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New Paleolithic Remains Found in Longxi Basin,Gansu Province
Update time: 06/22/2011
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Gansu Province is the first place where Paleolithic artifacts with clear stratum were found in China. Most of these early finds were located in the eastern Loess Plateau, in the eastern part of the province. Archeologists from Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Gansu Provincial Institute of Archeology conducted series of Paleolithic reconnaissance in Longxi Basin in the middle part of Gansu Province in 2009, and Stone artifacts and mammalian fossils from 16 new localities were collected, 14 of which were confirmed with clear stratigraphy and another 2 were found in uncertain contexts with typical Paleolithic artifacts, according to a report published in the latest issue of Acta Anthropologica Sinica 2010 (2).

Stone artifacts in Longxi Basin are mainly flakes, chunks and chips, followed by cores and retouched items. Raw materials are mainly quartz, which were collected by ancient people from the adjacent riverbed. Archeological examinations indicate hard hammer percussion is the main flaking technique, followed by bipolar flaking. Scrapers were modified on flakes by hard hammer percussion on single surface. A small point with bifacial retouches was also found, and through technological characteristics it exhibits close ties with the flake tool tradition in North China.

The stratigraphic observation and preliminary AMS 14C dating suggest that these newly discovered localities are formed in two stage : 60000/59000-28000 years ago and 27000-10000 years ago. LI Feng, lead author, a Ph. D. student working under the direction of Professor GAO Xing, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said, “The middle part of Gansu Province is an important area abundant of Paleolithic sites. Among the 16 localities, the Xujiacheng 1, Shixiakou 1 and Shixiakou 2 localities show the archeological value for further excavation from their clear stratigraphy and plentiful artifacts”.

“In recent years, as almost 50 Paleolithic sites were found in this limited area, Longxi Basin becomes a key region of human dispersal and occupation in Northwest China in Late Pleistocene, which will provide valuable clues for interpreting human adaptive behavior, migration, and interaction with environment in this area”, said GAO Xing.


Stone artifacts from Shuiluo and Qingshui River valley, Longxi Basin, Gansu Province: 1 . Scraper, 2 . Bipolar flake, 3. Bipolar core, 4 . Core, 5 . Point, 6. Core, 7. Core, 8. Flake, 9. Scraper.(Images by LI Feng)

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