conditions, and demographic expansion during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. During the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, lithic assemblages of South China and their techniques were far more diverse than previously thought. This study suggests a deeper understanding of the diversity of lithic industries in southern China is warranted.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Distribution of sexual stature dimorphism in modern Chinese populations and its influencing factors
    DU Baopu, YIN Yuzhe, TAN Yi, ZHANG Yuge, FAN Bo, YAO Zhizheng, GUO Hang
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 191-200.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0048
    Abstract430)   HTML327)    PDF (1434KB)(216)       Save

    Sexual size dimorphism is the commonest form of sexual dimorphism, associated with growth patterns, mortality and food availability, which has become a hot topic of common concern in recent biological anthropology. In all living human populations, males usually show a larger body size than females. Over the last 40 years, many scholars have reported numerous anthropometric data sources on stature for modern Chinese, but little attention has been directed to the sexual dimorphism variability. In addition, what factors governing the inter-populations variation in SSD are still not clearly understood. The present study aimed to describe the variability in sexual stature dimorphism for modern human populations in China, and reassessed whether the geo-climatic factors and body size are associated with variation in sexual starure dimorphism. Data on sex-specific anthropometry (mean stature) was obtained from 152 modern Chinese populations, including 69 Han and 83 minority nationalities. The sexual dimorphism index was compared to assess difference in four groups (Southern Han, Northern Han, Southern Minority and Northern Minority). The latitude, climatic variables, body size and urban-rural environment were tested for their association with the sexual dimorphism. The results showed that males are about 7.16% (ranged 4.72%~9.26%) taller than females. The distribution of SDI are resemble between the Southern Han and Southern minority, the Northern Han and Northern minority, the Southern Han and Northern Han. Moreover the Southern minority displayed lower sexual dimorphism compared with the Northern minority. The latitude, annual temperature range and annual average wind speed are positively associated with sexual starure dimorphism, while the annual average temperature, annual average precipitation and annual average relative humidity are negatively associated with sexual starure dimorphism. In addition, this study found no significant allometric relationship between male and female stature agreed with the Rensch’s rule, may be related to the sexual selection perference favours other social compents rather than stature. It also reveals no significant difference in sexual stature dimorphism between urban and rural Han populations, inconsistent with female buffering hypothesis, reflecting poor diet and hard physical labor have less negative impact on the boys’ physical growth. Genetic component and natural environmental factors are the dominant determinant of the regionalization distribution in sexual stature dimorphism, while the social environmental factors do not exert a strong influence in the degree of sexual dimorphism. Although the samples are limited by individuals of different ages, it still helps us to insight the geographical distribution of sexual stature dimorphism in modern Chinese.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    A study of the formation process of Jijiazhuang Paleolithic site in Yuxian Basin
    YE Zhi, DU Yuwei, PEI Shuwen, DING Xin, XU Zhe, MA Dongdong
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 46-60.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0052
    Abstract421)   HTML49)    PDF (8426KB)(168)       Save

