|Initial Upper Palaeolithic material culture by 45,000 years ago at Shiyu in northern China
|Shi-Xia Yang; Zhang, JF., Yue, JP. et al.
|Nature Ecology & Evolution
The geographic expansion of Homo sapiens populations into southeastern Europe occurred by ∼47,000 years ago (∼47 ka), marked by Initial Upper Palaeolithic (IUP) technology. H. sapiens was present in western Siberia by ∼45 ka, and IUP industries indicate early entries by ∼50 ka in the Russian Altai and 46–45 ka in northern Mongolia. H. sapiens was in northeastern Asia by ∼40 ka, with a single IUP site in China dating to 43–41 ka. Here we describe an IUP assemblage from Shiyu in northern China, dating to ∼45 ka. Shiyu contains a stone tool assemblage produced by Levallois and Volumetric Blade Reduction methods, the long-distance transfer of obsidian from sources in China and the Russian Far East (800–1,000 km away), increased hunting skills denoted by the selective culling of adult equids and the recovery of tanged and hafted projectile points with evidence of impact fractures, and the presence of a worked bone tool and a shaped graphite disc. Shiyu exhibits a set of advanced cultural behaviours, and together with the recovery of a now-lost human cranial bone, the record supports an expansion of H. sapiens into eastern Asia by about 45 ka.