Monday, December 18, 2006

Protected Sites: Chuandong Site

The Chuandong Site is located on an isolated mountain, five kilometers west of Puding County, Guizhou Province.

The limestone cave was named Chuandong (through cave) due to its passage from the south end to the north end. Located 26 meters above ground, the cave was formed on the 87-meter-high mountainside and measures nine meters in height, 13 meters in width and 18 meters in length from the inside. First discovered in the autumn of 1978, the site was excavated by the Guizhou Museum team in May 1979. Over 100 relics were unearthed, including stone, bone and fossils. According to scientific studies, the site dates back over 10,000 years to the late Paleolithic Age.

In 1981 and 1983, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Science and the Guizhou Museum jointly carried out excavations at the site and unearthed over 10,000 old stone implements, such as axes, hammers and knives, including over 1,000 polished bone implements. Also discovered at the site was a large number of fossils of over 10 mammal species, such as deer, porcupine, bear and tiger, including fire sites. Moreover, the excavation team unearthed about 100 human fossils, including a complete skull, mandibles, thighbones, and teeth, etc.

The most representative relics discovered at the Chuandong Site are the polished bone implements, such as needles, mallets and shovels. So many bone implements, made in such varieties and with such high craftsmanship, are seldom seen in China. The relics, therefore, provide precious raw materials for the study of the type, use and craft of bone implements used during the Chinese Paleolithic period.

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