Table of Content

    15 August 2020, Volume 39 Issue 03
    Fire for hominin survivals in prehistory
    GAO Xing
    2020, 39(03):  333-348.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0008
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    The paper made an in-depth review on the history of academic research on hominin use of fire. It discussed the significance of fire-use to human evolution and development, presented different hypotheses on the origins of controlled use of fire by human ancestors, and used a series of case-studies to demonstrate the way fire-use evidences were collected and analyzed, and the complicated developmental process of fire-use in human history. Controlled use of fire is a unique behavior and capacity of human beings, and it has played an essential role on hominid survival and evolution. The use of fire led to cooked foods and made nutrition more easily be digested, which in turn brought about a series of biological adjustments and changes in demography, behavioral patterns, survival strategies and social structures to our species. Fire helped hominins procure more resources and modify physical properties of imperative materials, such as heat treatment on lithic raw materials, and gradually brought about the invention of pottery and metal utensils, and eventually human civilization. The history of human-fire interaction is a long and tortuous process, from the occasional use of natural fire, controlled use of fire on and off for hundreds of thousands of years, effective preservation of fire seeds, the making of fire and habitual use of fire, to the omnipresent, indispensable and complex ways of fire-use today. It has been proposed that hominid fire-use history began with the emergence of Homo erectus, but the current available reliable evidence pointed to the time node of ca. 1.5 MaBP. The detection and verification of fire-use evidence of early stage are difficult and challenging, requiring delicate and detailed field excavation and recording, high-resolution taphonomic and spatial information, and all applicable analyses with state-of-the-art technologies. Possible factors of natural agencies in producing fire remains, such as natural fire and post-depositional disturbance, have to be evaluated and terminated. Only after such careful data collection and comprehensive analysis, the evidence presented and conclusions reached can be convincing and accepted.

    A preliminary report on the excavation of the Datubaozi Paleolithic site in the Danjiangkou Reservoir Region
    LI Hao, LI Chaorong, LEI Lei
    2020, 39(03):  349-356.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0042
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    The Datubaozi site, located within the Danjiangkou Reservoir Region (DRR) of the Hanshui River, contains a small lithic assemblage of 58 artifacts that comprises cores, flakes, chunks and retouched formal tools. These artifacts are produced on a range of raw materials, sourced from nearby river gravels, and quartz is most favored followed thereafter by small proportions of quartzite, phyllite and trachyte. Clear strategies are employed in both reduction of cores and production of formal tools. For the former, cores illustrate a mix of reduction strategies evidenced by an array of unidirectionally, multi-directionally and discoidally flaked pieces, and for the latter, formal tools show two distinct production techniques that give rise to a clear size differential based on raw material selection. The first technique is characterized by the production of large tools on phyllite, such as chopper and handaxe, whereas the second is characterized by the production of small tools on quartz, such as scraper and notch.

    Comparative analysis, between the Datubaozi site and others located on the third terrace of the Hanshui River, shows that artifact densities overall are low for sites in this region, which may be indicative of high mobility patterns in human populations. Such a phenomenon has been observed at younger terrace two sites, and since this trend has now been documented across both terraces. This implies that there is continuity and stability in human behavior and that there is potentially a lack of technological innovation, through time. The preliminary age for the Datubaozi site can be assigned to the early-middle stages of the Middle Pleistocene.

    A preliminary report on a reconnaissance of Paleolithic sites in the Shanting District, Zaozhuang City
    LI Gang, REN Yapeng, LI Meng
    2020, 39(03):  357-366.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0004
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    In May 2016, a short survey of Shanting District, Zaozhuang City was carried out and two technological types of lithic assemblage were collected, including 161 stone artifacts. About one third of the artifacts were collected from in situ positions within the stratigraphy and two thirds from surface. Four Paleolithic localities with clear stratigraphy were discovered at the foot of the mountain. The stone artifacts of WMM (WYZ, MW, MT) sites included flakes (n=30), chunks (n=25) and debitage (n=13), followed by cores (n=11), microblade cores (n =5) and retouched items (n=3). Raw materials are primarily quartz and chert. Fangshan site (FS) included flakes (n=21), debitage (n=15), cores (n=14), followed by chunks (n=12) and retouched items (n=12). All raw material was quartz derived from local sources, and all raw material at the four locations derived from outcrops of mountain rock around the sites. The stone artifacts from the WMM sites were buried in a similar layer of cinnamon soil. These included microblade cores, similar to components of microblade technology in the Yishuhe River Basin in southeast Shandong Province. Hard hammer percussion was the main flaking technique,followed by bipolar technique. Retouched tools are small in number and include a notch, a burin, and an end-scraper manufactured on flakes. Stratigraphic observations and the absolute age of the known lithic assemblage in Yishuhe River Basin suggest that these three newly discovered localities belong to the late Pleistocene. FS site shows strong characteristics of the bi-polar flaking technique. The retouched tool assemblage includes notches and scrapers. The geological age of the site by stratigraphic observations is speculated to be late Pleistocene.

