Table of Content

    15 December 2022, Volume 41 Issue 06
    Research Articles
    Stone artifacts from Wangzhuang, Wujiawai and Yuegou sites in the Danjiangkou Reservoir region
    YI Mingjie, PEI Shuwen, NIU Dongwei, MA Ning
    2022, 41(06):  959-966.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0083
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    Wangzhuang Locality 2, the Wujiawai site, and Yuegou Locality 1, all buried along the front margin of the third terrace on Danjiang River’s right bank are located in Xichuan Country, Henan Province. They were excavated in April 2009 by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as a salvage archaeological project due to construction of the Dangjiangkou reservoir dam at a higher latitude. Excavation of each site exposed an area of 100 m2, and the number of stone artifacts collected from each site was 13, 33, 13, respectively, including cores, flakes, tools, and chunks. Raw materials of the sites were not the same because of differing constitutions of local gravels. Lithic analyses show that direct hard-hammer percussion was applied for knapping. Artifacts from Wangzhuang Locality 2 and the Wujiawai site share the same characteristics of the South China stone industry, whereas lithics from Yuegou Locality 1 were more closely aligned with the main North China stone industry. Clearly this Dangjiangkou reservoir region is a transitional area between North and South China, an important region for early hominid occupation, migration and cultural exchange during the Pleistocene. Excavation of these sites enriches the cultural prehistory in this area.

    Core reduction and modification of stone artifacts from Chahayang farm, Heilongjiang
    ZHANG Xuewei, WANG Chunxue, LI Youqian
    2022, 41(06):  967-981.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0010
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    The Chahayang state-run farm is located in Gannan County, Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province, on the right bank of the Nenjiang River in the western margin of the Songnan Plain. The Palaeolithic archaeological field work and systematic excavations in Heilongjiang Province started in the 1930s. Thus far, more than 100 sites or localities have been reported or published, mainly for the Upper Palaeolithic. A new field survey was conducted in Gannan County in 2017 jointly by the Institute of Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, and the Heilongjiang Provincial Archaeology and Cultural Relics Institute. Upper Palaeolithic deposits and local jasper raw materials were found in a large area around Taipinghu Reservoir. In 2018, an excavation was conducted at a locality, named the Chahayang E2 locality in the Northeast Eighth Operation Area of the Taipinghu Reservoir Administrative Region (48°23′N, 124°1′E, H 295m) of this Farm. A total of 4624 stone artifacts were discovered including cores (n=23), complete flakes (267), micro-flaked flakes (10), blades (6), scrapers (9), fragments (126), chunks (156), and blanks (3096). The lithic assemblage is mainly produced by direct hammer percussion. This paper describes two distinct technological assemblages. A flake technology that is the local and dominant assemblage in North China, characterized by free-hand core reduction without preparation and simple tool modification. The other is blade technology represented by blade cores with platform preparation and working surfaces for the production of blades. The shapes of blade cores are varied, including wedge, prismatic and narrow-faced. Modified tools are represented by scrapers. Heavy duty tools are not evident at this site or in the surrounding area. This technological study provides a new reference for the origin, dispersal and development of blade technology in the Nenjiang River Basin. The period dates from the end of late Pleistocene to the early Holocene when environmental changes were severe, and the value of this work is in recognizing the evolution of cultural change in northeast China, and furthering discussion of migration dispersal and cultural diffusion in northeast Asia.

    Impact of raw material source on the obsidian lithic industry of Northeast China and South Korea
    HOU Zhe, ZHAO Yuchao, GAO Xing, SEONG Chuntaek
    2022, 41(06):  982-993.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0003
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    Using Renfrew’s distance decay model of obsidian exchange and evidence of Upper Paleolithic obsidian artifacts and sources in northeastern China and South Korea, an obsidian raw material supply zone (r=150~200 km) and a direct supply zone (r>200 km) were identified within crater Lake Tianchi, which represents a radiation core for both northeastern China and Korean Peninsula. Comparative statistical analysis of the distribution and artifacts of this region indicated the following results. 1) The number of obsidian artifacts and artifact types are higher in northwestern Chinese Upper Paleolithic sites; and 2) obsidian microblade core reduction is more intense with the size of complete flakes generally smaller in typical South Korean Upper Paleolithic sites. We argue that significant differences of obsidian distribution and usage between the two regions reflects availability and size of obsidian raw materials, associated to the distance from source localities in the Changbai Mountains.

