Table of Content

    15 February 2020, Volume 39 Issue 01
    Re-examination of core reduction strategies of the Guanyindong lithic assemblage in Guizhou
    LI Feng, LI Yinghua, GAO Xing
    2020, 39(01):  1-11.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0001
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    Hu et al recently published an article in Nature reanalyzing the long-curated lithic assemblage excavated from the Guanyindong site in 1964-1973 in Guizhou Province (South China) and draw an opposite conclusion to the previous studies. They put forward a new viewpoint that the assemblage reflected a late Middle Pleistocene Levallois stone-tool technology on the basis of new dates and was thus the earliest Levallois production in East Asia. In this paper, we briefly reviewed the research history of the Guanyindong assemblages and the Levallois technology. Based upon our own careful examination on a sample of Guanyindong assemblages and the technological definition of the Levallois technique, we find that the previous studies of this assemblage, which concluded that it fell within a core-flake technocomplex, remains the most reliable interpretation. We also synthesize the evidence of Levallois technologies in China, such as Shuidonggou, Jinsitai and Tongtiandong sites, and conclude that there is as yet no evidence supporting the occurrence of Levallois technology in China about 50,000 years ago.

    The raw material study and its application on explanation of prehistoric habitants’ cognitive level and behavioral pattern
    YANG Shixia, YUE Jianping
    2020, 39(01):  12-20.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0006
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    From Oldowan hominins to many modern hunter-gatherers, raw materials for making stone tools are essential resources. The identification of lithic raw material and its sources is an important topic in most prehistoric research. In the current paper, we review the research methods used to investigate the quality and distribution of raw materials, along with the applications of these methods. Raw materials not only impact on the form and composition of tools, but they also can be regarded as good measures of cognitive development and behavior patterns. In recent years, the authors worked on the raw materials at several prehistoric sites. In this paper, we take the work in the Nihewan Basin and Taoshan site of Northeast China as examples, to introduce how to explain the relationship of raw materials to cognitive level. The Xiaochangliang site is a key archaeological locality in the Nihewan Basin. Study of the available raw materials and knapping techniques show that, faced with the limits of small clast size and poor quality materials, the Xiaochangliang inhabitants acted with technical flexibility, utilizing freehand and bipolar techniques in variable frequencies. The Taoshan site, dating from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the mid-Holocene, shows changes in raw material exploitation. Considering the changes in vegetation for this site, we found that the diachronic changes in raw material types and exploitation strategies corresponded with changes in vegetation and human adaptations. As the examples we give in this paper demonstrate, the study of lithic raw material can enrich our knowledge of prehistory.

    The origin of small bifacial tools of the Upper Paleolithic in China from the Old World perspective
    CHEN Youcheng, QU Tongli
    2020, 39(01):  21-29.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2017.0072
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    Small bifacial tool was a complicatedly retouched and beautifully finished stone tool in China which emerged during the Upper Paleolithic period. This article makes a comparative study of the Chinese Late Pleistocene archaeological materials with that of the West. The result indicates the small bifacial tool had a long history in the West, which first arised in the Still Bay Culture of South Africa about 70,000 years ago. The Still Bay bifacial tools were made through heat treatment and pressure flaking technology, having been used as projectile points. When it was 40,000 years ago, the small bifacial points flourished in Europe with diversified forms. As for the small bifacial tools found in the East Asia, both the ages and shapes show close relationship with the West, which should be the results of culture communication between the East and West during the Late Paleolithic period.

    A preliminary analysis of the stone artifacts from the 2014~2015 excavation of Shuidonggou Locality 2, Ningxia Autonomous Region
    ZHANG Peiqi, ZHANG Xiaoling, Sam LIN, GUO Jialong, WANG Huimin, Nicolas ZWYNS, PENG Fei, GAO Xing
    2020, 39(01):  30-41.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0031
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    The excavation of Shuidonggou Locality 2 in 2014~2015 was focused on uncovering an area (T3) north of the units (T1 & T2) excavated previously in 2003~2007. The area exposed in T3 was approximately 80 m 2 in surface area and about 8 m in depth. A total of six cultural layers (CLs) were identified from the stratigraphic sequence; all of the layers correspond to those in T1 and T2, except for CL4 which is present in the previously excavated units but absent in T3. This paper reports on the analysis of 2723 lithic artifacts unearthed from the renewed excavation at T3. By analyzing the lithic raw material and the technology/typology of the stone artifacts among the cultural layers, we characterize diachronic shifts in lithic production strategy at SDG2. Results of this study provide additional evidence for understanding the behavior and adaptation of past human groups at Shuidonggou Locality 2.