    Core reduction and tool modification, a case study on lithic technology of Shuidonggou Locality 7, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
    NIU Dongwei, PEI Shuwen, WANG Huimin, GAO Xing
    2020, 39(03):  367-378.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0010
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    The Shuidonggou (SDG) site complex, located in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of Northwest China and yielded Middle-Upper Paleolithic transitional blade-rich assemblages, has been given more and more focuses since its discovery and first excavation in the 1920s. This paper presents a specific lithic analyses (core reduction and tool modification) on the stone artefacts yielded by three years of systematic and advanced excavations at Shuidonggou locality 7 (SDG7), an important locality within the SDG site cluster.

    As shown by the characteristics of the cores and flakes from SDG7, direct hammer percussion was the dominant flaking technique, but the bipolar technique was also used on a small-scale, especially for some high-quality and small-sized cherts. As for the core reduction strategy, most of the cores, including simple flake cores (free-hand direct hammer percussion), discoid cores and bipolar cores, show the features of flake production without core preparation.Compared to the centripetal reduction of discoid cores, the reduction strategy of simple flake cores is to look for the most suitable platforms and working surfaces by changing flaking direction. However, it should be noted that there are four flat-faced cores that display consistent features of the Levallois-like blade assemblage with the ones identified at other localities like SDG1, 2 and 9, which have been described as an intrusive large blade technology with characteristics of initial Upper Paleolithic from the Siberian/Mongolian region.

    There are five kinds of tool forms (scrapers, points, notches, denticulates and choppers) identified at SDG7, most of which are small in size and made by complete flakes. The predominant tool forms are scrapers (n=105; 86.77%), most of which are side scrapers. Most working edges of the tools appear to be unifacially and lightly retouched by direct hammer percussion. However, the presence of some finely retouched tools (end scrapers and some side scrapers) made from high quality raw materials may indicate the technological innovations of local industry during the Upper Paleolithic.

    Above all, based on the detailed lithic analyses, two distinct technological assemblages are identified at SDG7. One is a flake-tool technology, which is the local and dominant technological assemblage in North China, characterized by free-hand core reduction without preparation and simple tool modification. The other is an intrusive Levallois-like blade technology, which is represented by flat-faced cores with preparation of platforms and working surfaces for the production of blades and/or elongated flakes. We believe the detailed study of the lithic materials from SDG7 would be of a great relevance for the comprehensive understanding of the whole technological complex at SDG site region and its role in the Upper Paleolithic of North China.

    Experimental study of debitage size distribution on chert raw materials in the Datianwa area of the Nihewan Basin, North China
    REN Jincheng, LI Feng, CHEN Fuyou, GAO Xing
    2020, 39(03):  379-391.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0014
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    Debitage size distribution is one of most effective indicators to study the site formation processes in Paleolithic archaeology. In the 1970s and 1980s, the researchers from Indiana University Kathy Schick and Nicholas Toth conducted systematic experiments on the debitage size distribution using raw materials and flaking methods of mainly Early Paleolithic in Koobi Fora region in Kenya, and finally obtained massive experimental data which have been widely accepted and applied to the study of site formation processes all over the world.

    In this paper, we operated a number of debitage size distribution experiments using local raw materials Zhoujiashan cherts and Donggutuo cherts and casual core-flake knapping method in the Datianwa area in the Nihewan Basin in order to establish direct experimental data for further analysis on site formation processes in this region. 25 experiments were carried out and 10070 debitage in total were collected. The results indicate that the proportions of debitage decrease as the size increase and small debitage are extremely high throughout. Debitage of 0.5~1 cm has the highest value about 60.9% (mean value) just followed by 1~2 cm about 23.3% (mean value). This pattern is obviously different from that observed by Schick and Toth, and would be more appropriate to study the site formation processes in the Datianwa area in the Nihewan Basin.

    An overview of studies on microblade technology in Hokkaido, Japan
    YUE Jianping, WANG Han, KATO Shinji
    2020, 39(03):  392-403.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0038
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    Microblade technology represents an important technological innovation and adaptation in northeastern Asia and northwestern America during the Late Pleistocene. Hokkaido, located along the edge of far-eastern Eurasia, contains a rich microlithic sequence that began around 25 thousand years ago and lasted for about 12 thousand years. Based on qualitative technological analysis and refitting, several microlithic debitage methods and microblade core types have been identified in Hokkaido. The regional microlithic sequence is characterized by the continuity of wedge-shaped cores, along with periodic changes that appear to correspond with climatic and environmental shifts. This article provides an overview of the climatic and environmental background of Hokkaido during the Late Pleistocene, and the research history of microlithic technology in the region. On this basis, this paper highlights the nature and differences among microblade debitage methods in Hokkaido and clarifies the development of microlithic industry through time. This overview has implication for our understanding of microlithic technology and Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer mobility and adaptation in the broader region of far-eastern Asia, including the neighboring area of China.

