Chinese archeologists have found a number of stoneware artifacts indicating prehistoric man may have lived on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau 30,000 years ago.
Xu Xinguo, director of the Qinghai Archeology Research Institute, said about 30 stoneware pieces from the microlithic period have been found in the Kunlun Mountains area, 120 kilometers north of Golmud, a city in Qinghai province, northwest China.
The microlithic period, 10,000 to 30,000 years ago, is noted for sharp, thin stoneware such as stone knives. The newly found objects resemble those already found in Tibet and Inner Mongolia.
"This shows the cultural backgrounds of the findings in Qinghai, Tibet and Inner Mongolia are connected in some way," Xu said. "Similar stoneware pieces could be found deep in the stratum in later expeditions this year, we would have strong evidence that our ancestors lived here 10,000 to 30,000 years ago and the region around the Kunlun Mountains is a major source of the Chinese civilization."
Dr. Gao Xing, from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said, "The discovery is important. If it leads to further discoveries in the stratum, it could be a milestone in China's archeological history."
Gao said discoveries from the same period in the area are rare. An expedition composed of Chinese and American experts found microlithic cultural relics in the area some years ago, but did not excavate.
The expedition led by Xu Xinguo started on May 23 from Golmud. They combed the Kunlun Mountains area where a railway connecting Qinghai and Tibet will soon run through, and had the findings.
The Kunlun Mountains, which run 2,500 kilometers from east to west and rise 5,000 meters above sea level, are the source of many ancient Chinese legends and stories.
(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2002)