||Fa-Gang Wang; Shi-Xia Yang, Jun-Yi Ge, Andreu Ollé, Ke-Liang Zhao, Jian-Ping Yue, Daniela Eugenia Rosso, Katerina Douka, Ying Guan, Wen-Yan Li, Hai-Yong Yang, Lian-Qiang Liu, Fei Xie, Zheng-Tang Guo et al.
||Homo sapiens was present in northern Asia by around 40,000 years ago, having replaced archaic populations across Eurasia after episodes of earlier population expansions and interbreeding1,2,3,4. Cultural adaptations of the last Neanderthals, the Denisovans and the incoming populations of H. sapiens into Asia remain unknown1,5,6,7. Here we describe Xiamabei, a well-preserved, approximately 40,000-year-old archaeological site in northern China, which includes the earliest known ochre-processing feature in east Asia, a distinctive miniaturized lithic assemblage with bladelet-like tools bearing traces of hafting, and a bone tool. The cultural assembly of traits at Xiamabei is unique for Eastern Asia and does not correspond with those found at other archaeological site assemblages inhabited by archaic populations or those generally associated with the expansion of H. sapiens, such as the Initial Upper Palaeolithic8,9,10. The record of northern Asia supports a process of technological innovations and cultural diversification emerging in a period of hominin hybridization and admixture2,3,6,11.