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Merungdap cave makes list of China's top 10 achaeological news of 2023

By Palden Nyima and Daqiong in Lhasa | | Updated: 2023-12-26 21:32
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The China Media Group revealed China's top 10 archaeological news of 2023 on Sunday; among the prestigious list, the Merungdap Cave site, located in Ge'gyai county, Ngari prefecture of the Xizang autonomous region, stood out as a remarkable discovery.

This groundbreaking finding marks the first prehistoric human cave in the heartland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Archaeologists unearthed over 10,000 artifacts from various periods at the site, proving that humans inhabited the region as early as approximately 40,000 years ago.

This significant prehistoric cave site is situated at an altitude of around 4,600 meters and offers valuable insights into ancient human activities.

The excavation efforts of this site were carried out through a collaborative initiative between the region's institute of cultural relics protection and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology with the Chinese Academy of Sciences between 2018 and 2020. Three consecutive excavation campaigns were conducted at Cave No. 1 of the site.

The 2021 excavation uncovered even older cultural layers, including stone cores made of black horn shale, stone tools, and several animal bones. These findings indicate that ancient humans utilized the site in a history that extends further back and exhibits more complexity than previously known.

This discovery holds immense significance as it represents the first large-scale cave site found in the western part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The excavation of this site fills a gap in the knowledge of cave sites in Xizang. It contributes to our understanding of prehistoric archaeology, making it a groundbreaking development in the region and the broader Qinghai-Tibet Plateau archaeology.

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