The importance of this site cannot be underestimated because of the unusually diverse ethnic types of the skulls found there: the Upper Cave people were apparantly both polygamous and cosmopolitan.
18,000 years ago, in the same region of the "Peking Man", there also lived another primeval humankind. Their outlook was almost alike to modern men. Their bones were found in a cave on top of the Longgu hill; that's why they are called the "Upper Cave Man".
The Upper cave man used ground stone tools, but they knew how to polish and drill holes on stone, and they also knew how to make bone needles and the other similar instruments. They also made ornaments. The Upper cave man knew how to make fire by hand. Fishing, hunting and collecting were their major productive labor.
The social unit where the Upper cave man lived was a "clan" linked by genealogy. One clan had only several dozen persons descented from a common ancestor. They used common tools in collective labor, and shared foods among the members, and they lived together. Such a living unit is called "clan commune". Members of the clan relied on collective efforts to struggle against Nature. Human society was, by that time, in the "clan commune" stage of primitive society.
Upper Cave: Situated at the upper part of Dragon-bone Hill, hence the cave was so named. The northern part of the cave is close to the southern fissure of Peking Man Cave. The original entrance of Upper Cave is open to the north. The altitude of the cave is about 125 metres. The cave is about 13.5 metres long, 5.6 metres wide and composed of 4 parts: cave entrance, upper chamber, lower chamber and lower recess. It was discovered in 1930 during investigation of the border of the Peking Man Cave deposit and was excavated in 1933-34. The bottom layer of Upper Cave was directly deposited above the first layer of Peking Man Cave deposit.
Three well preserved skulls and a skull cap of Upper Cave Man were unearthed from the lower chamber. Some pelvic and femur bones were found nearby the skulls. All human bones represented about 10 individuals. Anthropologists have attributed Upper Cave Man to Late Homo sapiens. His absolute age is dated about 27 thousand years before present. On the left side of the skull of an elderly Homo sapiens, a perforated shell and perforated fox's canine were recovered. Animal fossils of entire skeletons were found and interpreted to be there after falling into natural traps. The deposits of Upper Cave are composed of pine tree loam and limestone breccia. The bottom earth is reddish and partly concretion. From 20 metres deep, about 860 cubic metres of deposits were removed at the time of excavation. There were 25 artifacts, a polished antler, a bone needle, 141 ornaments including 125 perforated animal teeth, three perforated shells, a perforated ovoid pebble, one perforated supra-orbital of fish, four bones perforated with transverse farrows, and 7 perforated stone beads. In addition to fish and amphibian fossils, 47 species of mammalian fossils were found. The geological age is of late stage of the Late Pleistocene.
The artifacts' industries of Peking Man can be divided into three stages. In the early industry stage, the artifacts are mostly middle to large sized. The small sized tools are very rare. The tools are mostly made of quartz, but important tools were made of cobbles (pebble) of sand stone and others. In the middle industry stage, anvil technique was in fact discarded with the replacement of bipolar technique as main flaking techniques. The use of quartz very much increased and the trend of smaller tool making became apparent. The large and heavy tools became rare. In the late stage, the tools became even smaller. The stone tools are of better quality. In this period, the quality of raw rock materials for tool making was greatly improved. As a result, fine-grained milky white, or semi-translucent quartz, had definitely increased in number.
[ie, they may not have had a lot of gemstones at the time, but they were definitely fond of the white quartz]
The astonishing fact is that of the three skulls uncovered in good condition, one male and two females, there are three ethnic groups represented that are today scattered literally from the polar regions to the equator. Weiderich described the male skull as "White" (It is generally like some of the oldest European CroMagnons of the contemporary Perigordian tradition) and the two female skulls as "Melanesian" and "Eskimoid", ie, Arctic Mongoloid. There is some indication of artificial cranial deformation on the skulls.
