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China’s Oldest-Known Bone Tools Analyzed

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

China Paleolithic bone tools BEIJING, CHINA—Seventeen bone tools recovered from Ma’anshan Cave in southern China have been analyzed by a team led by Gao Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Francesco d’Errico of the Université de Bordeaux. The oldest tools, from the cave’s Stratum 6, are three awls dated to about 35,000 years ago. Six spear points, awls, and a cutting tool were found in Stratum 5, and they are an estimated 34,000 years old. The youngest of the tools, from Stratum 3, include two types of barbed points that date to between 23,000 and 18,000 years old. All of the tools were crafted by scraping and grinding. The tools from strata 5 and 3 were also polished. “Ma’anshan Cave records the oldest formal bone tools from China, and amongst the oldest known evidence of indisputable barbed point manufacture outside Africa,” Zhang Shuangquan of the IVPP told Phys.org. “Change in the hunting toolkit between strata 5 and 3 may indicate a shift in prey preference from medium to small size mammals and fish, which needs to be verified by supplementary analyses,” he added. To read more, go to "An Opportunity for Early Humans in China."

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