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TRIAL DIGGINGS ON THE PALAEOLITHIC CAVE DEPOSITS AT HSIAONANHAI IN ANYANG,HONAN PROVINCE

An Chih-min  
In the spring of 1960, workers in a stone quarry came across the remains of a cave dwelling in the limestone hills of Hsiaonanhai about thirty kilometres southwest of the City of Anyang, Honan Province. The ceiling of the cave had already collapsed, making it difficult to determine the location of its entrance and the extent of the deposits. The trial diggings were carried out in an area of a little over ten square metres, where the deposits were exposed on the surface. The deposits, attaining a depth of 4.7 metres, may be divided into seven layers. Except for the top layer which consists of aeolian deposits, the other six layers have each yielded a varying amount of animal fossils and artifacts. Judging by the fossils, the deposits date from the late Pleistocene.The artifacts unearthed amount to a total of 7,078 pieces and include such types as the nodule, nucleus and flake. Most of them are made of chert but there are also some quartz implements and a few specimens of flint, chalcedony or limestone. The majority consist of well shaped chert flakes made through direct flaking. The quartz flakes are, however, made through crushing. The implements are usually rather small and include such types as the nucleus, chopper, flake, point and scraper. Some of them bear a close resemblance to microliths while the majority are characterized by some distinctive features. For instance, the small flakes (Figure 6:1-10; Plates Ⅲ, 1-6 and V, 6-9) all attest to a remarkable flaking technique while the points are somewhat similar to those found at other late Palaeolithic sites in China. There are also some cylindrical nuclei which may have been used as chisels (Figure 3,5-10; Plater Ⅱ, 4-6 and 8 and V, 1-2), long scrapers with curved backs (Figure 9,1-10; Plates Ⅲ, 18-24 and Ⅳ, 1-3) and triangular complex scrapers with curved backs(Figure 10:9,11,12;and Plate IV, 6, 11 and 12), all peculiar to this site. All this has given rise to the name Hsiaonanhai Culture.Some elements of this culture can be traced back to the Palaeolithic culture of Choukoutien and bear a certain resemblance to the so-called Ordos Culture. The Hsiaonanhai site probably represents one of the late Palaeolithic cultures of north China. The fact that some of its implements seem to have been connected with the microlithic cultures of a later date also suggests that it may have been a forerunner of the Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures in China. The discovery of the Hsiaonanhai Culture is, therefore, of much value in the classification of the Palaeolithic cultures of China and the study of their mutual relationships.
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