    Owing to low-energy hydraulic agents and fine-grained sediments, the fluvio-lacustrine basin proves to be ideal depositional system for preserving archaeological remains. The typical fluvio-lacustrine sediments in Nihewan Basin of North China are rich sources of Early to Middle Pleistocene archaeological sites, which offer an important opportunity to investigate human evolution and adaptive behaviors in East Asia. Comparing to the advances on the study of site formation processes of Lower Pleistocene sites have been handled in the basin, site formation focus on the Middle Pleistocene sites are yet to be carried out. In this paper, we present a site formation study of a newly discovered Middle Pleistocene archaeological site named Jijiazhuang site (JJZ) in Yuxian Basin (south part of Nihewan Basin). Two typical localities (JJZ-B and JJZ-E) are selected and geoarchaeological as well as archaeological factors are adopted for the site formation research. Through the analysis of geomorphology and deposits features, archaeological remains in JJZ-B were buried in marsh or swamp environment of lake margin deposits when the Nihewan old lake began retreating, while the archaeological sequence of JJZ-E probably belongs to the sand bar sedimentary face of lake margin environment. Multiple proxies from archaeological materials (artifacts spatial distribution, technological composition, weathering and abrasion condition, orientation as well as inclination) demonstrate that JJZ-B belongs to near primary context, the archaeological remains had been disturbed by low-energy sheet wash across the lake shore setting which provides effective information for exploring hominins technology and adaptive behaviors. Meanwhile, JJZ-E was preserved in secondary context where archaeological remains together with cobbles and pebbles were transported to accumulative area by relative high energetic hydraulic flow of lake wave and sheet wash, so that the locality witnessed low integrity of archaeological materials compared to JJZ-B. This study shows that the Nihewan Basin contains extensive information of archaeological remains of Middle Pleistocene. Formation processes of the different sites are strongly affected by the different settings in the archaeological landscape. Study on the site formation processes of JJZ site indicates that archaeological remains were in relative low density, and the formation processes varied from near primary context to secondary context. In addition, this study bears great significance on the study of the adaptive patterns of different localities of Jijiazhuang site complex by hominins during Middle Pleistocene.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    An experimental study of the flaking-by-pressing technology of wedge-shaped microcores
    TONG Guang, LI Feng, GAO Xing
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (03): 305-316.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0009
    Abstract406)   HTML53)    PDF (1814KB)(224)       Save

    Wedge-shaped microblade cores are typical representatives of Upper Paleolithic microlithic assemblages in Northeast Asia. Core reduction technology of these nuclei has been investigated for over a century generating many noteworthy achievements. However, disputes regarding some fundamental aspects of this technology are still under discussion. This paper documents pressure flaking experiments on wedge-shaped microblade cores replicating artifacts discovered in Upper Paleolithic sites in the Nihewan Basin. Experiments were designed to test relationships between technological and morphological variables and microblade morphology. Such variables included the working point of pressure-flaking implements, width of the flaking surface, arris height, and vices or other means of securing nuclei in place. Based on these variables, five groups were compared with one another. Microblade cores in the standard group have a narrower working face and higher arris, and were fixed in a V-shaped device with microblades produced by use of a thin-tipped pressure flaker. Other groups showed differences in one of these variables otherwise keeping consistent with the standard group. For example, microblade cores in the low arris group only made the arris itself lower, while their working face, method of fixing and pressure flaking tool utilized are same as the standard group.
    Conventional linear and geometric morphometric data on microblades were collected to analyze the degree of standardization of microblade morphology among different experimental groups. The main linear measurements were width and thickness of microblades and platform width and thickness. Geometric morphometric analysis was undertaken using Elliptic Fourier Analysis (EFA). All results revealed specific group-level differences regarding shape and standardization of microblades.
    Microblade morphology is affected by several factors such as arris height, working face width, diameter of the pressure-flaker point, the form of vice employed, etc. Regular microblades can be continually produced only by utilizing a higher arris, which is achieved by ensuring the working face of microblade cores is not too wide, otherwise the height of the arris would decrease and interfere with subsequent manufacture of microblades. A thin, pointed pressure-flaking tool makes more effective use of the arris than a thick, pointed tool to remove microblades. Experiments with various means of fixing wedge-shaped microblade cores demonstrates that the core’s bottom edge is primarily employed to stabilize the stone nucleus throughout the process of microblade production. Results of the experiments reported here provide new information on microblade production and sheds light on the dispersal of microblade technology in Northeast Asia.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Skeletal injury and osteoarthritis of the foot-binding females from the Xifengbu cemetery of Qing dynasty in Hongtong, Shanxi
    SUN Xiaofan, ZHANG Quanchao, MU Pingyuan, YANG Jiyun, CAO Jun
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 201-213.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0063
    Abstract395)   HTML63)    PDF (2962KB)(188)       Save