    A primary research of the Laonainaimiao Locality 3 in Zhengzhou, Henan Province
    LI Wencheng, WANG Songzhi, GU Wanfa, LIU Tuo, LI Yulong, HE Jianing
    2020, 39(01):  42-51.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0025
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    Located at Zhengzhou, Laonainaimiao Locality 3 is estimated to be 45 Ka or earlier. Excavation in 2016 revealed 575 pieces of bones and 66 pieces of lithics. Compared to the central campsite at Locality 1, the density and distribution of artifacts at Locality 3 suggested that it might have been a temporary stop where ancient hominids visited occasionally. The faunal remains indicated an environment with forest and steppe, while the lithic assemblage resembles other sites in this area during MIS 3, belonging to a lithic industry in northern China characterized by small flakes.

    A study of stone artifacts excavated at the Bicun site in Xingxian county
    REN Haiyun, WANG Xiaoyi, WANG Xiaojuan, ZHANG Guanghui
    2020, 39(01):  52-63.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0018
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    In China, neolithic archaeologists spend more time studying the grinding stone tools. For instance, some researchers have focused on their fabrication process and use of the grinding stone tools recently. However the study on the hammering stone artifacts have been ignored although a number of them were found in the neolithic sites, especially the Longshan time sites. In this paper we made an observation of all the stone artifacts excavated at the Bicun site, especially analyzed the hammering stones, which were excavated in Xingxian county, Shanxi province during 2015 to 2017. It is characterized with abundant flakes and fragments, as well as tools including a variety of scrapers, bifaces, arrow-heads and awls. Flakes were preferred to be chosen for retouching into tools. Bifaces were too highly retouched to recognize the blanks. Hard hammer percussion was used in reductions and retouching, and suppression was used in retouching as well. The griding stone axes also could be used as hammers. Raw materials were selected from near the Yellow River and Weifen river beaches. Producing stone artifacts is only a small item of handicraft industry, and it has declined, but the existence showed a strong vitality of the small stone tool cultural tradition. Some tools such as arrow-heads and points indicated that hunt-gathering was an auxiliary living way.

    A preliminary report on excavation at the Huangmenyan Cave 2 of Qingtang site, South China in 2016
    DENG Wanwen, LIU Suoqiang, WU Youbo, LIU Tuo, LI Wencheng, HE Jianing, WANG Youping
    2020, 39(01):  64-73.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0024
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    Located in Qingtang Town, Yingde City, Guangdong Province, a group of prehistoric caves was found alongside the middle Wengjiang River, which is a tributary of the nearby Beijiang River. As part of the Qingtang site, four caves were recorded during the previous investigations around the Huangmenyan hillock. From June 2016 to October 2016, excavations have been conducted both at the Huangmenyan Cave 2 and the Huangmenyan Cave 1. The total area of that first season’s excavation is about 20 m 2. Here we present the preliminary report on Huangmenyan Cave 2 only.

    At the Huangmenyan Cave 2, there exist around 40 depositional layers, among which abundant archaeological remains were uncovered, including stone artefacts, bone tools, shell tools, and many other remains, including faunal and even plant remains. Nearly 2000 specimens have been collected in total. In addition, several potsherds were found in four different layers, although no other Neolithic elements were seen from this locality. Those thick coarse potsherds with cord impressions exhibit characteristics of early pottery and are very likely the oldest pottery documented in Guangdong, dated back to around 17 ka BP.

    The lithic artefacts were normally flaked at one end or one side of a cobble unifacially with a hammer stone. Such river cobbles could be obtained from nearby river gravels. Various raw materials from these river gravels were suitable for tool manufacturing, including sandstone, quartz sandstone, quartz, granodiorite, quartzite, diorite, granite, fine sandstone and siltstone. Choppers with quite large edge angles are the dominant tool types, trimmed at one or two edges. There also found large numbers of flakes, but only several of them were retouched and might be used as scrapers. Elongated cobbles as well as the big oval examples, utilized or not, are also notable finds in this locality. It has long been debated that, during the late period of Late Pleistocene, the lithic industry of southern China approaches more closely to that discovered in mainland Southeast Asia rather than that of northern China. Therefore, these cobble tools are considered strong proof for the cultural relationship between the ancient populations of southern China and that of mainland Southeast Asia.

    Cervidae predominate in the faunal remains. Only a few bones of tortoise, bird, carnivore, and reptile were uncovered, although large quantities of rodent bones and teeth were collected through wet sieving. Percussion scars are usually seen on bone fragments, while polishing traces are less common. Some bones as well as antlers were processed and might have served as awls or spatulas. Many of bones are extensively burnt, which needs further investigation.