    Blind test experiments in the technological interpretation of lithic artifacts
    ZHANG Yuzhe, TONG Guang, ZHANG Yueshu, HU Xiaochun, LI Feng
    2022, 41(06):  994-1004.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0008
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    Over the last 60 years lithic analysis has advanced tremendously, which has led to solid theoretical foundations and mature operating processes. By using lithic analysis, researchers can investigate human behavior, cognitive ability, subsistence patterns and more. Interpreting technological features is an essential way to study and understand lithics. The basis of technological interpretation is the reduction sequence, which serves as the foundation for studying the entire lithic assemblage’s debitage. Increasing the accuracy of technological interpretation is, without a doubt, an objective that researchers must continually purse. It is generally believed that raw materials, the number of scars on lithic artifacts and the experience of researchers are key factors affecting the accuracy of technological interpretation. Although refitting analysis can test the conclusion of technological interpretation to a certain extent, not all unearthed lithics qualify for this type of analysis. Systematic guidance and rich research experience can effectively improve the accuracy of researchers’ recognition of technological features of artifacts and thus improve technological interpretations. While experience is difficult to quantify and intuitively display, accuracy of lithic technological interpretation is often ignored. In most interpretations, results are usually considered to be completely correct, a point that is also worthy of further discussion. So, is there a way to intuitively show the credibility of technological analysis and help researchers improve the accuracy of their technological reading? This research uses a similar approach in use-wear analysis to conduct a blind test of technical interpretation on experimentally knapped dolomite and quartzite pebbles found near the Shuidonggou site in Ningxia. This study uncovers elements impacting technological reading precision, through the phases of knapping experiments, preliminary technological interpretation, refitting analysis and correction of initial studies, and repeatability of technological interpretations. It also outlines ways for improving technological interpretation accuracy, as well as a brief discussion on the value of the blind test experiment.

    Exploitation strategy of animal resources by ancient humans at the Late Pleistocene site of Banjingzi, Nihewan basin
    WANG Xiaomin, WANG Fagang, CHEN Fuyou, LI Feng, GAO Xing
    2022, 41(06):  1005-1016.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0085
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    This paper provides a detailed taphonomic analysis of animal remains from the Banjingzi site dating about 90 kaBP, in the Nihewan Basin, North China. The quantification of bone surface modifications, skeletal profiles, and breakage patterns of long bones are presented, indicating strategies of prey acquisition, transportation, and consumption by humans during Marine Isotope Stage 5 in the northern China. The results show that 1) humans were the predominant accumulator of bones in Layer 5 as indicated by the frequency of percussion marks, cut marks and carnivore toothmarks; 2) horses were the dominant prey, with most brought back to the site completely; 3) limb bones (that is, portions with the most flesh and marrow) had the highest frequencies of cutmarks, percussion marks and fragmentation index. Combined with zooarchaeological results from the Lingjing site in Henan Province, we conclude that there were probably regular hunters of large games in steppe environment of North China around MIS5.