    The Xifengbu cemetery, located in Xifengbu village of Hongtong County, Shanxi Province, is the first large-scale scientific archaeological excavation of this era in Shanxi Province. It provides precious archaeological materials for the study of burial customs and social development in the Ming and Qing dynasties, promoted the research on Ming and Qing archaeology to a certain extent. Foot-binding of female is the most noticeable cultural phenomenon among the burial populations in the cemetery. This paper started with the health status of females with and without foot-binding, and described the incidence of skeletal injury and osteoarthritis in a sample of 93 individuals unearthed from the Xifengbu cemetery of Qing Dynasty. The result shows that: 1) foot-binding females had a higher prevalence rate of foot osteoarthritis than females without foot-binding, which is closely related to the physiological structure changes of female feet caused by foot-binding custom; 2) The severity of elbow, and left wrist osteoarthritis in females with foot-binding was basically the same as that in females who were free of foot-binding, while the severity of right and bilateral wrist, and hand joint osteoarthritis was slightly higher than that in non-foot-binding females; 3) The prevalence of marginal osteophyte in all vertebral segments in foot-binding females was higher than that in females without foot-binding, and cervical vertebra and lumbar vertebra were the most seriously affected parts in all female residents; 4) There were no significant differences in the prevalence and severity of skeletal injury and osteoarthritis between the two groups, which may be related to the fact that both females with and without foot-binding were required to undertake physical labor against the background that the lower-class families pursued females’ economic value in the Chinese premodern male-dominant feudal society. The development and prosperity of sedentary production activities that did not rely on lower limb movements in the Ming and Qing Dynasties created more labor opportunities for females who suffered from this infamous custom. At the same time, foot-binding female in lower-class civilian families would also try their best to do some hard physical labor in the fields, which reduced the difference in the degree of skeletal injury and joint disease between them and normal females. The preliminary study on skeletal injury and osteoarthritis of female residfents in Xifengbu cemetery not only shed light on how this gender-biased custom might have compromised the health and quality of life for females in pre-modern societies, but also gave us a window into the miserable life of lower-class females in feudal families.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Craniofacial morphology of human remains from the Zhanmatun site of the late Yangshao Period
    SUN Lei, LI Yanzhen, WU Zhijiang
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (03): 331-341.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0012
    Abstract383)   HTML80)    PDF (1879KB)(180)       Save

    The Zhanmatun site is located in the southern suburb of Zhengzhou city, Henan Province, Shibalihe town. From 2009 to 2010, the Zhanmatun site was excavated by Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology with rich remains of the Qinwangzhai culture (3900 BC~2900 BC) were found in the western area of the site. To analyze the composition of human population of Qinwangzhai culture at the site, 45 relatively complete skulls (25 males, 20 females) were observed and measured. Craniofacial morphology of the skulls was compared with other skull groups of different archaeological cultures in prehistoric age by applying cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling of Euclidean distances. Results show that Zhanmatun craniofacial morphology is closest to skull groups of the Qinwangzhai culture in Zhengzhou, such as the Wanggou and Xishan group, and also has many similarities with the Xixiahou group of Dawenkou culture (4200 BC~2600 BC). All these skull groups in the Qinwangzhai and Dawenkou cultures show occipital deformation and tooth extraction. The Zhanmatun craniofacial morphology group differs greatly from groups in center distribution area of the Yangshao culture (4900BC~2700BC). The central distribution area of Yangshao culture and peripheral remains have different connotations and sources. The Qinwangzhai culture (or Dahe Village culture) belongs to these peripheral remains, mainly distributed in the central area of Henan with Songshan Mountain as its center. This may indicate that different archeological and cultural factors may be the reason for the great difference in skull groups in the two distribution areas. Moreover, it means that in about 3000 BC, the influence and expansion of Dawenkou culture on the Central Plains was not limited to the eastern and southeastern areas of Henan, and the spread of culture and migration of people had already extended to the central area of Henan where the Zhanmatun site is located. There are some differences between males and females in Zhanmatun, with males similar to the Longqiuzhuang group in Jianghuai, and females similar to the Jiangjialiang group in North China. The first reason is that the Dawenkou culture, Longqiuzhuang culture (6600~5000 BP) and Dahe village culture have a common source, namely the Peiligang culture (6200 BC~5500 BC). The second reason is that the ancient North China type represented by Jiangjialiang residents reflects genic and cultural exchanges between the ancient Central Plains type in the late Yangshao period and the original residents of the northern Great Wall area suggesting that the genes of the northern people were also mixed into the Zhanmatun population. On the whole, although craniofacial features of Zhanmatun group are mostly common, there are a few differences, and the population composition is of multi-origin and integration that is consistent with obvious characteristics of the complex and multiple factors of Qinwangzhai culture.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Pathological analysis of a case of human humeral asymmetry in Eastern Zhou Dynasty
    ZHOU Yawei, WANG Hui, DING Sicong, CHEN Bo
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 87-97.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0045
    Abstract361)   HTML38)    PDF (1763KB)(171)       Save

