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Lithic technological responses to environmental change during the penultimate glacial cycle (MIS 7–6) at the Yangshang site, western Chinese Loess Plateau

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2021

Yuchao Zhao
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan, 3010 School of Education Building, 610 E. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259, USA
Jing Zhou
Affiliation:
Gansu Province Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, No. 167 Heping Road, Lanzhou 730000, China
Fuyou Chen
Affiliation:
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 142 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, China CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing, 100044, China
Xiaomin Wang
Affiliation:
Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, 100710, China
Junyi Ge
Affiliation:
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 142 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, China CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing, 100044, China
Xing Gao
Affiliation:
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 142 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, China CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing, 100044, China University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Brian A. Stewart
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan, 3010 School of Education Building, 610 E. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259, USA Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag X3, Wits 2050, South Africa
Feng Li
Affiliation:
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 142 Xizhimenwai Street, Beijing 100044, China CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing, 100044, China
Corresponding

Abstract

A multidisciplinary fieldwork and research project was recently begun at the Yangshang site (220–140 ka), a late Early Paleolithic locale in the western Chinese Loess Plateau. 1696 lithic artifacts and 337 faunal remains were recovered during the excavation. Sedimentological and paleoenvironmental investigations indicate the site preserves a relatively long and minimally disturbed archaeological sequence associated with paleoenvironmental changes during MIS 7–6. A detailed techno-typological analysis of Yangshang's lithic assemblages was undertaken to examine the influence of glacial cycles on late Middle Pleistocene hominin technological strategies in the western Chinese Loess Plateau. The results show that while the Yangshang site is dominated by quartz-based core/flake assemblages typical of most Early Paleolithic sites in North China, the lithic assemblages provide evidence that different provisioning systems existed during the penultimate glaciation. We argue that these shifts reflect changes in land use and mobility that were tied to climate change. Our results suggest that theoretically informed statistical analyses of so-called unchanging and crude lithic technology can yield meaningful evidence for behavioral shifts.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2021

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