Corey Logan Johnson

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Davis, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10315

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Johnson, Corey (California, Davis, U. of) "Investigating a novel pattern of Lower Paleolithic technological development at Nihewan Basin, China"

Previous analyses of stone artifacts from Nihewan suggest that hominin populations in the region went from exclusively using unprepared core reduction methods for making improvised flake tools >1.2 Ma, to producing predetermined blade-like flakes from prismatic prepared cores ca. 1.1 Ma. These findings are quite notable as the earliest evidence for core preparation aimed at blade-like blank production has thus far been documented from late-Acheulean contexts, suggesting that Acheulean technological capacities may have been present in East Asia far earlier than previously thought, and fueling the debate as to their origins. Our preliminary results from studying recently excavated artifacts from Nihewan add to this debate by identifying additional contemporary methods of core preparation as well as various core-on-flake technological strategies. This project therefore aims to reexamine the details, extent, and frequency of these behaviors at three Nihewan sites using a techno-economic approach that reconstructs the degree of core preparation in detail, while measuring their economic parameters to further contextualize our reconstructions within ecological models of hominin stone artifact adaptive behavior. Our results will move us closer to understanding if the hominins at Nihewan were as techno-economically efficient as contemporary Acheulean hominins elsewhere, and if such technological behaviors were evolutionarily convergent.