7. Conclusion

Rocks used in prehistory for tool-making exposed at, or associated with, the Wong Tei Tung stone tool factory site are mainly volcanic or volcaniclastic in origin (Figs 9, 12, 15). They are fairly typical of the fine-grained extrusive igneous rocks known to have been favoured worldwide by toolmakers throughout prehistory. The softer metamudstones, which crop out below the tuffite horizon, were less well utilised by the toolmakers.

Rhyolitic and tuffite rocks similar to those seen at the Wong Tei Tung stone tool manufacture site (Fig. 11) crop out at a similar height above sea level to the north and south of the excavated area. It is a reasonable assumption that such outcrops may have been similarly exploited for stone tool manufacture in prehistory. Dense vegetation cover makes them difficult to access.

Regionally, the geology of the Pearl River Delta (Figs 1, 3) consists mainly of Quaternary sedimentary deposits. Hard rock outcrops are of mainly igneous origin; granitic and volcanic rocks that form conspicuous landscape features. Given an apparent geological control on stone tool manufacture in prehistory, the archaeological potential of other known outcrops of volcaniclastic rocks similar to those that crop out at Wong Tei Tung, should be investigated.

The regional importance of this site cannot be over-estimated; occurrences of Neolithic rock art have been reported from other sites within the area. It is probable that, given the apparent scale of operation, the production significantly exceeded local demand. It is reasonable to assume that finished and/or roughout stone tools (Figs 17, 18) were dispersed regionally from the Wong Tei Tung site by trade, barter, exchange or as gifts. Reliable microscopic and geochemical data is needed – from outcrops, stone tools and debitage – in order to establish any dispersal patterns for stone tools that originated from the Wong Tei Tung stone tool factory site. All evidence observed in the field most closely resembled tools of a Neolithic age. Nothing was seen that confirmed, or otherwise, tools of an earlier Palaeolithic origin. Given the unstable nature of the steep-sloping hillside, the abundant evidence of land slippage, and the inevitable disturbance to archaeological deposits, any dates from the site should, at this stage, be treated cautiously.


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Last updated: Mon Oct 5 2009