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Micromorphology and Site Formation Processes at Xianrendong Cave (South China): A Preliminary Analysis of the Late Upper Palaeolithic Layers.

Author(s): Paul Goldberg ; Ilaria Patania ; Chi Zhang ; Xiaohong Wu ; Ofer Bar-Yosef

Year: 2015

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Summary

Xianrendong (Jiangxi Province) is one of only two Upper Palaeolithic sites in South China that have been systematically sampled for radiocarbon dating coupled with micromorphological analysis. The cave produced the earliest known pottery sherds (20,000 cal BP), together with a typical cobble tool industry. We present a micromorphological analysis of the formation processes of the Xianrendong deposits, investigating both the stratigraphic integrity of the pottery-containing contexts and the nature of the anthropogenic inputs. Results show a differentiation in spatial use within the cave and negligible disturbances within the deposits. A dumping area was identified in the eastern side of the cave, while the western side contains alluvial sediments. This research is part of a wider study involving the early pottery site of Yuchanyan (18,000 cal BP) and aims to reconstruct Late Upper Palaeolithic activities at these sites with the earliest pottery yet found. We also demonstrate the advantages of the systematic use of geoarchaeological methods (e.g., micromorphology, FTIR, and XRF) in the study of the Chinese Upper Palaeolithic.

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Micromorphology and Site Formation Processes at Xianrendong Cave (South China): A Preliminary Analysis of the Late Upper Palaeolithic Layers.. Ilaria Patania, Paul Goldberg, Xiaohong Wu, Chi Zhang, Ofer Bar-Yosef. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397731)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America