Beijing's First Settlers Unearthed

BEIJING--Chinese scientists here have unearthed the first evidence of prehistoric human activity in present-day Beijing. The discovery of stone tools and other artifacts, estimated to be 20,000 years old, is expected to offer clues to how early human settlers populated the vast North China Plain.

A team led by anthropologist Li Chaorong of Beijing's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and Yu Jincheng, deputy director of the Beijing Historic Relics Research Center, have spent the past month digging up flints, charred animal bone fragments, and charcoal from a 150-square-meter site in Beijing's main business district. The experts were alerted to the hoard by a doctoral student at Beijing University who had found fossilized animal bones and evidence of an ancient fire--a strip of carbon granules--at the construction site for an office complex called "Dongfang Square" on Wangfujing Street.

Chaorong and Jincheng's team has so far gleaned from the find that these early citizens of Beijing, believed to be 600,000 to 700,000 years old, roasted game and knew how to make and use stone implements for cutting and chopping.

Posted in Paleontology, Archaeology