Initial Upper Paleolithic in North China: New data from Shuidonggou locality 9

Publication Name

Archaeological Research in Asia


The timing and dispersal of modern humans into Northeast Asia has been a subject of hot debate, fueled by increasing discoveries of previously unknown human species in the region, including the so-called Denisovans. In this debate, archaeological assemblages identified as Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) play a key role as they are often seen as possible markers for the dispersal of modern human culture across Eurasia. In North China, the presence of IUP blade assemblages is well-established at the Shuidonggou site complex (SDG), particularly at SDG locality 1 (SDG1). In this study, we present a preliminary analysis of another blade-dominated lithic assemblage from SDG locality 9 (SDG9). Applying a combination of typological and technological approaches, we demonstrate that, similar to SDG1, the lithic reduction patterns represented at SDG9 are centered on the use of the recurrent Levallois method to produce blades and elongated flakes, a technological feature that is characteristic of the IUP technology. However, the SDG9 assemblage also exhibits some differences to SDG1, including the dominant use of siliceous limestone as raw material, the absence of prismatic and sub-prismatic cores, and limited retouched pieces. These disparities indicate possible regional variation and diversities in IUP assemblages at SDG.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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