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HUMAN CULTURAL REMAINS AND ADAPTATION STRATEGIES IN THE TIBETAN PLATEAU MARGIN REGION IN THE LATE PLEISTOCENE

Gao Xing ①② Zhou Zhenyu ①③ Guan Ying ①③ ①Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100044;②Laboratory of Human Evolution and Environmental Dynamics,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100044;③Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049)  
Initial archaeological explorations of the early 1980s in the Tibetan Plateau district suggested the presence of artifacts of great antiquity in the region.Recently,more systematic archaeological investigation undertaken by a Sino-US team at the Tibetan Plateau margin has resulted in the discovery of a series of Paleolithic sites.A large number of archeological remains,such as stone artifacts,hearth,charcoals,burnt pebbles,and broken animal bones have been unearthed.Such discoveries indicate that the first peopling in the region might occur slightly before 30kaB.P.in small numbers.Such initial explorers almost disappeared from the region during the LGM and made a strong return after 15kaB.P.with much larger population size and more sophisticated tool-kit. Archeological research at these sites has provided evidence to understanding both the timing and processes responsible for human colonization of the Tibetan Plateau margin region.The pattern of Late Pleistocene paleo-climatic fluctuations on the Tibetan Plateau is briefly consistent with the global glacial-interglacial sequence,which put great impact on ancient human migration and adaptation in the region. Flake industry,blade industry,and microblade industry are the main industries in the Tibetan Plateau margin region during Late Pleistocene.These industries were suitable for the hunter-gather adaptation in the harsh plateau environment.Lithic assemblage consisted of cores,microblade cores,flakes,blades,microblades,chunks,and retouched tools.The retouched tools are dominated by light-duty tools,such as scrapers.The tool kits are efficient for hunting and scavenging in the grassland areas and convenient to be carried. Most of the sites in the Tibetan Plateau margin region represent short-term foraging camps.Foragers occupying these sites were found to be highly mobile.They moved from place to place frequently in order to exploit food resources that spread sporadically on the landscape,and they relied heavily on camp-fire to keep warm and to process food.The colonization of such harsh area might be driven by a process of adaptive radiation.
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