While there have been previous excavations of Late Pleistocene cave sites in the Yangzi Basin, the dating of these sites has been problematic.First, the complex deposition of interdigitating lenses of ashes, clays, and sometimes fine gravel requires systematic dating based on a series of radiocarbon determinations and this has been lacking.

The dates range from around 21,000 to 13,800 cal BP.

We show that the age of the ancient pottery ranges between 18,300 and 15,430 cal BP.

The Terminal Pleistocene warming was interrupted by the Younger Dryas ca. Although the Younger Dryas is seen in other regions as a generally cold and dry period, in South China the main effect of the Younger Dryas was probably the sudden onset of greater seasonality.

Understanding the local impact of the Younger Dryas on the basin of the Yangzi River and in particular in the limestone region south of the main river channel is still not possible (20).

Yuchanyan Cave in Daoxian County, Hunan Province (People's Republic of China), yielded fragmentary remains of 2 or more ceramic vessels, in addition to large amounts of ash, a rich animal bone assemblage, cobble and flake artifacts, bone tools, and shell tools.

The artifacts indicate that the cave was a Late Paleolithic foragers' camp.

The cave was first excavated in 19 by one of the authors (J.

Y.), who uncovered 2 clusters of potsherds indicating the presence of 2 vessels (Fig. A piece of charcoal closely associated with the potsherds was dated to 16,700–15,850 cal BP and organic residue from the ceramic to 17,750–16,900 cal BP (7, 16, 17, 25;) (Table 1).

Radiocarbon dating analyses may be carried out on diverse natural materials such as lake sediments, groundwaters and surface waters, tree-rings, ice-cores, corals, soils and air.