Archaeologists find prehistoric ‘Swiss Army Knife’ in cave in China

Rob Waugh
The tools were unearthed in China (University of Washington)

Archaeologists have found sophisticated carved stone tools in a site in South China – rewriting the ancient history of technology.

Researchers from the University of Washington believe that the carved tools – the ‘multi tool’ of the prehistoric world – emerged in China independently, much earlier than thought.

The tools, known as Levallois cores, are a sign of more advanced tool-making, and were used in Asia from 170,000 years ago, the researchers say.

They first emerged in Africa and Europe 300,000 years ago, but were previously believed not to have been used in East Asia until 30-40,000 years ago.

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The tools are created in a sequence of steps, and could be used to spear, slice, scrape and dig.

They’re more sophisticated than the simple oval-shaped stones used by earlier groups.

Ben Marwick of the University of Washington said, ‘It used to be thought that Levallois cores came to China relatively recently with modern humans.

‘Our work reveals the complexity and adaptability of people there that is equivalent to elsewhere in the world. It shows the diversity of the human experience.’

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