Upper Cave 101
The Upper Cave (Shandingdong) skeletons were excavated in 1933 and 1934, with the archaeological assemblage discussed by Pei (1935, 1939) and the human skeletal materials briefly described by Weidenreich (1939) and in more detail by Wu (1960, 1961). The fauna recovered from the lower chamber of the cave suggested to Pei that the deposits were of late Pleistocene age and this was confirmed by conventional radiocarbon dates on non- human bone (Wu and Wang 1985), as well as more recent AMS dates (Chen et al. 1989; Hedges et al. 1992; Hedges et al. 1988) . Dates now extend from 10,175 ± 360 BP (ZK-136-0-4) for the upper part of the cave to 33,200 ±2000 BP (OXA-190) for the basal layers. Unfortunately, as I have discussed previously (Brown 1992), the published accounts of the excavation contain insufficient information to be certain of the stratigraphic relationship between the human remains and the dated animal bones. Both Weidenreich (1939) and Pei (1935, 1939) argue that the human remains were part of intentional burials, with the skeletons subsequently disturbed and disarticulated by animal activity or erosion. It remains unclear whether the burials are contemporaneous with layer 4 or had been interred from a higher layer. Wu and Wang (1985) argue that the older dates from the Upper Cave are well below the areas of human occupation, which they place at around 10,000 BP, while (Chen et al. 1989; Hedges et al. 1992; Hedges et al. 1988) suggest 29-24 ka BP for the cultural layers.
Weidenreich (1939) believed that the Upper Cave skeletons provided the earliest evidence for the presence of modern humans in the East Asian region. What perplexed Weidenreich, however, was the variation between the three crania, 101, 102 and 103, and the absence of clearly defined East Asian skeletal morphology. When discussing the racial affinity of these crania 101 was considered to be a primitive Mongoloid, 102 a Melanesian and 103 an Eskimo. These conclusions, at best poorly supported, have been discussed in some detail by a number of authors, particularly in relation to the evolutionary history of East Asia (Coon 1962; Kaminga and Wright1988; Wolpoff et al. 1984; Wu 1960, 1961). Unfortunately, the original specimens, along with the Locality 1 Homo erectus materials, were lost in 1941 (Shapiro 1976) and can now only be studied through casts.
Of the three crania Upper Cave 101, the "old man", has been studied in more detail primarily due to its better preservation and clearly adult status. In comparison to modern East Asians the cranial vault is extremely long and low, with a receding frontal squama and marked angulation in the occipital region. The forehead is broad and the supercilliary region well developed. The nasal bones are pinched, with a high bridge, and the nose must have been more prominent than is common amongst living East Asians. The orbits are relatively low and rectangular, which is a common feature in terminal Pleistocene and Neolithic crania from many parts of the world. The lower border of the nasal aperture is gutted, which is customary amongst East Asians, Australian Aborigines and sub-Saharan Africans. There is moderate sub-nasal prognathism and the mandible has a prominent chin, slight gonial eversion, trace of a mandibular torus and a broad ramus. Weidenreich (1939) did not record dental dimensions and the moderately worn teeth have not been described in detail. All teeth are present and the arch is well spaced, without malocclusion. Comparison of tooth wear rates with known age hunter gatherers suggest that Upper Cave 101 was probably in his late 30's when he died and not an "old man" by today's standards
To what extent the oro-facial skeleton and cranial vault of Upper Cave 101 contains either "proto-Mongoloid" or East Asian anatomical characteristics has been the subject of some debate (Kaminga and Wright 1988; Wolpoff et al. 1984; Neves and Pucciarelli 1998). Living East Asians and Native Americans have a facial skeleton characterised by great facial height, a tall nasal aperture, high orbits, limited overall prognathism but often marked subnasal prognathism, only moderate bi-frontal breadth but a relatively broad mid-facial region. The nasal bones are generally flattened rather than pinched, the anterolateral surface of the frontal processes of the malars are rotated forwards and the inferior half of the external surface of the malars tend to be orientated upwards, rather than perpendicular. This suite of features are also found in the early Neolithic sites of Baoji (Yan et al. 1960) and Huaxian (Yan 1962) but they are not a feature of Upper Cave 101.Turner (1992) has argued that his Sinodont pattern was "probably present in the late Pleistocene north China Upper cave crania" (:145), however, it is unlikely that the majority of his dental traits can be reliably scored on the Upper Cave casts. Neves and Pucciarelli (1998) argue that not only are "Mongoloid" morphological features not present in Upper Cave 101, they are not present in South Ameican paleoindian crania either. They conclude that East Asian morphological features evolved in the Old World after the initial migration to the Americas. I think that this is supported by what is currently known from the Paleolthic and Neolithic skeletal assemblages from China (Brown 1999). People with a distinctive East Asian appearance do not appear until the Neolithic period at sites like Baoji at around 7000 years BP.
