The paleolithic site of Longwangchan in the middle Yellow River, China: Chronology, paleoenvironment and implications

Jia Fu Zhang*, Xiao Qing Wang, Wei Li Qiu, Gideon Shelach, Gang Hu, Xiao Fu, Mao Guo Zhuang, Li Ping Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The Longwangchan Paleolithic site, situated on the Yellow River terraces in the Hukou area, Shaanxi province, China, was found in 2003-2004, and two areas (Localities 1 and 2) of the site were excavated in 2005-2008. Abundant stone artifacts including microliths, a grinding stone fragment and a shovel, with some animal bones and shells, were recovered from Locality 1. In this study, the cultural deposits from Locality 1 were dated using radiocarbon and optical dating techniques, and the sediment properties of the deposits were analyzed. The results show that the age of the deposits ranges from 29 to 21 ka and most of them were deposited between 25 ka and 29 ka. This indicates that corresponds to late Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3 and early MIS 2. During the human occupation period, the climate in this area became colder and drier. Sediments from beds where the grinding slab and the shovel were found were dated to ∼25 ka, which is the oldest among the grinding stones found in China. The microliths and the grinding stone are important evidence for an incipient socio-economic process that eventually led to the regional transition from hunting-foraging to farming.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1537-1550
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, No. 40871009 ). We also thank Prof. Wei-Wen Huang for discussion. We appreciate the helpful comments provided by the two anonymous reviewers.


  • Beginning of agriculture
  • Grinding stone
  • Longwangchan paleolithic site
  • Microliths
  • Optical dating
  • Paleoenvironment
  • Radiocarbon dating


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