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Yuanmou County Culture

Yuanmou Man Site

The Yuanmou Man Site is located in Danawu Village, about 7 kilometers southeast of Yuanmou County, Yunnan province.

The site is situated at the brim of the Yuanmou Basin. A 695-meter-deep deposit in the basin is divided into 28 layers of 4 sections from top to bottom. On May 1, 1965, the Geological Mechanics Research Institute found two fore-tooth fossils of Yuanmou Man in the site. The crown of the teeth is well preserved while the root is incomplete. These two teeth, belonging to the same male adult, are believed to be about 1,700,000 years old. These are the earliest ape-man fossils that have been found in China. Archaeologists named the ape-man as Erectus, Yuanmou New Asian Race, Yuanmou Man for short.

In later excavations, Yuanmou animals of early Pleistocene period, such as Yunnan horse, saber tooth tiger, and saber tooth elephant, were unearthed together with stone tools and coal ash. Archaeologists also discovered in the Yuanmou Basin signs of glacier movements during the 4th Geological Age. A stone sign was erected in the site.


Not far from Yuanmou County, modern excavations have discovered human teeth dating back 1.7 million years. These fossils are the oldest in Asia, well before Peking Man. The Museum which is located in Yuanmou County, presents these extraordinary discoveries as well as those of mammalian bones and handicrafts, which are of paramount importance in the history of man.


It was only a few kilometers away from Yuanmou where two incisors of a Homo erectus were discovered in 1965. A young geologist was then performing geological research in the Yuanmou basin when he found these fossils, which would be the oldest found in China and even in Asia. Teeth date from about 1,700,000 years or a million years before the Peking man, and Lantian man. Wanting to learn more, archaeologists went to a few hundred meters farther in 1984 and they discovered a tibia as well as several pieces of a handicraft. Later, other teams discovered tools and bones of mammals, ranging from Tigers and elephants to Saber-toothed or horses of Yunnan. Unfortunately, the excavations were not able to locate additional human bones.  However, these discoveries made during the various excavations are of paramount importance in the history of the evolution of mankind and its ways of life.

The Yuanmou Man Museum

A Yuanmou Man Museum was created to expose the discoveries made during the various excavations. The Yuanmou man fossils are exposed as well as artifacts. The archaeological site itself is located a few kilometers outside of Yuanmou, near Danawu village.

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