    Craniofacial features of people in the Lafuqueke cemetery, Hami, Xinjiang
    HE Letian, WANG Yongqiang, WEI Wenbing
    2022, 41(06):  1017-1027.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0019
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    The Xinjiang region is a key crossroads between Europe and Asia, having been an important area of cultural and population exchange between East and West for thousands of years. Its history of population migration during the historical period (after 200 BC) reflects interactive patterns of different ethnic groups and cultures along the ancient Silk Road. The Lafuqueke is the first cemetery of the historical period excavated in the Hami Basin. Based on craniometric data of 10 adults from this site, this study applied multivariate statistics and biological distance to assess the population structure and to make a preliminary exploration of population history of the Hami oasis from the Late Bronze Age to the historical period. Cluster analysis and principal component analysis were used to analyze origins and affinities of the Lafuqueke population and 28 ancient populations from surrounding areas. The Squared Mahalanobis distance and nonparametric multivariate analysis of variance were applied to assess differences in the craniofacial morphology of Late Bronze Age-earlier Iron Age-historical period populations in the Hami Basin, in order to determine population continuity/discontinuity. The results are as follows. Craniometric analysis of the Lafuqueke population reveals intra-population heterogeneity. Two individuals from the mid-7th to late-mid 8th centuries have close affinities with eastern Eurasian populations. Considering burial features and burial objects, cultures and populations from the Tang Dynasty had a great influence on Hami during this period. After the 10th century, the Hami Basin was incorporated into the cultural system of the Gaochang Uygur Kingdom. However, the population structure of this region remained diverse, including individuals with similar craniometric features to those of eastern Eurasia and individuals with a mixture of eastern and western features. Craniofacial measurements of populations from the Late Bronze to early Iron Age (2000 BC-1000 BC) in the Hami show continuity indicating that the main population did not change. From the Early Iron Age to the historical period, however, a significant change occurred showing increased genetic contributions of populations from eastern Eurasia. Combined with archaeological findings and historical records, the new skeletal samples provide a preliminary understanding of population migration and integration during the historical period of the Hami oasis and allow for more detailed multidisciplinary research of this issue.

    Determination of body composition of the Jing in Guangxi using bioelectrical impedance analysis
    LIU Xin, ZHANG Xinghua, YU Keli, LIU Yanxia, BAO Jinping, ZHENG Lianbin
    2022, 41(06):  1028-1036.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0038
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    In this paper, the bioelectrical impedance analysis was used to measure body composition of Jing peoples in Guangxi. In December 2020, the research team measured 16 indicators of 430 Jing adults (182 males and 248 females) in the “Three Islands of Jing” in Dongxing City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The results show that mass, total body muscle mass, trunk muscle mass, estimated bone mass and total energy metabolism of Jing males and females are significantly negatively correlated with age. Changes in body composition with age are mainly caused by natural physiological changes with decreased labor intensity. The percentage body fat of males increases with age, due to increased trunk fat. The mass, total body muscle mass, estimated bone mass, total energy metabolism, percentage body water, and limbs and trunk muscle mass of Jing males are higher than those of females; while percentage of body fat and of limb and trunk fat are lower than those of females. Jing males possess a greater mass and a higher proportion of skeletal muscle in mass than females. These two last factors coupled with differences in labor intensity could result in discrepancies of body compositions of the two genders, including body muscle mass, bone mass and percentage body fat. Generally speaking, Jing adults are obese with high fat content but normal body water content. Their body composition characteristics are not similar to other Chinese ethnic groups of the same Austroasiatic languages or in the same coastal areas, but are relatively closer to those of Mongols in China, where mass, percentage of body fat and of body water are similar. Factors such as living environment, social economy, daily diet and labor intensity are the reasons for the higher mass and percent body fat of the Jing adults.

    Early position of the Daur language branch in the Mongolian language group
    SHAREN Gaowa, CHENG Huizhen, WEI Lanhai
    2022, 41(06):  1037-1046.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0006
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    According to previous linguistic work, the Daur language was categorized as a separate language or cluster in nearly all classifications of the larger Mongolic language group. Previous studies showed that many elements of the ancient Mongolic language in the 13th century are found in the modern Daur language. Here, based on evidence from genetics, history, ethnology, and linguistics, we explored the evolutionary history of the ancestral group of Mongol-speaking populations and provided an accurate timeframe for the early differentiation of Mongolic languages and the emergence of the Daur language as a separate branch. Y-chromosome lineage M401 is one of the paternal founding lineages of all Mongolic-speaking populations. The dominant paternal lineage of Daur, F5483, was one of the oldest sub-branches of M401, while most of the M401 individuals from other Mongolic-speaking populations belong to another lineage, the F3796 or other major sub-branch of M401. These two sub-branches differentiated at about 2,900 years ago. Studies of history, ethnology, and linguistics also revealed a permanent separation between Mongolic tribes who dispersed across the eastern Eurasian steppe and their relatives who remained as hunter-gatherers in the forest since the 9th century. In terms of demographic history, Daur is indeed the oldest branch of all Mongolic-speaking populations. We suggested that the multidisciplinary evidence, especially that of biological anthropology, supports the early branching of the Daur language from the Mongolic language group.

