The character of lithic industries in southwest China is still unclear due to the limited number of dated and well-studied sites reported. Although a diversity of prehistoric cultures in this geographic area has long been proposed, the term “cobble-tool industry” was often applied to different lithic assemblages which included tools made on cobbles or pebbles. However, this term loses its validity when exploring the diversity presented in the assemblages and renders it difficult to make comparative studies with neighboring industries in mainland Southeast Asia and southern China. Therefore we use the chaîne opératoire approach to distinguish the operational sequences that reveal the processes and objectives of lithic production and to construct uniform criteria for comparison between different lithic industries. Here we present the lithic assemblage of the Tangzigou open-air site (Yunnan Province, southwest China) from a technological perspective. We argue for an original technological solution to conduct subsistence tasks in this industry, because abundant bone tools are associated with the stone tools. Therefore Tangzigou may provide an ideal case to discuss the coexistence of organic and lithic tools within an industry which developed in a subtropical environment in southern China. The lithic industry of Tangzigou, though dominated by the concept of shaping (façonnage), was very different from those “Hoabinhian Assemblages” in the Lancang River valley (upper reach of the Mekong River) in western Yunnan, and thus it could be another argument supporting the diversity and originality of prehistoric cultures in Southwest China, and also possibly influence on the prehistory of the nearby region of mainland Southeast Asia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes