The University of Arizona

The Late Paleolithic-Neolithic Transition in Korea: Current Archaeological and Radiocarbon Perspectives

C J Bae, J C Kim


The application of chronometric dating studies in Korean archaeology has lagged behind similar research in China and Japan. The focus of this article is to provide an update on the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates derived from Korean Paleolithic and Early Neolithic sites. One of the major highlights from recent AMS 14C studies in Korea is that blade (and microblade) technologies may have diffused directly from Siberia, rather than through northern China as originally thought. In addition, a Neolithic wooden boat has been discovered in Korea that is as old as, if not older than, similar discoveries from eastern China. More detailed archaeological and chronometric studies in Korea in the coming years will certainly clarify many of the points mentioned here. In particular, through more detailed studies, we will be able to further evaluate the causal factors that provided the impetus for the Late Paleolithic-Neolithic transition in Korea.

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