[References are at the end of this posting]
There is some suggestion that one of the females from the Upper Cave is similar to the short females from Minatogawa, Okinawa, a site that would be about contemporary with the Upper Cave remains.
The Minatogawa 1 male skeleton was found in 1970 at the Minatogawa limestone quarry on Okinawa (Suzuki and Hanihara 1982). Three female skeletons, in varying states of preservation, and assorted other fragments were also recovered. The Minatogawa skeletons have been described in detail in Suzuki and Hanihara (1982), with Suzuki (1982) describing the crania. Additional comparative information can be found in Baba and Nerasaki (1991). The Minatogawa 1 cranium is not as complete as Liujiang and Upper Cave 101, particularly in the basi-cranium, facial skeleton and temporal regions (Brown In Press). Several of the dimensions in the table below had to be estimated.
Unlike Liujiang and Upper Cave there does not appear to have been any concern over the reliability of the dating of Minatogawa. Radiocarbon dates of 18,250 ±650 to 16,600 ±300 years BP were obtained from charcoal inside the fissure (Kobayashi et al. 1974). Fluorine content of human and non-human bones within the site suggested that they were contemporaneous (Matsu'ura 1982). Assuming that the site was well stratified, that the carbon dates do bracket the skeletons and that the skeletons were not intrusive, then Minatogawa remains do have a strong claim to being the earliest modern human skeletons in East Asia (Brown In Press). [Oldest that can be reliably dated, that is, DD]
The Minatogawa 1 skeleton is that of a relatively short person, approximately 153 cm tall (Baba and Nerasaki 1991), and the cranium is correspondingly small but robust for its size. Minatogawa's vault is both higher and broader relative to cranial length than Liujiang and Upper Cave 101 (Brown In Press). Maximum cranial breadth is located in a relatively inferior position, just above the squamous suture, and there is marked post-orbital constriction. The glabella region is inflated and the nasal root depressed, with nasal bones that appear to be pinched. Facial breadth, both bi-frontal and bi-maxillary (estimates) exceeds Liujiang and Upper Cave 101, but the face is extremely short for its breadth. The orbits are low and rectangular in shape. To some degree overall facial morphology is similar to Liujiang, however, the malars in Minatogawa have a more antero-lateral orientation. Areas of masticatory and neck muscle attachment are quite rugose and the chin region of the mandible is not prominent. It is unfortunate that the maxillae, nasal and sub-nasal regions are damaged in Minatogawa 1. Apart from the orientation of the malars there is little in the remaining cranio-facial morphology of Minatogawa 1 that is shared with Neolithic and modern East Asians (Brown In Press).
Minatogawa 1 skeleton (photograph © National Science Museum, Tokyo).
That one of the female skulls at the Upper Cave was an Arctic Mongolid is not so strange, it would be the one that would have been expected at that place in the Late Pleistocene. However the full development of Mongoloid features seems to have been a very recent development: certainly at the Upper Cave and at the earliest Neolithic sites they are very uncommon.
There remains some concern that some of the nephrite jade sculptures coming on the international market are fakes. In this case I can only go on the information provided by the sellers, who say that when the items were procured, the former owners had certified them as authentic.
|Papua New Guinea Shaman's Headdress|
|Gloria Swanson, Movie Vamp, 1919|
Headdress is about the right idea for a
High Priestess of Sundaland/Lemuria
[References for Upper Cave 101]
REFERENCESBrown, P. 1992. Recent human evolution in East Asia and Australasia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London, Series B 337:235-242.