    The general stratigraphic layers, from which lithic, ceramic, and other cultural materials derive, are well preserved and would help in reconstructing the chronological sequence of prehistoric cultural development in southern China. According to all the materials obtained from different localities of the Qingtang site, Huangmenyan Cave 2 seems to have been a central living area with rich and varied categories of archaeological remains. Meanwhile, Huangmenyan Cave 1 with a human burial, as well as other localities investigated in the area, probably functioned as places for special activities. The spatial arrangement of activities at the Qingtang site shows how people lived during the transitional period from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic.

    With the field records and artefactual materials recovered in this predominant locality of the Qingtang site, Huangmenyan Cave 2 is a significant case of what appears to have been a hunter-gatherer society with a gradually changing subsistence strategy in southern China. It is now possible to provide more up-to-date and significant evidence for human dispersal for this vast region covering both the southern part of East Asia and mainland Southeast Asia at that time.

    A preliminary report on the survey and excavation at Macun Paleolithic Site in Xuancheng, Anhui Province
    DONG Zhe, ZHAN Shijia
    2020, 39(01):  74-85.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0050
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    Shuiyangjiang River system, as an important branch in the right bank of the Yangtze River, has got great attention for discovering “Shuiyangjiang Paleolithic site complex” since 1980-90’s. In 2004, archaeological survey and excavation were carried out by the staffs from the Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics of Anhui Province at Macun site, Xuancheng. Seventy-one lithic artifacts were collected from the surface and seventy-eight lithic artifacts were unearthed from the deposit. The site is buried in the red clay of the second terrace of the right bank of the Shuiyangjiang River. Lithic raw materials were procured from the local river beds and quartzite was the dominant type of rocks. Most of the stone artifacts were manufactured by freehand hammer percussion, followed by bipolar technique. Typologically, the lithic artifacts comprise Pounded Pieces, Flaked Pieces, Detached Pieces, and Small retouched pieces etc. The Macun lithic assemblage can be assigned to the Pebble Tool Industry in South China which indicated by the low reduction sequence of core and early stage of flake attributes. Although the lithic technique falling in the scope of ModeI industry, some large flakes (with more than 10cm in maximum length or width) and large cutting tools (big knife and picks) indicate that early hominin bear the ability of making Mode II productions. Judging from the reticulate red clay of the site context, geomorphological and chronological comparison among the regions in the middle to lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Macun site can be deduced to the late Middle Pleistocene to early Late Pleistocene.

    Newly discovered lithic artifacts from the Yan’an range of the Shanxi-Shaanxi Gorge in the middle reach of the Yellow River, North China
    ZHANG Gaike, WANG Shejiang, LI Zhao, DI Nan, ZHAO Hanqing, LU Huayu, WANG Xiaoqing, XIA Wenting, BIE Jingjing
    2020, 39(01):  86-105.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0051
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    In June 2018, five Paleolithic open-air sites were discovered from the Yan’an range of the Shanxi-Shaanxi Gorge in the middle reach of the Yellow River, North China. A total of 556 lithic artifacts were collected. Some of the lithic artifacts were directly collected from the exposed section of loess deposit. The raw materials of the lithic artifacts mainly come from the riverbed of the Yellow River and the river terrace. These lithic artifacts are mainly made of quartzite, followed by quartz. Flint, silicolite, siliceous limestone, quartz sandstone, fine sandstone, opal, agate, igneous rock were occasionally used. The lithic artifacts include hammers, cores, flakes, retouched tools, chunks and debris. They are mainly small (L<50mm) in size. The platforms of core and flake are dominated by cortical surfaces. Most of the stone artifacts were knapped by direct hammer percussion, a few ones were knapped by bi-polar technique, anvil-chipping technique, and ridged-hammer bi-polar technique occasionally used. The retouched tools are mainly light-duty scrapers made of flakes, and a small amount of choppers were made of pebbles. The primary buried layer of lithic artifacts found in Fuxicun, Suyahe, Gaojiapan and Yanshuiguan are Malan loess deposits on the second terrace of the Yellow River, this layer was formed in the late Pleistocene, and show typical characters of the simple core-flake industry, the age of lithic artifacts could be temporarily put in the Upper Paleolithic period. The lithic artifacts found in Yijintan site are buried in Malan loess deposits on the second terrace of the Yellow River and the deposits on the first terrace of the Yellow River, they belong to the the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic. These new discoveries extend the distribution of Paleolithic relics in the Shanxi-Shanxi Gorge area of the Yellow River, enriches the cultural features of Paleolithic relics, and provides a new clue for future research in this region.

