Direct vs indirect dating archaeology
Chinese Late Paleolithic sites such as Yuchanyan are rich in terrestrial and aquatic fauna, including deer, boar, birds, tortoises, fish, and various small mammals.
Rice phytoliths and husks have been identified at Xianrendong, Diaotonghuan, and Yuchanyan, and several studies have attempted to differentiate wild and domestic species or to suggest an incipient stage of cultivation (4, 16, 17).
The small collection of lithic artifacts recovered was recently recorded and found to reflect the same tool categories, dominated by core-choppers and retouched flakes, known from the first excavations.
A few bone and shell tools were reported previously (16).
Charcoal and bone collagen samples located above and below one of the fragments produced dates of around 18,000.
These ceramic potsherds therefore provide some of the earliest evidence for pottery making in China.
While similarly well-preserved Late Pleistocene cave sites are found in other regions of the world, the cave sites in this region of South China (as well as several sites in neighboring Japan and the Russian Far East) are unique due to the presence of ceramic vessels in their otherwise Late Paleolithic assemblages.