An artifact unearthed in north China may suggest that complex language systems may have existed in the area as early as 30,000 years ago. The item is a stone engraved with a series of lines deliberately carved by human hands. Dr. Fei Peng, a postgraduate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences had this to say concerning the stone, as well as an ostrich egg bead also discovered at the site:
“Furthermore, creation of such an engraved object may indicate the possible existence of complex communicative systems such as language,” he said.
“In addition to the engraved stone artifact, one ostrich egg bead was unearthed from Locality 1. The lithic assemblage of this locality includes blade production and elongated tool blanks. The blade technology was probably introduced from the Altai region of Russian Siberia, according to comparison between lithic assemblages. The flake technology is typical of the Late Paleolithic in north China.”
“So, who created the ostrich beads and incisions? Were they made by the populations who migrated from the west, such as from the Altai region? Or were they the result of acculturation, such that aborigines in north China learned this kind of technology from exogenous populations? Or were they created solely by the local people because of technological renovation or cognitive advancement?”
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