The Shuidonggou site cluster in northern China contains 12 different early prehistoric sequences with great potential to cast light on the transition to Upper Palaeolithic behaviour in East Asia. Here researchers present the latest results from Locality 2, reporting seven occupation levels with hearths, animal bone and diverse industries. Although previously compared with European Upper Palaeolithic sequences, the new work proposes a different trajectory of development. Distinctive macroblade technology arrived in the area, possibly from Mongolia or Siberia, about 41000–34000 years ago. This industry subsequently disappeared, to be replaced by flake technologies.