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The eastern Asian ‘Middle Palaeolithic’ revisited: a view from Korea

  • Chuntaek Seong (a1) and Christopher J. Bae (a2)


Is the Middle Palaeolithic an appropriate concept in eastern Asia? The issue has been debated for China in two recent papers in Antiquity (Yee 2012; Li 2014), which in turn responded to an earlier argument set out by Gao and Norton (2002). But does the Korean record offer a different perspective? Here, the authors argue that Korean archaeology, as with the Chinese record, provides no support for a distinct Middle Palaeolithic. Rather than seeking to validate an inappropriate chronological framework derived from European Palaeolithic research, emphasis should instead be placed on developing a regionally specific model of prehistory for eastern Asia. They conclude, akin to Gao and Norton (2002), that the East Asian Palaeolithic should be divided into two major cultural periods: Early and Late.


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