Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Earth and Environmental Sciences


The Nihewan Basin is a key region to study Quaternary palaeoenvironmental, palaeontological and Palaeolithic histories in East Asia. Although many studies have been carried out over the last few decades, many questions remain unanswered. This thesis focuses on three of the most debated questions about the Nihewan Basin: 1) when and why did the Nihewan palaeo-lake disappear and the Sanggan River form?; 2) did the ‘Middle Palaeolithic’ stage really exist in the Nihewan Basin?; 3) was the Upper Palaeolithic microblade technology developed from the local small-tool technology in the Nihewan Basin or was it imported from elsewhere? These questions are debated mainly due to the lack of firm chronological control for the late Quaternary stone artefact-bearing sediments in the basin. This thesis, therefore, aims to answer these questions from a chronological perspective, by studying six stone artefact-bearing lacustrine or fluvial sedimentary sections. My specific aims are to: 1) reveal the time of transition from the Nihewan palaeo-lake to the Sanggan River; 2) test the assignment of sites to the so-called ‘Middle Palaeolithic’ in the Nihewan Basin based on their numerical chronologies; and 3) establish a chronological sequence for the small-tool and microblade technologies of the Upper Palaeolithic stage in the Nihewan Basin.

To achieve the first two aims, three Palaeolithic sites—Motianling (which captures the final stages of lacustrine sediment deposition), Queergou (representing lakeshore sediments) and Banjingzi (located on a fluvial terrace of the Sanggan River)—have been selected for study...

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.