    Quantitative analysis of the correlation between fingerprint and age
    SONG Huanting, TANG Wei, ZHANG Limei, ZHANG Zhongliang, ZHANG Jiayu, CHEN Shitao
    2022, 41(06):  1047-1057.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0088
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    A difficult problem in the study of criminology is the determination of age and other personal characteristics of criminal suspects, especially the use of fingerprints. For a long time, many scholars noted subtle changes in fingerprints with an increase in age, but presently there is a lack of specific correlation between the characteristics of fingerprints that change with age and the age of the individual. In this work, we use the Leica M125 volumetric microscope to measure right thumb wrinkles, density of friction ridges, width of friction ridges and small furrows, fine point lines and flexion crease in 1510 samples. The correlation between feature information in the right thumb and age was analyzed with SPSS software. Variables showing high correlation were selected for multiple linear regression. We found features of wrinkles, friction ridges density, width of friction ridges and small furrows, fine point lines and flexor crease in fingerprints all correlated with age, but the goodness of fit of the multiple regression model based on these variables was not high. Then we used principal component analysis to recombine the variables and conducted multiple regression analysis again. An ideal model was still not obtained, and we believe this model cannot be applied to the practice for accurate fingerprint age analysis. For research on fingerprints and age, these anatomical features listed above can be used as for reference. Age information that is difficult to measure and express (characteristics such as edge shape of friction ridges, degree of ambiguity of fingerprint marks, and perspiration holes) may play a key role in fingerprints age analysis, therefore such researches need to be continued.

    Types and processing technology of stone spinning wheels from Zhengzhou during the Yangshao period
    REN Wenxun, WU Chaoming, WU Qian, DAI Jianzeng, SONG Guoding, GU Wanfa
    2022, 41(06):  1058-1068.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0041
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    Stone spinning wheels, whose analyses of type and technology contribute to the understanding of stone industries, were an important tool used in the Yangshao period. This paper analyzes some of these objects in terms of typology, statistics and microwear. Understanding the use of stone spinning wheels in textile production shows a close relationship between the type and technology of these objects. It is clear that the stone spinning wheel had two different types: a pipe-drilling technology and a flaking-percussing technology.

    Fossil evidence of the emergence of modern humans and their evolution
    XING Song
    2022, 41(06):  1069-1082.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0036
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    Modern humans (or recent, late or modern Homo sapiens) are characterized by their morphology, behavior, genetics etc. The mode of modern human origins and their evolutionary route has been the focus of many multidisciplinary researches including paleoanthropology, molecular biology, Paleolithic archaeology, environment and chronology. In recent years, findings of new fossil materials and chronological dating have updated the first appearance of modern humans in different continents and to earlier times. Applications of molecular biology reveal common genetic mixing among Neandertals, Denisovans, and modern humans, leading to a complicated scenario of early modern human evolution since the Upper Paleolithic. However, controversies still exist, and in particular, there are still several unsolved issues about how modern humans originated and evolved on the East Asian mainland. This work summarizes the important fossils of modern humans and the key findings about origin mode and evolutionary routes. Pre-modern H. sapiens can be traced back to Marine Isotope Stage 9 (MIS 9) in Africa, where there is relatively continuous fossil evidence through the late Middle to Late Pleistocene. The first appearance of modern humans in Eurasia was pushed back to MIS 6, and after a hiatus of fossil evidence during MIS 5a and MIS 4, modern humans began to widely disperse across the whole Eurasian continent including islands of East Asia, the southeast and Oceania. It is this fossil evidence and chronology that indicates multiple dispersals of early modern humans out of Africa. Based on morphological and molecular evidence, the evolutionary route of Eurasian modern humans during the MIS 3 and MIS 2 is non-linear. Instead, the evolutionary dead end of certain individuals (or the population it represents) and the inter-continent population connections suggest a mode of “net with breakpoints” for the evolutionary route of early modern humans. Future studies focusing on phenomics of fossil hominins and extant modern humans, more fossil evidence and analysis of ancient DNA will shed more light on this emergence pattern and evolutionary mode of modern humans in Eurasia, especially those in the East Asian continent.

