7,000-Year-Old Sophisticated Pottery Kilns Excavated In Chinese Archaeological Site

Archaeologists have excavated a series of 7,000-year-old ceramic kilns that were used by a Neolithic culture in China. Some of the pottery kilns were “ahead of their time,” according to experts.


The Yangshao was a Neolithic culture that existed along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River some 7,000 years ago. They developed intricate colored pottery. Archaeologists excavating areas belonging to the Yanshao that existed along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River have found traces of the ancient culture in the form of pottery and structures.

Among the items, the archeological group uncovered a series of rare pottery kilns, one which represents “the highest level from that period.”

Researchers have revealed discovering a total of 31 pottery kilns at the so-called Chengyan ruins. Among the pottery kilns, the researchers revealed finding a vertical chamber with eleven round burners at the bottom, a form representing the most advanced kiln of the culture discovered to date.

Wei Xingtao, deputy head of the provincial institute of cultural relics and archaeology, revealed the details of the discovery to Xinhua.

“With an intact structure including the vent, the firebox, and the grate, the kiln was found to be one of the best-preserved of the early stages of Yangshao culture,” Wei said. In addition to the pottery kilns, and as would be expected, the archaeologists uncovered traces of colorfully-painted pottery. Most of the pottery fragments recovered by archeologists were painted in a variety of red colors. Additionally, they also discovered pottery painted in brown and grey tones.

Researchers reported finding pottery fragments with clear traces of rope-style decorations, as well as colored triangle stripes.

One of the recently-discovered kilns stood out from the rest. As explained by Wei, most of the pottery kilns belonging to the Yangshao culture from that period were in the form of horizontal-chamber types, having smaller sizes and constructed in a more simple way.

What archaeologists discovered was an evolution of the pottery kilns. Compared to horizontal chamber type kilns, the vertical type offered improved exergy efficiency while also contributing to a better quality end product, essentially creating more solid artifacts.

The researchers discovered that by applying a Fire Gate–a shelf with fire beneath it–, the Yengshao culture was able to have the pottery burn by outer flames and at greater temperatures, which further improve the quality of the products.

The importance of the recently-uncovered pottery kilns resides in the fact that they appear out of time. The forge gate was a common technique that was used by later cultures–like the Longshan cultures–which existed some 4,000 years ago, as well as the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties, which existed from around 1600 BC-1046 BC and 1046 BC-771 BC respectively.

However, such types of kilns were extremely rare during the time the Yangshao culture existed.

The archeological excavations that exposed the kilns began in 2019 as a railway line was designed to go through the area. As prevention, archaeologists were sent out to survey the site.

The archeological excavation covered over 4,600 square meters; the largest such project carried out studying the early development of the Yangshao culture, Xinhua revealed.

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