The core of the ancient city has recently been revealed by archaeologists.
Deep within northern China, archaeologists have revealed the cradle of an ancient Bronze Age city. Its cryptic roots trace back to the enigmatic relics previously discovered in the region.
Unearthed in the expanses of the Zhaigou archaeological site, situated 110 kilometers south of present-day Yulin, Shaanxi province, lies a cornucopia of invaluable artifacts. Recovered items include bronze vessels, vibrant pottery, jade carvings, and turquoise ornaments, all dating over 3,000 years back to the Shang dynasty era.
Ancient city revealed by archaeologists in China
China’s National Administration of Cultural Heritage recently held a news conference in Beijing to discuss this historic discovery. The locals, who had been unearthing these artifacts on their farmlands since the 1940s, were ignorant of their origin. However, the newfound Bronze Age settlement, sprawling over 3 square kilometers and 11 hills, clarifies its backstory.
Unmasking an Ancient Settlement
“In the Zhaigou site, we’ve uncovered the entirety of a core settlement,” stated Xu Lianggao, an Institute of Archeology of China researcher. He mentioned that significant tombs and structures were discovered in the past, but the whole image of the settlement had been obscured until now.
The Yellow River Basin: The Ancient Chinese Civilization’s Heartland
In conjunction with its neighboring provinces Henan and Shanxi, Shaanxi forms the ancient Chinese civilization’s bedrock in the Yellow River basin. With more than 1,000 years of historical significance and serving as the capital for 13 ancient Chinese dynasties, Shaanxi is a treasure trove of archaeological finds.
Excavations at Zhaigou, which began in June 2022, uncovered the largest ancient city in the region, boasting some of the most affluent tombs. Nine aristocratic tombs have already been discovered, seven of which display a unique rectangular design with passages, symbolizing their owners’ elite status.
Architectural Insight into the Bronze Age
The Bronze Age town center was built using rammed earth, a construction method where moist earth is compacted within a frame. Diverse buildings, such as craft workshops and ceramic kilns, showcase the settlement’s functionality.
Chariot Pieces and Horse Remains Unearthed
In addition to these discoveries, the Zhaigou site yielded bronze chariot pieces and horse remains, providing crucial insights into ancient China’s chariot customs. Over 200 items, similar to those from other Shang dynasty sites, have been excavated, suggesting that Zhaigou might have been a separate state’s capital that later fell under the Shang’s dominion.
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