Zhoukoudian


Zhoukoudian
/joh"goh"dyahn"/, n.
1. the site of fossil-bearing caves near Peking, China, dating from the middle Pleistocene, in one of which were found the physical remains of Peking man together with stone tools and evidence of fire use.
2. a chopper and flake stone-tool industry of the middle Pleistocene found at this site.

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or Chou-k'ou-tien

Archaeological site some 26 mi (42 km) southwest of Beijing, China, where fossil remains of the extinct hominid Homo erectus have been found.

So-called Peking man was identified as a new fossil human by Canadian anthropologist Davidson Black in 1927 and variously classified as Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus before being assigned to H. erectus. Partial remains of about 40 individuals along with more than 100,000 artifacts have been uncovered, making Zhoukoudian one of the most important H. erectus sites in the world. Its strata date to 460,000–230,000 years ago. It was named a World Heritage site in 1987.

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▪ archaeological site, China
Wade-Giles  Chou-k'ou-tien 
  archaeological site near the village of Zhoukoudian, Beijing municipality, China, 26 miles (42 km) southwest of the central city. The site, including some four residential areas, has yielded the largest known collection of fossils of the extinct hominin Homo erectus—altogether some 40 incomplete skeletons, which are commonly known as the Peking man fossils. Remains of anatomically modern humans (H. sapiens (Homo sapiens)) have also been excavated there. The discoveries at Zhoukoudian have proved vital to advancing the study of human evolution.

 The hominin remains were found within a series of scree- and loess-filled clefts (inaccurately referred to as “caves”) in a limestone cliff. In 1921 the Swedish geologist and fossil hunter J. Gunnar Andersson (Andersson, Johan Gunnar) became intrigued by tales of “dragon bones” that local people found in the clefts and used for medicinal purposes. Andersson explored the clefts and discovered some quartz pieces that could have been used as early cutting tools. This discovery lent credence to his theory that the bones were actually human fossils. In 1927 the Canadian anthropologist Davidson Black (Black, Davidson) retrieved a hominin molar from the site. On the basis of that finding, he identified a previously unknown hominin group, which he named Sinanthropus pekinensis (i.e., Peking man). Large-scale excavations began in 1929.

 In the years that followed, archaeologists uncovered complete skulls, mandibles, teeth, leg bones, and other fossils from males and females of various ages. The specimens were eventually classified as H. erectus. Many of the fossil-bearing layers have been dated, and the results suggest that the site was first occupied more than 550,000 years ago and then used intermittently by H. erectus until perhaps 230,000 years ago. If these dates are correct, Zhoukoudian documents the relatively late survival of this species.

      Further discoveries at the site demonstrated that Peking man was fairly technologically sophisticated. Stone scrapers and choppers as well as several hand axes indicated that Peking man devised various tools for different tasks. Excavators also claimed to have uncovered ash deposits consisting of charred animal bones and stones indicating that Peking man had learned to use fire for lighting, cooking, and heating. This discovery resulted in a drastic revision of the date for the earliest human mastery of fire. A reanalysis of the site in 1998, however, revealed no evidence for hearths, ash, or charcoal and indicated that some of the “ash” layers were in fact water-laid sediments washed into the sites from the surrounding hillsides. The bones and stones were charred not by human activity but by lightning-induced fire.

      During World War II the more notable fossils were lost during an attempt to smuggle them out of China for safekeeping; they have never been recovered. Following the war, excavations resumed, and many more fragments of H. erectus were unearthed; however, some areas remain unexcavated. In 1987 Zhoukoudian was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. In 1995 concern over the deterioration of the clefts, parts of which were in danger of collapsing, led to the establishment of a joint UNESCO-China project aimed at preserving the site and encouraging investigations there.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Zhoukoudian —   [dʒɔʊkɔʊdiæn], Chou K outien, 40 km südwestlich von Peking gelegener Ort, in dessen Nähe im Löss von Kalkhöhlen seit 1927 altsteinzeitliche Kulturschichten ausgegraben wurden, darunter Reste des Pekingmenschen. In der »Oberen Höhle« wurden… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Zhoukoudian — Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian * UNESCO World Heritage Site Country …   Wikipedia

  • Zhoukoudian — Sitio del Hombre de Pekín en Zhoukoudian1 Patrimonio de la Humanidad Unesco Museo de Zhoukoudian (julio de 2004) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Zhoukoudian — Höhle von Zhoukoudian, Fundstelle des Peking Menschen (Aufnahme Juli 2004) Zhōukǒudiàn (chinesisch 周口店地区) oder Choukoutien oder Chou Kou Tien ist ein Stadtunterbezirk des Stadtbezirks Fangshan (房山区) der chinesischen Hauptstadt Peking. Er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Zhoukoudian — Site de l homme de Pékin à Zhoukoudian * Patrimo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zhoukoudian — Original name in latin Zhoukoudian Name in other language Chou k ou tien, Chou k’ou tien, Zhoukoudian, Zhoukoudian Zhen, zhou kou dian, zhou kou dian zhen State code CN Continent/City Asia/Shanghai longitude 39.68404 latitude 115.93465 altitude… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Zhoukoudian — o Chou k ou tien Sitio arqueológico ubicado a unos 42 km (26 mi) al sudoeste de Beijing, China, donde se han encontrado restos fósiles del homínido extinto Homo erectus. En 1927, el antropólogo canadiense Davidson Black identificó un nuevo fósil… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Zhoukoudian — /joh goh dyahn /, n. 1. the site of fossil bearing caves near Peking, China, dating from the middle Pleistocene, in one of which were found the physical remains of Peking man together with stone tools and evidence of fire use. 2. a chopper and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Zhoukoudian yizhi — Höhle von Zhoukoudian, Fundstelle des Peking Menschen (Aufnahme Juli 2004) Zhōukǒudiàn (chin. 周口店地区) oder Choukoutien oder Chou Kou Tien ist ein Stadtunterbezirk des Stadtbezirks Fangshan (房山区) der chinesischen Hauptstadt Peking. Er liegt etwa 42 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Site de l'homme de Pékin à Zhoukoudian — Zhoukoudian Musée de Zhoukoudian Zhoukoudian (en sinogrammes simplifiés 周口 …   Wikipédia en Français


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