Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian is a Pleistocene hominid site on the North China Plain. It lies about 42 km southwest of Beijing and is at the juncture of the North China Plain and the Yanshan Mountains. Adequate water supplies and natural limestone caves in this area provided an optimal survival environment for early humans.
Scientific work at the site is still under way. So far, ancient human fossils, cultural remains and animal fossils from 23 localities within the site dating from 5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago have been discovered by scientists. These include the remains of Homo erectus pekinensis, who lived in the Middle Pleistocene (700,000 to 200,000 years ago), archaic Homo sapiens of about 200,000-100,000 years ago and Homo sapiens sapiens dating back to 30,000 years ago. At the same time, fossils of hundreds of animal species, over 100,000 pieces of stone tools and evidence (including hearths, ash deposits and burnt bones) of Peking Man using fire have been discovered.
The discovery of hominid remains at Zhoukoudian and subsequent research in the 1920s and 1930s excited universal interest, overthrowing the chronology of human history that had been generally accepted up to that time. The excavations and scientific work at the Zhoukoudian site are thus of significant value in the history of world archaeology, and have played an important role in the world history of science.
As the site of significant hominid remains discovered in the Asian continent demonstrating an evolutionary cultural sequence, Zhoukoudian is of major importance within the worldwide context. It is not only an exceptional reminder of the prehistoric human societies of the Asian continent, but also illustrates the process of human evolution, and is of significant value in the research and reconstruction of early human history.