    This study made an pathological analysis of an archaeological case example of human unilateral humeral hypoplasia from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty(770-221 BC) Guanzhuang site, located in Xingyang City, Henan Province, central China. Individual M45, a female (according to the morphology of the os coxa and skull, and long bones) aged approximately 30 years old at her time-of-death, presents severe abnormal morphological changes on the right humerus. From a macro perspective, abnormal shortening, flatter humeral head, higher anatomical neck, and lesser tubercle displaced anterior-distally were observed on the right humerus. Radiographic analysis showed that wider bone marrow cavity diameter and slight osteoporosis in the region of the deltoid tuberosity, and the cancellous bone at the trochanter of the right deltoid is more pronounced than on the left one, showing a honeycomb shape. In addition, bone defect was found at the region of the deltoid tuberosity and also below the anatomical neck. The asymmetric development of upper limb bones, including the humerus, is generally attributed to physiological or pathological induced bone remodeling. Physiological causes include genetic and behavioral factors. The asymmetry caused by physiological genetic factors does not affect the normal development of bone, and the degree of asymmetry is relatively low, in the range of 1% or less. Behavioral factors are mainly related to activities and bone loading patterns, including occupation, habitual activities, etc. The difference between two humerus caused by behavioral factors is reflected in the difference of the cross-section and the strength of the two humerus, most of which are transverse differences. Differential diagnosis was made in this study, including metabolic diseases, endocrine diseases, focal fibrocartilage hypoplasia, metaphyseal cartilage hypoplasia, Kashin Beck disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, humeral shortening and cartilage hypoplasia. According to the analysis, it is more likely that the humeral asymmetry found in M45 has affected the proximal growth centre of the right humerus, possibly linked to childbirth trauma, or the cessation of humeral growth and development caused by trauma to the growth plate in early childhood.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Discovery and research of the engraved remains in the early and middle Paleolithic periods
    LI Sanling
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (02): 288-303.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0046
    Abstract326)   HTML55)    PDF (51598KB)(135)       Save

