China archeological team joins Kenya excavation

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A team of Chinese archaeologists left for Kenya on Sunday, on a two-month expedition to trace the origins of modern humans in East Africa.

The team will work with the National Museum of Kenya to excavate an area in Rift Valley Province, 300 kilometers from Nairobi, working on an area of 200 square meters on a site discovered in 2016.

East Africa is universally acknowledged as the cradle of humanity and has been a hot spot for the study of human evolution since the 1950s.

The team is composed of experts from the Henan provincial institute of cultural heritage and archaeology, Shandong University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences institute of vertebrate paleontology and paleoanthropology.

In the preliminary investigation of the site in Kenya conducted in April and May, 40 stone tools believed to be from the Paleolithic Sangoan Culture (200,000-300,000 years ago) were collected.

Establishing whether the Sangoan Culture had any relation to the origin of modern Chinese humans is one of the objectives of the excavation of the Chinese team, said Li Zhanyang, team leader and researcher with the Henan institute.

Li discovered 100,000-year-old human cranial fossils in 2007 and 2014 in Xuchang City, Henan Province.

This is China's first paleoanthropological study overseas. American paleoanthropologist Stanley Hambrose, who is involved in the Kenya archeological project, welcomed the collaboration.

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