Brown, P. 1998. The first Mongoloids: another look at Upper Cave 101, Liujiang and Minatogawa 1. Acta Anthropologica Sinica 17 (4):255-275.
Brown, P. 1999. The first modern East Asians. In K. Omoto (ed.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Origins of the Japanese, pp 105-124. International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto.
Chen, T., Hedges, R. E. M. and Yuan, Z. 1989. Accelerator radiocarbon dating for the Upper Cave of Zhoukoudian. Acta Anthropologica Sinica 8:216-221.
Coon, C. S. 1962. The Origin of Races. Knopf, New York.
Hedges, R. E. M., Housley, R. A., Bronk, C. R. and Van Klinken, G. J. 1992. Radiocarbon dates from the Oxford AMS system: Archaeometry Datelist 14. Archaeometry 34:141-159.
Hedges, R. E. M., Housley, R. A., Law, I. A., Perry, C. and Hendy, E. 1988. Radiocarbon Dates from the Oxford AMS System: Archaeometry Datelist 8. Archaeometry 30:291-305.
Kamminga, J. and Wright, R. V. S. 1988. The Upper Cave at Zhoukoudian and the origins of the Mongoloids. Journal of Human Evolution 17:739-767.
Neves, W. and Pucciarelli, H. 1998. The Zhoukoudian Upper Cave skull 101 as seen from the Americas. Journal of Human Evolution 34: 219-222.
Pei, W. 1935. A preliminary report on the Late Palaeolithic Cave of Choukoutien. Bulletin of the Geological Society of China 13: 327-358.
Pei, W. 1939. On the Upper Cave Industry. Palaeontologica Sinica D9: 1-141.
Shapiro, H. L. 1976. Peking Man. George Allen and Unwin, London.
Turner, C. G. 1992. The dental bridge between Australia and Asia: following Macintosh into the East Asian hearth of humanity. Archaeology in Oceania 27:120-127.
Weidenreich, F. 1939. On the earliest representatives of modern mankind recovered on the soil of East Asia. Bulletin of the Natural History Society of Peking 13:161-174.
Wolpoff, M. H., Wu, X. and Thorne, A. G. 1984. Modern Homo sapiens origins: a general theory of hominid evolution involving the fossil evidence from east Asia. In F. H. Smith and F. Spencer (eds.), The origins of modern humans, pp. 411-484. Alan. R. Liss, New York.
Wu, X. 1960. On the racial type of Upper Cave man of Choukoutien. Gu Jizhuidongwu yu Gu Renlei 2:141-149.
Wu, X. 1961. Study of the Upper Cave Man of Choukoutien. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 3:181 211.
Wu, X. 1988. The relationship between Upper Palaeolithic human fossils of China and Japan. Acta Anthropologica Sinica 7:235-238.
Wu, X. 1990. The evolution of humankind in China. Acta Anthropologica Sinica 9:312-322.
Wu, X. 1992. The origin and dispersal of anatomically modern humans in East and Southeast Asia. In T. Akazawa, K. Aoki and T. Kimura (eds) The evolution and dispersal of modern humans in Asia, 373-378. Hokusen-sha, Tokyo.
Wu, X. and Wang, L. 1985. Chronology in Chinese Palaeoanthropology. In R. Wu and J. W. Olsen (eds.), Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology in the People's Republic of China, pp. 29-68. Academic Press, London.
Wu, X. and Wu, M. 1985. Early Homo sapiens in China. In R. Wu and J. W. Olsen (eds.), Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology in the People's Republic of China, pp. 91 105. Academic Press, London.
Wu, X. and Zhang, Z. 1985. Homo sapiens remains from Late Palaeolithic and Neolithic China. In R. Wu and J. W. Olsen, Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology in the People's Republic of China, pp. 107-133. Academic Press, London.
Yan, Y. 1962. A study of the Neolithic human skeletons from Huaxian, Shaanxi. Acta Archaeologica Sinica 2:85-104.
Yan, Y., Liu, C. and Gu, Y. 1960. Study of the Neolithic human skeletons from the Baoji site, Shaanxi. Gu Jizhuidongwu yu Gu Renlei 2:33-43.