History, Chronology and Techno-Typology of the Upper Paleolithic Sequence in the Shuidonggou Area, Northern China

Feng Li, Steven L. Kuhn, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Fu you Chen, Fei Peng, Xing Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The timing and behavioral markers of the Upper Paleolithic in different parts of the world are of great importance to research on modern human dispersals. The pattern of behavioral developments in the Upper Paleolithic in northern China differs in important ways from the patterns observed in West Eurasia, Africa, and South Asia. Shuidonggou (SDG), a cluster of Paleolithic sites in northern China, contains several of the most important Upper Paleolithic sites in the region. Various localities yield evidence of three major cultural components dated by 14C, uranium-series, and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) methods to between roughly 46 ka and 10 ka. The oldest component, blade assemblages with western Eurasian early Upper Paleolithic characteristics, appears to be intrusive from Siberia and/or Mongolia, beginning at least 41 ka (e.g., SDG 1 and SDG 9). Advanced core and flake assemblages may mark the appearance of an indigenous Late Paleolithic of North China beginning at around 33 ka (e.g., SDG 2 and SDG 8). Finally, around 10.5 ka, microblade technology arrived in the area (SDG 12), although we are not sure of its origins at present. Other typical Upper Paleolithic cultural remains, such as bone tools and body decorations, have been found at various localities in the SDG area as well (e.g., ostrich eggshell beads from SDG 2, 7, and 8). Information from this cluster of occupations increases our understanding of cultural variability, adaptation, and demographic dynamics of modern humans in Late Pleistocene northern Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-141
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of World Prehistory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019


  • Chronology
  • Late Pleistocene
  • Northern China
  • Shuidonggou
  • Techno-typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • General Arts and Humanities


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