|Lakeshore environments offer an excellent opportunity to explore how early humans adapted to changing landscapes and environments. The Nihewan fluvio-lacustrine sequence in North China contains one of the densest concentrations of Early Pleistocene Palaeolithic sites outside of Africa. Among these, the Cenjiawan site, dated at 1.1 Ma, draws attention due to the large number of stone tool refits. We present here Cenjiawan's sedimentary context, artefact spatial patterns, size distribution and taphonomic features, which are complemented by an experimental programme to better understand archaeological debitage size patterns, thus enabling a detailed analysis of formation processes at the site. The Cenjiawan assemblage is also interpreted in the light of its geographical and geological context, where a synsedimentary fault induced a minor topographic relief across the lacustrine lakeshore. This resulted in a shallow-water setting in the down-thrown hanging wall of the fault compartment, and a fluvial environment in the uplifted footwall. Our results indicate that Cenjiawan, situated in the hanging wall of the fault, underwent minimal disturbance, constituting a remarkable example of optimal preservation of archaeological assemblages in Early Pleistocene lakeshore environments.