Optically stimulated luminescence dating of cave deposits at the Xiaogushan prehistoric site, northeastern China


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Publication Date

January 2010


The Xiaogushan cave site is one of the most important prehistoric sites in North China. The stone and bone artifacts found in the cave are similar to European contemporaneous artifacts. Cave deposits consist of five layers that have been dated from 46,353 ± 1179 to 4229 ± 135 cal. yr BP, using radiocarbon dating techniques on charcoal and bone samples collected from Layers 2–5. In this paper, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) techniques were applied to date six samples taken from Layers 1–3. The luminescence properties of the fine-grained and coarse-grained quartz extracts indicate that the materials are suitable for OSL dating using a single-aliquot regeneration-dose (SAR) protocol. The OSL ages obtained are broadly consistent with the stratigraphy and the associated calibrated radiocarbon ages. The dating results show that the cave was first occupied by humans about 70 ka. The human occupation of the cave may be related to climate change. An occupation hiatus is inferred to between ∼17 to ∼10 ka. The stone and bone artifacts found in Layers 2 and 3 may indicate the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transitions in the region.


OSL Dating, Radiocarbon Dating, Middle And Upper Paleolithic, Xiaogushan Cave

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Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 59, no. 5 (2010).