Raw Material Selection and Evidence for Rhinoceros Tooth Tools at Dadong Cave, Southern China

By Miller-Antonio, S.; Schepartz, L. A. et al. | Antiquity, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Raw Material Selection and Evidence for Rhinoceros Tooth Tools at Dadong Cave, Southern China


Miller-Antonio, S., Schepartz, L. A., Bakken, D., Antiquity


Standardization in tool form is a highly variable feature of Chinese Palaeolithic assemblages. For example, the site of Guanyindong in Guizhou province and the Bose Basin localities in Guangxi (FIGURE 1) are both assigned to the Lower Palaeolithic (Li 1989) but they have dramatically different lithic assemblage,;. The Guanyindong assemblage is dominated by scrapers and small flaked tools (Zhang 1985; Leng 1992), while the Bose lithics are primarily very large bifacially flaked cobbles (Huang 1987; Hou et al. 2000). Do these differences represent regional distinctions in lithic traditions or differences in subsistence strategies? Does the variation exist because Asian tool kits were not predominantly lithic based?

[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The technological nature of the Chinese Palaeolithic is largely tied to issues of raw material availability and the constraints that may be imposed by inferior flaking properties of some rock types. Researchers (Boriskovskii 1968; Hutterer 1977; 1988; Pope 1989) have suggested that versatile non-lithic resources, such as bone, bamboo and hardwoods, were used to supplement lithic tool kits in East and Southeast Asia. Bamboo, for example, could furnish flakes, cooking and food storage containers, spears, traps and rope (Pope 1989; Schick & Toth 1993). The lack of fossilized bamboo makes this hypothesis difficult to test. However, there is archaeological evidence for tools made of other non-lithic materials. Harrisson & Medway (1962) report tools made of turtle carapace and pig tusk from Niah Great Cave (about 40,000 BP ??OK/ we don't like `ka') in Borneo. Sohn (1988) reports the modification of bone at the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic Korean locality of Yonggul (Chommal) cave. The argument has been made for bone and antler use at Zhoukoudian (Pei 1938; Breuil 1939) and for worked bone from the Lower Palaeolithic localities of Donggutuo (Wei 1985) and Xujiayao (Jia & Ho 1990). Some authors maintain that the objective of the Asian chopper/chopping tool tradition was principally to produce stone flakes used to manufacture and maintain nonlithic tool kits (Hutterer 1988; Pope 1989), or that it may have developed as an adaptation to heavily forested environments (Watanabe 1985) where stone was difficult to locate and often of poor quality.

These general issues concerning raw material use are being investigated at Panxian Dadong, a middle Pleistocene cave site in Guizhou province. In this paper we propose that humans living in the cave supplemented their lithic tools with faunal raw material, specifically rhinoceros molars, that were selectively transported into the cave.

Panxian Dadong setting and environment

Dadong is a large karst cave located in a small valley on the western Guizhou Plateau (25[degrees]37'38" N, 104 [degrees] 44'E) (FIGURE 1). It is the middle cave in a series of three interconnecting caverns stacked within a 230-m high hill. The entrance is presently located 32.4 m above the valley floor as a result of recent uplift of the plateau. At the time of its prehistoric occupation, the entrance would have been closer to the valley floor and near the confluence of three small rivers that drained into the porous limestone of the lower cave.

The Pleistocene environment was mixed woodland, as indicated by the presence of water buffalo, musk deer, barking deer and rhinoceros. The occurrence of panda, orangutan and colobine monkeys (Pan & Yuan 1997) suggest some densely forested areas. This range of habitats is characteristic of montane environments with elevational diversity.

Dadong's 8000-sq. m main chamber contains deposits of bedded sandy travertines, clays, breccia, and large limestone blocks. The archaeological levels have stone tools in association with animal bone (Huang et al. 1995). Four human teeth were also discovered. In the 1996 and 1998 excavation seasons, 1215 artefacts (lithics 23. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Raw Material Selection and Evidence for Rhinoceros Tooth Tools at Dadong Cave, Southern China
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.