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Tibetan Review

  • 28 Dec, 2024
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Evidence Reveals Human Presence in Tibet 40,000 Years Ago Among China`s Top 10 Discoveries in 2023


According to the latest revelation in the realm of archaeology, Tibet, now under Chinese occupation, was inhabited by humans around 40,000 years ago, predating traditional historical timelines. This significant discovery, recognized among China's top 10 archaeological revelations of 2023, was highlighted by the China Media Group on Sunday, as reported by on December 27.

The focal point of this remarkable revelation is the Merungdap Cave site, nestled in Ge’gyai county, Ngari prefecture, within the Tibet autonomous region (referred to as Tibet historically). The site marks a groundbreaking finding as the first prehistoric human cave unearthed in the heartland of the Tibetan Plateau.

Researchers excavating the Merungdap Cave site revealed a treasure trove of over 10,000 artifacts dating back to various periods. These artifacts validate the presence of humans in the region some 40,000 years ago, offering unprecedented insights into ancient human activities.

Per the report, this archaeological site, situated at an altitude of approximately 4,600 meters, provides invaluable information shedding light on the lifestyles and behaviors of ancient inhabitants of the Tibetan Plateau.

The extensive excavations conducted from 2018 to 2020 were a collaborative effort between the region’s Institute of Cultural Relics Protection and the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The focused explorations primarily took place in Cave No. 1 of the site.

Further excavations in 2021 unearthed even older cultural layers, revealing stone cores made of black horn shale, stone tools, and numerous animal bones. These findings indicate a deeper and more complex history of human utilization of the site than previously understood, providing a deeper understanding of ancient human behaviors and lifestyles.

The Merungdap Cave site stands as the first large-scale cave site discovered in the western part of the Tibetan Plateau, serving as a testament to the rich historical tapestry of human existence in this region. This groundbreaking revelation underscores the significance of ongoing archaeological endeavors in unraveling the mysteries of humanity's ancient past in Tibet.


Edited and collated by Team TRC