    Skull measurement traits of the Bronze Age crowd from Xiabandi Cemetery
    WEI Dong, WANG Yongdi, WU Yong
    2020, 39(03):  404-419.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0057
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    The Bronze Age crowd in the Xiabandi cemetery is the representative of the early population in the Pamirs. The analysis of the source and flow of the population provides new evidence for clarifying the flow changes of the Eurasia Bronze Age population. At the archaeological cultural level, the culture of this group is a local variant of the Andronovo culture. Through comparison with representatives of other parts of the Eurasia Bronze Age, the ancestors of this group may come from the grasslands of southern Eastern Europe. The Cata combs Culture and the Timber-chambered Tomb Culture group are the closest to the Bronze age crowd in the Xiabandi cemetery in measurement traits. From the perspective of comparative morphology, it is suggested that there is a relationship between the three. The ancestors of the Bronze Age people in Xiabandi cemetery may be part of the Cata combs Culture, and they are also related to the group of Timber-chambered Tomb Culture group. During the prosperous period of Andronovo culture, the crowd moved southwest from the grassland of Eastern Europe and traveled to the Pamirs through the Fergana Valley. During the migration process, they accepted the influence of Andronovo culture, at the same time maintained the ancestral population’s Economic model based on animal husbandry and became a local variant of Andronovo culture.

    Morphological analysis on skulls of human sacrifices from Qixian Songzhuang cemetery in Eastern Zhou period
    SUN Lei, GAO Zhenlong, ZHOU Ligang, HAN Zhaohui
    2020, 39(03):  420-434.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0016
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    Along with a large number of bronze ritual and musical wares and pottery, human bones called human sacrifices have been unearthed from many tombs of Eastern Zhou Period at Qixian Songzhuang cemetery in Hebi City, Henan Province. Songzhuang cemetery could provid important clues for researching the archaeological culture and political pattern in the northern Henan region of Eastern Zhou period. The purpose of this study was to describe and analyse the ethnic features of human sacrifices from Songzhuang cemetery. 7 cases of female skulls with good preservation were observed and measured. The Songzhuang female skulls were similar to Baoji group of Yangshao Culture and Chengzi Group of Dawenkou-Longshan Culture, and were also similar to Mao-Yin merged B group, Xicun Zhou group and Shuanglou group. It was preliminarily concluded that human sacrifices from Qixian Songzhuang were different from traditional residents of northern Henan and Shanxi in Eastern Zhou period in terms of physical characteristics , and were more closely related to residents in capital city of Zhou Dynasty and populations with Central Plains Culture in Zheng-Han old city and its west and north.

    Craniometric evidence and ancient DNA analysis of the population origin of Ngari prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region between 3rd and 4th century AD
    ZHANG Yajun, ZHANG Xu, ZHAO Xin, TONG Tao, LI Linhui
    2020, 39(03):  435-449.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0009
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    Gurugyam cemetery, located in the Gar County of Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, was excavated in 2012 and 2014 by the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Institute of Cultural Heritage Protection of Tibet Autonomous Region expedition. Pre-Imperial Tibet component of Gurugyam cemetery has eight burials dated from 3rd to 4th century AD from which 32 individuals were unearthed. The primary sample used in the craniometric analysis is comprised of 16 well-preserved adult crania(male, n=7; female, n=9). The result of cluster analysis shows that the ancient population of Kashacuo in Sichuan was the first one that assigned to the Gurugyam sample. Additionally, the Gurugyam sample is more similar to ancient populations of Duogang and Chawuhu, Xinjiang than to other clusters of ancient populations sampled from Shannxi, Shanxi, and Henan. When compared to other modern groups, Gurugyam sample is clustered with Guangxi Zhuang people and Tibetan A type population. Mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals some genetic divergence among the Gurugyam sample, denoting a geographic pattern of genetic variation with maternal lineages mainly from the east of Eurasia and partially from the west of Eurasia. Divergence within the Gurugyam sample has contributed to the maternal gene pool of modern Tibetan and other ethnic groups in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

