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November 25, 2021

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Ivory shovel dug up after 99,000 years

Archaeologists have unearthed an ivory shovel dating back around 99,000 years at a paleolithic site in east China’s Shandong Province, which is believed to be one of the earliest grinding bone tools found in China.

Li Gang, a researcher of the provincial cultural relics and archaeological institute, said the strata of the site discovered in Yishui County is nearly eight meters thick. Eight cultural layers were uncovered and more than 5,000 pieces of stone artifacts, bone, tooth and horn products as well as animal fossils were excavated in the site.

It is rare worldwide to have discovered ivory relics used for making tools around 100,000 years ago.

Li said the ivory shovel and the soil of the same layer from the site were dated with both the uranium series method and photoluminescence method. The dating data show they are 99,000 and 104,000 years old, respectively.

The artifacts are significant to the study on the evolution of ancient humans in China and East Asia.


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