    Stratigraphy and chronology of the Gaolingpo site in the Bose Basin, South China
    XIE Guangmao, LIN Qiang, YU Minghui, CHEN Xiaoying, HU Zhanghua, LU Huayu, HUANG Qiuyan
    2020, 39(01):  106-117.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0046
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    The Palaeolithic industry in the Bose Basin, Guangxi, South China is well known in the international Paleolithic community for its handaxes dating back to 803 kaBP. Seven fluvial terraces were developed in the basin, but the fourth terrace is the most important archaeologically because handaxes and tektites were recovered from this terrace. Since the first site was discovered in 1973, additional sites of the Bose Palaeolithic industry have been investigated and excavated, most of which are located on the fourth terrace. Previous studies concluded that there is only one industrial phase within the depositional sequence of terrace four and its age is 803 kaBP. However, before 2013 no attempt had been made to excavate to the basal gravels from top of the fourth terrace, and therefore the depositional sequence was not completely investigated. Until now, the stratigraphy and the layers from which the stone artifacts derived in terrace four were not clear. In 2013-2014, we conducted an excavation over an area of 200m 2at the Gaolingpo site, which is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the Bose Basin. We excavated to the basal gravel deposits from the top of this terrace, and a section of more than 7m thick was exposed, with the stratigraphic layers of Pleistocene and Holocene deposits clearly presented. Furthermore, more than 800 stone artifacts including choppers, picks, and scrapers were recovered from several stratigraphic layers, which have different ages and characteristics. Based on stratigraphic analysis and the stone artifacts, three stages of Palaeolithic cultural remains from the Gaolingpo site are established. The first stage has an age of at least 803 kaBP, the second stage can be dated to 15 kaBP, and the third stage is 10 kaBP.

    A study of bird remains from the Houtaomuga site in Da’an, Jilin
    LIANG Qiyao, CHEN Quanjia, WANG Chunxue
    2020, 39(01):  118-126.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0051
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    A number of bird remains were unearthed from the Houtaomuga site in Da’an City, Jilin Province, Northeast China, during 2011~2015. The long occupation of the site, lasting from the Early Neolithic period to the Liao and Jin Dynasties, has been divided into seven chronological phases.

    In this study, a total of 3398 bone fragments of birds were recovered, of which 2711 specimens were identified to taxonomic levels, including 19 species from 11 families and 8 orders. The assemblage is dominated by the remains of Phasianidae, accounting for approximately 77% of the identified specimens. By observing size differences and the presence of a spur on the tarso-metatarsus, we reveal that the specimens of male Phasianidae significantly outnumber their female counterparts.

    Considering bird migration, we can divide the bird species from the site into two categories: resident and migratory birds. It is assumed that the site was a seasonal occupied human settlement, and the spring and summer might be the main bird hunting seasons. During the Neolithic Age, the major subsistence strategy at the site was hunting and fishing, while birds appear to have served as a key supplementary food resource for prehistoric residents. The bird species hunted by people varied according to changing seasons and climate patterns through chronological phases. It is noteworthy that in the Han Dynasty, birds became an indispensable burial offering. In addition, bird remains, as a key ecological indicator, may reflect environmental changes occurred at the site.

    Ethnic fusion in North China from Han Dynasty to Northern Dynasties: Stable isotope analysis of human bones from the Xitun cemetery, Beijing
    ZHU Simei, ZHOU Yawei, ZHU Hong, DING Lina, HU Yaowu
    2020, 39(01):  127-134.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2018.0026
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    The study of genetic admixture of nomads and farmers is significant in understanding the beginnings of the Chinese nation. Anthropology and historic research on North China give us a variety of information about human admixture and ethnic mixing in this area, and yet during this period, the impact of subsistence strategy shifts on human health is unclear. Stable isotope analysis (C & N) of human bones were undertaken from the Xitun cemetery (~200BC-580AD) located in Yanqing, Beijing, in combination with evidence from morphological study on human skeletons and historical records in order to discuss possible influences of the health of the ancient population when subsistence shifts appeared. Results show that people mostly consumed C4-based foods during both periods, which means millet agriculture played an important role. Compared with people living during in Han Dynasty, residents in the Northern Dynasties had a higher δ 13C value, which could be closely related to agricultural measures implemented by governments during the ethnic mixing process. Increasing females height and changing death statistics in the Northern Dynasties indicate that development of agriculture may have had unexpected effects on people’s health. In our research, stable isotope analysis and physical anthropological methods provide a new aspect in understanding the fusion of mixing of ancient ethnic groups and thus reflect the beginnings of the Chinese nation.

