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A critique of the Chinese ‘Middle Palaeolithic’

  • Xing Gao (a1) and Christopher J. Norton (a2)
Extract

The Chinese Palaeolithic has traditionally been divided into three distinct cultural periods: Lower, Middle, and Upper. Analysis of four stone tool criteria (raw material procurement, core reduction, retouch, and typology) to determine if a distinct Middle Palaeolithic stage existed in China suggests that very little change occurred in lithic technology between the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic. Accordingly, a two-stage progression is proposed: Early and Late Palaeolithic. The transition between these two cultural periods occurred with the development of more refined stone tool making techniques (e.g. introduction of blade and microblade technology) and the presence of other archaeological indicators of more modern human behaviour (e.g. presence of art and/or symbolism) (c. 30,000 years ago).

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