During the last ice age when the sea level was lower, much of the continental shelf was exposed. For example, the North Sea was previously a low-lying region which is called "Doggerland".

There are multiple finds of bone fish-spears, flint axes and so on. Some are found by dredging, some by divers. These provide evidence that the region was inhabited by Mesolithic peoples. source1 source2 source3

At that time the Yellow Sea, and particular the Bo Hai Bay, was above sea-level. And Neolithic China was featured multiple sites around the Yellow Sea. source4

Is there archaeological evidence that the Bo Hai Bay and the Yellow Sea region were inhabited at the end of the ice age? Have there been any archaeological finds from the seabed?

  • 1
    I know this is the South China Sea, not the Yellow, but it is speculated that the ancestors of most modern native New Guinea highlanders actually walked there back when sea levels were lower. So there should be stuff to find, if one knew where to look.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 15:38

2 Answers 2


My understanding is that Bohai Bay used to be an inland lake which drained into the Yellow Sea. The southern border of the lake was formed by the Liaodong and Shandong peninsulas, which were once joined.

Remains of Pleistocene mammoth and woolly rhinoceros have been found in the bay, but, as far as I am aware, no human artefacts comparable with those found in "Doggerland" under the modern North Sea have yet been recovered.

As you say, a number of Neolithic cultures have been identified from sites around Bohai Bay, and there have been suggestions that there is evidence for "economic contact" between at least some of these groups (mentioned in the book linked above).

It makes sense that an area with readily available sources of food and water would have been attractive for human habitation at the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age. However, I've searched through the last 30 years of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, and I can't find any reports of significant evidence for human habitation from underwater archaeology in the region. (For comparison, I found more than 50 articles about remains from "Doggerland" while searching)

  • Note: the spelling of artefacts isn't a typo. Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 17:08
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    I came back to correct my incorrect correction, but you already fixed it.... "two countries separated by a common language".
    – justCal
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 17:27

The Yellow Sea flood plain has very rich soil with a climate very suitable for human habitation. I suspect that it was one of the major population centers during the last Ice Age. It would have been subject to a rapid and catastrophic flood when the ice dams broke raising the Sea level. Some very high volume rivers carry large amounts of silt into the Yellow Sea. Archeological evidence, if it exists, would probably be buried deep.

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