    Somatotype characteristics of the Mongolian in China
    LI Yonglan, ZHENG Lianbin
    2020, 39(03):  450-460.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0029
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    The Heath-Carter somatotyping method is used to study somatotypes of 4810 adults (2117 males and 2693 females) of 14 different Mongolian groups. Endomorphic and mesomorphic body shape of Mongolians are significantly positively correlated with age. In contrast, ectomorphic body shape is significantly negatively correlated with age; that is, with an increase of age, the body’s degree of linearity becomes smaller, and thus the somatotype tends to be round and thick. Male and female somatotypes of Mongolians in Chinaare all concentrated on the body shape of endo-mesomorph,balanced endo-mesomorph, meso-endoderm. With the increase of age, the occurrence of the three somatotypes is a significant positive correlation with age. Compared with the Han, Mongolians are more thick and strong. Our results of the principal components analysis show that the body’s degree of linearity is small, body fat is well developed and bone and muscle mass are less in Mongolians of the three northeastern provinces. On the standard somatotype chart, the point distribution of northern Mongolians is dense and shows that Mongolians in the north are closer in body shape to each other, and that Yunnan Mongolians in the south are very different because of small endomorphic and large ectomorphic traits. In Chinese ethnic groups that have been studied using the Heath-Carter somatotype, the Mongolian has the most developed body fat and the smallest body linearity degree.

    Evolution and bioenvironmental adaptation of Neolithic and Bronze age agriculture in the North Chinese Loess Plateau
    BAO Yige, LI Xiaoqiang, LIU Hanbin, ZHAO Keliang, John DODSON, SHEN Hui, ZHANG Guilin, WANG Jian, ZHOU Xinying
    2020, 39(03):  461-472.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0053
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    On basis of the carbonization results and quantitative statistics of seed remains from 15 sites, we discuss and infers the agriculture development and adaptation in the northern part of the Loess Plateau during the Neolithic-Bronze Age. The proportion changes of foxtail millet in this area show an upward trend with the passage of the ruins, which proves that the agricultural technology developed with a time change. Influenced by the characteristics of monsoon precipitation, the proportion of foxtail millet in the southeastern shrub grassland area had an obvious upward trend with the change of time while the change was weak in the dryland area, which proves that the difference of environment also caused the difference of agricultural patterns. Limited by dry climate conditions, the main crops in the northern part of the Loess Plateau have been foxtail millet and common millet since the Middle Holocene, which laid a civilized foundation for millet agriculture in the Loess Plateau and even in northern China.

    Plant resources utilization at the Wutai site in Yantai county: Ancient starch residue evidence from human dental calculus
    ZHAO Zhenzhen, WANG Fuqiang, CHEN Songtao, JIN Guiyun
    2020, 39(03):  473-482.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0046
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    Through the analysis of the starch grain of the human dental calculus of 27 samples from 7 individuals from the Wutai site, Shandong Province, a rich variety of plant starch grains on the surface of these human dental calculus were found, including millets, Triticeae grasses, roots and tubes and Fabaceae plant speciece. Results of this work have shown that the ancestors of Wutai not only used millet crops as the main food resources, but also collected some wild fruits and tubers as food supplement. In this paper, starchy plants, such as acorns which were not found in the macro-botaincal remains, but were recovered and identified in the micro-botaincal remains from the human dental calculus. Starch grain analysis makes up for the deficiency of the macro-botaincal remains.

    Research and application on hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopes of human fingernails in forensic science
    HE Xinlong, MEI Hongcheng, WANG Jifen, ZHU Jun, LIU Changjing, HU Can, HE Ya, ZHANG Xiumei, HE Yulu
    2020, 39(03):  483-494.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0002
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    As an emerging chemical tracer technology, the hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopes have a wide range of applications in geoscience, environmental ecology and forensic science. The fingernail, a new type of biomarker, possess a high evidence and application value in forensic science and its analytical potential is gradually being tapped. The paper conducted a review from basic principle of hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopes traceability, pretreatment methods and determination methods in human fingernails and the application in forensic science. Besides, a brief prospect was also given about its development.

    A study of the foraging strategies of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) in wild and provisioned free-ranging groups
    DING Zhenfang, HAO Jing, XU Hualin, ZHANG Peng
    2020, 39(03):  495-506.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0043
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    We conducted a comparative study for one-year (from December 2015 to November 2016) on foraging strategies of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in wild and provisioned free-ranging groups. The former group was distributed on Neilingding Island and the latter on Shangchuan Island. Both habitats have similar ecological conditions. In both groups, macaques selected fruit as their major food source. Macaques in the provisioned free-ranging group selected fruits with low crude protein and moisture content, whereas those in the wild group were not highly selective. Available fruit resources and nutrient content affected fruit choice of macaques. Throughout the year, both wild and provisioned macaques try to maximize energy gain per unit time with different behavioral strategies. The former continuously selected fruit as their major foods source, while the latter shifted feeding frequency of their fruit diet according to temporal variations of fruit availability. There was no significant relationship between density of trees and leaf consumption, as well as no significant difference in moisture content, crude protein, crude lipid, neutral detergent fibre and crude ash between the major leaf source and other leaf sources in both groups. This study revealed rhesus macaque feeding strategy and behavioral flexibility in response to resource variations in their habitats.