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ZHENGZHOU, Aug. 27 — Archaeologists in central China’s Henan Province have excavated a large neolithic settlement complete with moats and a cemetery.

The Shanggangyang Site covers an area of 120,000 square meters and sits along a river in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, dating 5,000 to 6,000 years back to the Yangshao culture, which was widely known for its advanced pottery-making technology.

The site features two defensive moats surrounding three sides. Researchers have found relics of three large houses as well as 39 tombs, the large number suggesting several generations resided there, archaeologist Gao Zanling, a member of the Zhengzhou Administration of Cultural Heritage, said. Read more.

BEIJING: Archaeologists said Saturday they have discovered a tomb with well preserved wall paintings, dating back more than 1,200 years, in northwest China’s Shaanxi province.

The Tang dynasty (618-907) tomb of a high ranking official and his wife in Chang’an district, Xi’an City, is 11 metres deep and about 40 metres long, said Zhao Rong, head of Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Administration. The grave had been raided by robbers.

The murals in the chamber show great skill, Xinhua reported citing the official.

Excavation began in February this year and cleaning work is still under way along with measures to protect the artwork, said Zhao.

Xi’an, historically known as Chang’an, was the Chinese capital during the rule of several dynasties, including the Tang dynasty. (source)

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Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the ancient Persian Empire. Its founder, Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, is thought to have been born in what is now Northeast Iran or Southwest Afghanistan. A 2004 survey by the Zoroastrian Associations of North America put the estimated number of believers worldwide at between 124,000 and 190,000.

Now, archaeologists in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have discovered major Zoroastrian tombs, dated to over 2,500 years ago. This unravelling is leading to startling controversial speculation about the religion’s origin. Read more.

In Australia these days, China seems to shadow the antipodean nation’s future. China’s appetite for natural resources has reshaped Australia’s economy, and the disruptive threat of its expanding navy has led Australian officials to approve the deployment of U.S. marines on Australian soil.

We hear far less about China’s role in the continent’s far past. But a team of amateur Australian archaeologists found a curious piece of evidence linking the Chinese to a much earlier age in Australia’s history. On a recent expedition to a remote island off the coast of the Northern Territory, the archaeologists, who call themselves the Past Masters, unearthed an 18th-century Qing dynasty coin. “It certainly shows the contact between Northern Australia and the trade with the Middle Kingdom, with China,” Mike Owen, a member of the expedition, told Australia’s ABC television network. Read more.

A 2,100-year-old mausoleum built for a king named Liu Fei has been discovered in modern-day Xuyi County in Jiangsu, China, archaeologists report.

Liu Fei died in 128 B.C. during the 26th year of his rule over a kingdom named Jiangdu, which was part of the Chinese empire.

Although the mausoleum had been plundered, archaeologists found that it still contained more than 10,000 artifacts, including treasures made of gold, silver, bronze, jade and lacquer. They also found several life-size chariot and dozens of smaller chariots. Read more.

Even as he conquered rival kingdoms to create the first united Chinese empire in 221 B.C., China’s First Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered the building of a glorious underground palace complex, mirroring his imperial capital near present-day Xi’an, that would last for an eternity.

To protect his underworld palaces, the First Emperor issued instructions that his imperial guard be replicated, down to the finest details, in red-brown terracotta clay, poised to do battle. Thousands of these imperial guards were initially discovered in 1974; some contained patches of pigment that had survived 22 centuries buried underground, along with minute remnants of binding media that had aided in the creation of this polychrome Terracotta Army.

Efforts to conserve, and perhaps even restore, these remarkable examples of sculpture in the round from the first empire have been hampered by the failure of a series of scientific experiments to pinpoint the binding material used in applying pigments to Qin Shihuang’s underground army. Read more.

An ancient bronze ware item that had been floating around overseas for nearly a century was finally returned to China yesterday from the New York-based fine arts auction house Christie’s after an agreement was made with Chinese collectors.

The bronze item is a body of a wine vessel known as Minfanglei and is considered to represent one of the greatest pieces in the golden era of Chinese bronze in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC -1046 BC), according to CRI. Before now, China only had the lid on display. Both pieces will now be preserved at the Hunan Provincial Museum. Read more.

For thousands of years, Mother Nature has taken the blame for tremendous human suffering caused by massive flooding along the Yellow River, long known in China as the “River of Sorrow” and “Scourge of the Sons of Han.”

Now, new research from Washington University in St. Louis links the river’s increasingly deadly floods to a widespread pattern of human-caused environmental degradation and related flood-mitigation efforts that began changing the river’s natural flow nearly 3,000 years ago.

"Human intervention in the Chinese environment is relatively massive, remarkably early and nowhere more keenly witnessed than in attempts to harness the Yellow River," said T.R. Kidder, PhD, lead author of the study and an archaeologist at Washington University. Read more.