    Engravings are important archaeological materials that prehistoric humans deliberately scribed, and play an important role in revealing and exploring the development and evolution of cognitive and thinking expression abilities of ancient humans. At present, the discovery and research of engravings are mainly concentrated in Europe, southern Africa and west Asia, but there are few engravings found in China. This article emphatically introduces the current findings and researches on engravings at home and abroad. On this basis, we summarize the identification and analysis methods of engravings and try to explore the differences of engravings in different time and space. The interference factors for the identification of engravings mainly include two aspects: One is the unconscious or functional modification by prehistoric humans; The other one is the taphonomic influence. Macroscopically, the scratches produced by these interference factors are usually scattered and irregular, and different from the purposeful, conscious and designable engravings. Microscopically, the researchers usually use microscope and build 3D digital models, so that they can more carefully observe the characteristics of the engravings and get more quantitative statistics, which can be used for comparative analysis to identify authenticity more scientifically and rigorously. In the early Paleolithic, there are few engravings, and the carved patterns are simple, but they have obvious artificial design intention. In the middle Paleolithic, the engravings not only increased in distribution area and the number of specimens, but also became more diverse in carrier types and graphical representations. More than 20 middle Paleolithic sites with engravings were found in Europe. The types of carrier include bone, nummulite, chert and bedrock. Engraving patterns are mainly parallel or sub-parallel lines, stacked chevrons with more complex graphic design and technological process also appear. In addition, there are also cross intersection, zigzag and cross-hatched design. Compared to Europe, the sites with engravings in Africa are less, but the specimens in individual site are more. The non-utilitarian ochre and ostrich eggshells become the main carriers, which is obviously different from the situation in Europe. The carved patterns found in Africa are generally more standardized, more designable, and more complex in graphical representation, mainly reflect in fan shaped motif, hatched band motif, curved lines that cross a central line and diamond shaped pattern found in Klipdrift Shelter, Dieploof Rock Shelter and Blombos Cave. And part of these patterns are often found in different layers of the site, there is inheritance and continuation. The engravings of the Middle Paleolithic in Asia are mainly found in Western Asia and Lingjing site in China. Among them, the engravings at Quneitra site in Israel with some disconnected parts forming a unified whole are the most distinctive. The characteristics of the engravings at Mar-Tarik, Qafzeh Cave and Lingjing site are similar to those in Europe, with parallel or sub-parallel lines being the main pattern and with bones being the main carrier. It is worth noting that ochre pigments are found on the engravings of Lingjing site, further increases the symbolic significance of these specimens.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    A taphonomic analysis of faunal remains from the Jijiazhuang Paleolithic site in the Yuxian Basin
    DU Yuwei, ZHANG Yue, YE Zhi, PEI Shuwen
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (03): 359-372.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0006
    Abstract304)   HTML31)    PDF (2898KB)(169)       Save

    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.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics
    Paleolithic artifacts excavated from the Lyudouliang site at Yangxian County, Shaanxi Province
    BIE Jingjing, XIA Nan, WANG Shejiang, YI Shuangwen, LU Huayu, XIA Wenting, ZHANG Gaike, LI Jiameng
    Acta Anthropologica Sinica    2023, 42 (01): 15-24.   DOI: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0059
    Abstract304)   HTML51)    PDF (5850KB)(151)       Save

    Lyudouliang site is located on the fourth terrace of the Jinshui River, a left tributary on the north side of the Hanjiang River in Yangxian County, the Qinling Mountains region, central China. In order to cooperate with the national key construction project “Hanjiang River to Weihe River Water Diversion Project”, a systematic archaeological excavation was carried out from 2014 to 2015. 626 lithic artifacts were yielded within an exposed area of 126 m2, and another 30 lithic artifacts found in the surrounding area of the site. Lithic analysis shows that early hominin used local fluvial cobbles/pebbles for knapping artifacts. Quartz and quartzite were the most frequently used raw materials, followed by siliceous limestone, quartzite sandstone, and granite. The principal flake knapping method is hard hammer percussion. The lithic assemblage consists of hammer stones, cores, flakes, retouched tools, chunks and debris. The retouched tools are comprised of small tools made of flakes and chunks (i.e. scrapers, borer), and heavy-duty tools (i.e. choppers, heavy-duty scrapers). Based on the dating results and stratigraphic correlation with the Jinshuihekou site located at the same terrace, the age of the Lyudouliang site is constrained to the Middle Pleistocene. It reveals that the open-air sites in the Hanzhong Basin show the similar typo- and technol- features of the lithic assemblage. The small tools predominate in the tool assemblage until the middle and late Middle Pleistocene to the early Late Pleistocene.

    Table and Figures | Reference | Related Articles | Metrics