Monday, May 15, 2017

The Lithic Assemblages of Xiaochangliang, Nihewan Basin: Implications for Early Pleistocene Hominin Behaviour in North China

Fig 10. XCL retouched pieces. 1–2: Borers with short retouched points; 3–5, 7–9, 11: Scrapers with continuous retouch along an edge; 6, 10, 12–13: Denticulates showing uneven edges with more than three retouch scars.






Shi-Yia Yang, Ya-Mei Hou, Jian-Ping Yue, Michael D. Petraglia, Cheng-Long Deng, Ri-Xiang Zhu
PLOS One
May 20, 2016
(Link) open access

Abstract

Xiaochangliang (XCL), located in the Nihewan Basin of North China, is a key archaeological locality for understanding the behavioural evolution of early humans. XCL dates to ca. 1.36 Ma, making it one of the earliest sites in Northeast Asia. Although XCL represents the first excavation of an Early Pleistocene site in the Nihewan Basin, identified and excavated in the 1970’s, the lithic assemblages have never been published in full detail. Here we describe the lithic assemblages from XCL, providing information on stone tool reduction techniques and the influence of raw materials on artefact manufacture. The XCL hominins used both bipolar and freehand reduction techniques to manufacture small flakes, some of which show retouch. Bipolar reduction methods at XCL were used more frequently than previously recognized. Comparison of XCL with other Early Pleistocene sites in the Nihewan Basin indicates the variable use of bipolar and freehand reduction methods, thereby indicating a flexible approach in the utilization of raw materials. The stone tools from XCL and the Nihewan sites are classifiable as Mode I lithic assemblages, readily distinguished from bifacial industries manufactured by hominins in Eastern Asia by ca. 800 ka.

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