New chronology of the deposits from the inner chambers of the Guanyindong cave, southwestern China

Publication Name

Journal of Archaeological Science


Guanyindong Cave is one of most important Palaeolithic sites in southwestern China, due to its presence of the earliest Levallois artifacts in East Asia, which was dated to two discrete periods at ∼160–170 thousand years ago (ka) and ∼70–80 ka, respectively, based on optical dating of the artifact-bearing sediments from the west entrance of the cave (Hu, et al., 2019a). There were five excavation pits at Guanyindong during the initial excavation seasons in 1960s, all of which have yielded abundant stone artifacts and fauna fossils. However, in contrast to the excavation pits at the west entrance whose chronology and lithic industry were intensively studied, the chronological frameworks of the excavation pits inside the cave chambers have not been established. Here we report optical dating results of sediment samples taken from two of the pits inside the cave (Profiles 2A and 3). We established Bayesian age models for the two profiles based on our new optical ages and the U-series ages obtained in previous studies. Our results indicate that the group B deposits in the main chambers of the cave accumulated between ∼200 ka and ∼100 ka. The chronology of the deposits from the inner chambers, together with those from the west entrance, provided a new age constraint for the Levallois artifacts from the site and suggested that hominins occupied the cave from ∼180 ka to ∼80 ka, spanning a full glacial and interglacial period (from MIS 6 to MIS 5).

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Australian Research Council



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