Paleolithic tools found in a cave in Southwest China are between 170,000 and 80,000 years old, modern dating has revealed, challenging the previously held idea that the items were imported from the west.
According to research released on Tuesday by Australia's University of Wollongong, the tools represent what archaeologists refer to as mode III in human's progression of stone tool development.
Mode III, or Levallois tools, are made from single flakes struck from previously prepared cores -- a more elaborate method than mode II, which involves primitive hand axes made primarily by hammering away flakes from stones to leave behind a deliberately shaped core.
Previously, archaeological records in China suggested a jump from mode II to the bladed tools of mode IV, leading to the suggestion that those more advanced techniques arrived from the west via migration.
However, analyses of 2,273 stone artefacts from China's Guanyindong Cave, revealed 45 examples of mode III craftsmanship which subsequent light-dating techniques placed at being 170,000 to 80,000 years old, or contemporary to mode III methodology in the west.
The findings suggest that either population changes or convergent technological evolution led to the Levallois tools being in China, bestowing overdue, yet well deserved credit on China's stone age innovators.