The Nihewan Site, known for excavations with finds dating back to 2 million years ago which have challenged the theory that Africa was the sole origin of modern humanity, is applying to be included in the tentative list of China's World Cultural Heritage Sites by the National Cultural Heritage Administration, according to media reports.
The list showcases cultural sites that are waiting for approval to join the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
First discovered in 1921, Nihewan is internationally known for the discovery of stone tools and ancient animals and plant fossils from the Quaternary Period, which started around 2.58 million years ago, to the present. It is the only relic site comparable to the Olduvai Gorge in eastern Africa, known as "the cradle of mankind," and challenges the theory that Africa is the sole origin of human ancestors.
Over 300 Paleolithic-era sites have been unearthed, with more than 50 sites dating back over 1 million years, yielding tens of thousands of ancient human fossils, animal fossils, and various stone tools.
Among the findings, the excavation at the Majuangou site stands out as the oldest confirmed ancient human cultural site to date, as an excavated scraper found in an elephant's rib on the site pushed the estimated origin of Asia's civilization back about 2 million years, offering crucial evidence of the earliest human presence in Northeast Asia.
The site provides concrete evidence for multiple theories regarding the origins of humanity worldwide and is essential for reconstructing the process of human evolution, unveiling the prehistory of the early ancestors of China, and tracing the roots of Chinese civilization over a long history, media reported.
The decision to apply for World Cultural Heritage status for Nihewan Site was announced during the first Archaeological Science Conference held in Yangyuan over the weekend. The conference, jointly organized by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the National Center for Archaeology, the Hebei Culture Relics Bureau, and China Science Publishing and Media Ltd., brought together representatives from more than 70 archaeological research and publishing institutions and experts from universities across the nation.
During the conference, scholars and experts engaged in group discussions on future development issues concerning archaeological disciplines, including human origins, the origins of civilization, the integration of crafts and technology, and deep-sea archaeology, according to media reports.