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PLoS One. 2015 Feb 23;10(2):e0118315. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118315. eCollection 2015.

26Al/10Be burial dating of Xujiayao-Houjiayao site in Nihewan Basin, northern China.

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College of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China.
College of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China; Department of Natural Science, Zhangjiakou University, Zhangjiakou, China.
Hebei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics, Shijiazhuang, China.
Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States of America.


The Xujiayao-Houjiayao site in Nihewan Basin is among the most important Paleolithic sites in China for having provided a rich collection of hominin and mammalian fossils and lithic artifacts. Based on biostratigraphical correlation and exploratory results from a variety of dating methods, the site has been widely accepted as early Upper Pleistocene in time. However, more recent paleomagnetic analyses assigned a much older age of ∼500 ka (thousand years). This paper reports the application of 26Al/10Be burial dating as an independent check. Two quartz samples from a lower cultural horizon give a weighted mean age of 0.24 ± 0.05 Ma (million years, 1σ). The site is thus younger than 340 ka at 95% confidence, which is at variance with the previous paleomagnetic results. On the other hand, our result suggests an age of older than 140 ka for the site's lower cultural deposits, which is consistent with recent post-infrared infrared stimulated luminescence (pIR-IRSL) dating at 160-220 ka.

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