Abstract The archaeological Lajia and Lamafeng sites were situated in the Guanting Basin in the northeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and were in the second terrace of the Yellow River. The Lamafeng site is only 1500 m away from Lajia site. The Lajia site belongs to typical Qijia culture (4100–3600 cal a BP). Many human skeletons were found in the Lajia site. These remains presented a state of unnatural deaths. They were all buried in-situ. The Lajia site recorded a prehistoric natural disaster, and the cause of which was probably a combination of earthquake and flooding due to the outburst of a lake that had been dammed by a landslide on the Yellow River. The Lajia site was abandoned by the prehistoric people after the disaster, but follow-up cultural relics were not found. Lamafeng site is a representative of Xindian Culture (3400–2600 cal a BP). The investigation of the Xindian Culture is intensive. However, the chronological data is still very limited, and no luminescence data has been reported so far. In the current study, both optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) (three samples) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) (five charcoal samples) dating are applied to samples from Lamafeng archaeological site. The results showed that: (1) For the sample from the cultural layer, within error margins OSL and 14C ages are in good agreement. The 14C ages show that the cultural layer has an age range of ∼2400–2300 cal a BP. (2) The Lamafeng site was inhabited by the people of Xindian Culture, which indicated that the natural disaster occurred in the Qijia culture period did not completely destroy the prehistoric culture in the basin. (3) There was an enhanced extreme flood activity during Qijia and Xindian Culture periods, and the extreme flood period was ended at 2.6 ± 0.2 ka.