The relationship between the Palaeolithic-Neolithic cultural transition and environmental changes is important for understanding human history. However, the timing and nature of human behaviour at the transition, and their relationship to local environmental conditions, remain poorly understood. The Yujiagou archaeological site in the Nihewan Basin, northern China, provides valuable chronological and archaeological information about cultural changes in northern China due to its continuous archaeological sequence of cultural layers from the Palaeolithic to Neolithic. In this study, we apply post-infrared infrared stimulated luminescence (pIRIR) dating on individual feldspar grains to date the Yujiagou deposits. We provide a revised chronology for the archaeological sequence at the site. We combine these results with multi-proxy climatic indicators to gain insights into palaeoenvironmental changes in the region. The results show that the age of the artefact-bearing deposits ranges from 13.5 to 9.7 ka. Polished stones and pottery begin to occur in the archaeological layer around 13 ka, corresponding to a transitional period when the local climate changed from cold to warm. This site provides evidence for understanding the process that led to the regional transition from hunter-gathering to farming.
Available for download on Monday, February 17, 2020