Modern Humans and China

22 Aug 2012

At ... the archaeological record of Europe and Asia between 45,000 and 25,000 years ago shows a lot of changes - and movements. The Upper Palaeolithic is thought to mark the appearance of modern human. In east Asia the Chinese Palaeolithic was dominated by core and flake tool industries and Levallois Middle Stone Age stone tool assemblages appear late in the record - almost at the end of the Middle Stone Age (becoming the earliest sequence of the Upper Palaeolithic). A paper in Journal of Archaeological Science concerns the site of Shuidonggou, in northern China, which was occupied through the Upper Palaeolithic until as late as the Neolithic. Occupation is dated between 32,000 and 6000 years ago but there were two peaks - one between 32 to 24 thousand years ago, and another between 13 to 11 thousand years ago (roughly contemporary the Younger Dryas).

At ... a skull dating back 63 thousand years ago, found in Laos, is said to be the oldest modern human yet known in SE Asia. Published in PNAS the find comes from a cave in a mountainous area. The skull also appears to have been washed into the cave - so it is a chance find.