PALEOLITHIC ART MAGAZINE

ASIA




IN CHINA, LOWER PALEOLITHIC, THE ORIGIN OF THE WORKING OF THE THEET AND THE IVORY

During Asian archaeology conference in Hawaii, 2001, March, Lynne Schepartz, archaeologist at the University of Cincinatti, referred about her researches with other archeologists, inside the Panxian Dadong , immense cave ( southern China ), for five years.
They recently have found a great amount of rhino and stegodon molars , in a 3-foot-thick layer, what was a surprise, because these animals do not live in caves.
This cave was occuped by the humans for up to 300,000 years.
In the cave, no trace of degraded or dissolved bones.Only teeth, some about the size of a small apple.
Archeologists think that early man used the tooth as raw material for tools instead of stone, in this zone of poor quality for making tools.
The researchers found burnt and cut bone, with simple stone tools and five human teeth of which one flaked in order to shape a little scraper.
According to Dr. Shepartz , the Chinese site is the first to show that early humans used also animal teeth in order to make their tools. particularly, they used the junction between the rhino enamel and the inner part of the tooth , the most useful to flake and the most useful for cutting. Perhaps, these tools were also employed for cutting bamboo, very frequent in the zone , and for manufacturing other tools, for exemple some tools made with bamboo.


We add that , even if in this cave has not been found anthropomorphic or zoomorphic sculpture of the Paleolithic, made with these teeth, however, in these findings, we can see the origin of a use, that in China has had great development in every time, and that is the fabrication of sculptures and decorative objects in ivory and bone.

Source:English text, in , ABC.NEWS.com, with drawing, March 17,2001, "Tooth Tools Archaeologists Find Cave Full of Rhino Teeth", by Willow Lawson


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