    A study of the ocular features of Baerhu Mongolian teenagers
    SUI Zhefeng, WANG Ying, SAREN Gaowa
    2020, 39(01):  135-142.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0005
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    The research objective for this study is to provide a theoretical basis for ethnic and genetic disease identification of Baerhu Mongolian teenagers. Using anthropometric measuring techniques and instruments initially used by Martin, we investigated Mongolian wrinkles, palpebra superior wrinkles and palpebral fissure inclination on 265 teenagers (male 135; female 130), and then compared our results with published ocular reference of Mongolian peoples from Erdos, Bayannur and Alxa. The results of our work showed that Mongolian wrinkles, palpebra superior wrinkles and palpebral fissure inclination of Baerhu teenagers were different from other Mongolian tribes. The occurrence rates of Mongolian wrinkles, and palpebra superior wrinkles in Baerhu teenagers were higher than Erdos Mongolian, and other traits were lower than our data. The characteristics of Baerhu Mongolian teenagers eyes were basically consistent with other Baerhu Mongolian people. In conclusion, the ocular features of Mongolian peoples began to change significantly with age. Baerhu Mongolian ocular features significantly different from Mongolian peoples in other regions. In terms of anthropology, historical origins, language and culture, Baerhu Mongolians are different from other Mongolian ethnic groups, and should be identified as an independent tribe or ethnic group.

    A study of physical characteristics of the Baima people in China
    ZHANG Xinghua, YU Keli, YANG Yajun, JIN Dan, REN Jiayi, DONG Wenjing, WEI Yu, ZHENG Lianbin
    2020, 39(01):  143-151.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2017.0048
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    The Baima belong to one of the unrecognized ethnic groups living in China. In this study, 69 anthropological characteristics were assessed in 233 Baima adults (93 males; 140 females) living in Pingwu City, Sichuan Province. In addition, 15 qualitative characteristics were also observed in 228 Baima adults (93 males; 135 females). The results of this research are as follows. First, the percentage of upper eyelid eyefold in Baima males was 80.65% and in Baima females 85.93%, with the frequency of the Mongoloid fold as 33.33% (male) and 39.26% (female). The opening height of eye slits in this ethnic group are narrow, with the external angle higher than the internal angle. Nasal root height in the Baima is defined as medium, with most adults having a straight nasal bridge. Baima males and females have flat and prominent cheekbones. Ear lobe types in the Baima are rounded. The upper lip skin height is medium in Baima and lip thickness is thin. Eye color is mostly brown. Baima males and females are of the hypsicephalic and tapeinocephalic type, mesorrhiny, long trunk, subbrachyskelic, and with broad chest circumference, broad shoulder breadth and narrow distance between iliac crests. Baima males are mesocephaly and mesoprosopy, but females are brachycephaly and euryprosopy. According to the mean stature of males and females, they are of the middle-type figure. These physical characteristics of the Baima belong to the northern ethnic groups, and is close to that of the Hezhen and the Russians, but distant to the Anduo Tibetan.

    Body circumference of the Han people in China
    Bao Jinping, Zheng Lianbin
    2020, 39(01):  152-158.  doi:10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2017.0077
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    From 2009 to 2013, we measured the circumferences of head, neck, chest (normal, exhale/inhale), abdomen, hip, thigh, calf, biceps, forearm and maximum biceps on 26695 people (rural males 8174, urban males 4791, rural females 8327, urban females 5403) living in 22 provinces and autonomous regions of China. Correlation analysis between degree of circumference and latitude, longitude, and age were carried out between the urban and the rural Han, and between the northern and the southern Han. The results were as follows. 1) In male circumferences, biceps and maximum biceps values had no significant positive correlation with age, in contrast to the other ten variables, which were positively correlated with latitude. In female circumferences, all of the 12 variables were positively correlated with latitude. 2) In all male and female circumference variables, that were all positively correlated with longitude, male limb circumference was significantly negatively correlated with age. Female lower limb circumference was also significantly negatively correlated with age, but three variables of upper limb circumferences were significantly positively correlated with age. 3) In both males and females, five variables of truck and neck circumferences increased with age. 4) Between northern and southern Han males, except for circumferences of the head and biceps, values were close to each other, with the remaining ten values of northern Han being greater than those of the southern Han. 5) All 12 circumference values of northern Han females were greater than those of southern Han females. Variable differences between rural and urban Han were statistically significant, with the. circumference values of urban Han larger than the rural Han.