In my opinion, there cannot be any unequivocal answer. In the Patjitan technocomplex in addition to handaxes, there are hand-adzes (3.59 %) and protohandaxes (8.06 %), which are typologically closer to handaxes than to choppers and chopping tools.


Despite his recognition of the bifacially worked tools in the Patjitan industry, H. Movius, was the first to notice the difference between the Paleolithic complexes of Southeast and East Asia from those in the rest of Eurasia. His reason is still a mystery to me. However, over the last 60 years, a large amount of new material has been accumulated, which allows distinguishing Paleolithic of East and Southeast Asia within the Eurasian Paleolithic. The criteria for doing this are somewhat different than those suggested by H. Movius. Starting from initial peopling of East and Southeast Asia about 1.8 – 1.3 Ma BP continuous development of the physical type of humans as well as human culture took place. In the given chronological interval, two migration waves from Africa to the east of Eurasia were recognized: the population with the Olduvai industry and that with the microindustry. Archaeological evidence from China Paleolithic sites illustrates this assumption most convincingly.



Bifacial tools of handaxe and cleaver types emerged in East Asia as a phenomenon of convergence rather than as a result of arrival of a new hominin population practicing the Acheulian culture (Derevianko, 2006 a, b; 2008). Repeated appearance and disappearance of bifacial tools in China throughout the period of nearly 1 Ma (the Lantian, Kehe and Dingcun industries among others) is related to changes in paleoecological conditions and the adoption of new adaptive strategies among early populations in this region. Emergence of bifacially worked tools during the younger periods seems to have represented the phenomenon of converges as well.


In my opinion, after 1 Ma BP, there were no other large migrations of ancient humans of a different physical type with a principally different industry to this territory. In China and, perhaps, in other regions of East and Southeast Asia, Homo erectus-like forms seem to have evolved into Homo sapiens.


However, it is not possible to agree with H. Movius’s idea that the Paleolithic of East and Southeast Asia was monotonous and technologically, typologically and culturally simple compared to that of the Eurasian. The ancient populations of East and Southeast Asia elaborated their own adaptation strategies in the specific environmental conditions, different from those in Western Eurasia. It is not surprising, therefore, that the typical Paleolithic tool kit of Southeast Asia and Southern China includes choppers, chopping tools, bifaces and cleavers used in wood and bamboo working along with flake tools.

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