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Microblade remains from the Xishahe site, North China and their implications for the origin of microblade technology in Northeast Asia

Guan, Ying, Wang, Xiaomin, Wang, Fagang, Olsen, John W., Pei, Shuwen, Zhou, Zhenyu, Gao, Xing
Quaternary international 2019
basins, climate change, rivers, terraces, China
Here, we discuss the earliest microblade sites in China and the development of microblade technology in greater Northeast Asia. The Xishahe site was discovered in Huliu River terrace deposits in the Nihewan Basin, North China. Chronometric dating indicates the site was first occupied ca. 29–28 ka cal BP, while the microblade remains date to about 27 ka cal BP. Xishahe has yielded some of the earliest radiocarbon dated microblade technology in China, and evidence suggests that its appearance and disappearance are positively correlated with climate change. The microblade technology identified at Xishahe is different from other, younger microblade sites in China, specifically those associated with the mature wedge-shaped core technique. Further, although the Xishahe microblade cores are well-shaped with platform preparation and could successfully produce parallel-sided flakes, the overall morphology of these cores was highly variable and lacked standardization. Obvious technological differences can be seen in microblade assemblages dating to periods before and after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ca. 24–18 ka cal BP).