    An application prospect of paleoproteomic analysis in the evolution of East Asian populations
    RAO Huiyun
    2022, 41(06):  1083-1096.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0051
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    The evolutionary history of East Asian populations has involved several multidisciplinary approaches, but this review will bring in a different type of analysis, that of paleoproteomic analysis. Compared with ancient DNA, ancient proteins can preserve in (sub)tropical areas, thus offering significant potential in tracking human evolutionary history. Abundant human fossils have been discovered in East Asia, including Homo erectus, archaic Homo sapiens, early modern humans and late Homo sapiens, which generally form a continuous sequence. However, molecular evidences from the Pleistocene or earlier samples are scarce. In order to promote the application of paleoproteomic analysis in East Asia, this paper reviews its history, potential, challenges and future prospects. Key highlights are listed below. 1) Although ancient protein analysis goes back to 1954, its development was quite slow until the advent of soft-ionization mass spectrometry in 2000. Advances in high-resolution and high-throughput instrumentation now allow researchers to study ancient proteomes; a study that has been well employed in archaeological and evolutionary research. 2) Enamel, dentine and bone are three main substrates for protein preservation in human fossils, with enamel possessing the highest potential for deep-time survival. The earliest enamel proteome sequences were retrieved from a 1.9 MaBP Gigantopithecus molar from South China, with a thermal age of 11.8 MaBP at 10°C. 3) Different taxonomic groups and protein types have diverse amino acid substitution rates. Based on current researches, there are certain mutation positions along the main proteins of bones and teeth from human fossils that could help construct human evolutionary history in broader space and deeper time. 4) Paleoproteomic analysis faces the challenges of low endogenous protein content in fossil samples and a lack of full reference database. 5) Further methodological exploration should focus on three aspects, i.e., optimization of extraction methods, automatic species identification of ZooMS spectra and in-depth interpretation of mass spectrometry data. With an accumulation of more molecular evidence, especially from earlier human fossils which are out of reach for ancient DNA, paleoproteomic analysis could provide more clues in helping to draw a more accurate and clear phylogenetic tree on human evolutionary history in East Asia.

    The origin, spread, and impact of agriculture
    LI Xiaoqiang
    2022, 41(06):  1097-1108.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0013
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    The origins of agriculture is one of the most significant events in human prehistory and the foundation of ancient cultures. At 10000 BP, agriculture emerged almost independently in western and eastern Asia and Central America at the same time. Mesopotamia in western Asia was thought to be the origin of wheat, barley and oats, while corn, potato, peanuts, etc. were firstly cultivated in Central America. China was featured by two independent agricultural systems, namely rice in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and millet in the Yellow River Basin. During the process of early crop development, agriculture spread widely from its origin centers to most parts of the world, building an important bridge for cultural exchange and integration in the Eurasia. After Columbus discovered the Americas at the end of the 15th century, the opening of new shipping routes and emergence of numerous trade routes accelerated the spread and integration of crops in the New and Old worlds. The origin of agriculture has changed the ability of human beings to transform or adapt to our environment, and has made an significant impact on human society and the natural environment. Agriculture not only promoted the emergence of a settled lifestyle, but also led to major changes in population structure, division of labor and commodity exchanges. Agriculture improved production efficiency, provided a stable food supply and storage, and increased the intensity and scope of human activities, largely impacting the global ecology and natural environment.