A puzzling mix of artifacts raises questions about Homo sapiens’ travels to China

More than half a century ago, Chinese researchers uncovered thousands of pieces of an ancient cultural puzzle.

Their summertime excavation about halfway up a hill overlooking northern China’s Shiyu River unearthed sharp-edged flakes that had been rapidly pounded off small rocks, a common Stone Age practice in the region. Yet the same sediment also contained more complicated types of stone implements.

Another unexpected discovery, part of a round piece of graphite with a hole in its center, resembled a large button. A chiseled bone, possibly a tool, also turned up, along with the bones of horses, gazelles and other animals.

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