Archaeological News

            The latest news in archaeology.       

    

counter for tumblr
Posts tagged "china"

Over 1,000 ancient Buddha statues have been found in north China’s Shanxi Province, a local cultural relics protection department said on Friday.

The Buddha statues were found in three stone caves in a cliff in Yangqu County and could date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), according to local archaeologists.

The stone statues carved into the cave walls are 12 to 25 centimeters long, said Yang Jifu, director of the county’s cultural heritage tourism bureau.

Yang said two of the caves had been restored in the Ming Dynasty, according to the record on two steles in the caves. Read more.

Researchers may have found answers to some questions surrounding stone tool artifacts previously unearthed at the site of Fengshudao, located in the Bose Basin in the Guanxi province of southern China. The site is well known for yielding a lithic assemblage rich in Paleolithic bifacially worked stone artifacts, technically known as Acheulean handaxes, a stone tool most commonly associated with an early hominin (human ancestor) classified as Homo erectus.

After initial discovery and analysis, these ‘Bose Basin handaxes’ came to the attention of the international scientific community because they were dated to about 803 ka (thousands of years), placing them in the Early to Middle Pleistocene period; and because their presence tested the validity of the Movius Line, a theoretical line drawn across northern India, first proposed by the American archaeologist Hallam L. Movius in 1948 to demonstrate a technological difference between the early prehistoric tool technologies of the east and west of the Old World. Read more.

YINCHUAN - Archaeologists have discovered sections of the Great Wall in a valley of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a former museum curator said on Tuesday.

The 20-meter long wall was found in a valley of Nanchangtan Village, Zhongwei City. It is believed to be part of the Great Wall built during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC), said Zhou Xinghua, former curator of the Museum of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

It consists of three sections, with one section constructed with stones. It is five meters long, three to four meters wide and six meters tall. The other two sections are 10 meters and five meters long respectively. Read more.

HOHHOT (Xinhua) — Archaeologists opened a black lacquer coffin on Saturday while unearthing a 1,500-year-old tomb in a pasture region of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Archaeological work is still under way. Experts so far have only been able to identify the tomb’s owner as an aristocratic woman of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534/535).

Archaeologists carefully opened the pinewood coffin on Saturday and found the remains of a person wrapped in silk clothing. She had thick black hair with a metal headband and wore fur boots.

It is not yet known which ethnic group the woman was from. Archaeologists found a bow, a dagger, pottery jars and bowls in the tomb. Read more.

image

Vintage Gouda may be aged for five years, some cheddar for a decade. They’re both under-ripe youngsters compared with yellowish clumps – found on the necks and chests of Chinese mummies – now revealed to be the world’s oldest cheese.

The Chinese cheese dates back as early as 1615 BC, making it by far the most ancient ever discovered. Thanks to the quick decay of most dairy products, there isn’t even a runner-up. The world’s best-aged cheese seems to be a lactose-free variety that was quick and convenient to make and may have played a role in the spread of herding and dairying across Asia.

"We not only identified the product as the earliest known cheese, but we also have direct … evidence of ancient technology," Read more.

Urgent conservation work is needed to save a series of caves in northwest China containing ancient murals by Buddhist monks, which are threatened with destruction from the forces of nature.

The network of 236 sandstone caves extend over an area of two to three kilometres in the vast, sparsely-populated autonomous Xinjiang region of China, along the ancient Silk Road. The caves were inhabited by Buddhist monks and used as temples between the third and the eighth centuries, and are lined with murals providing a rich picture of early Buddhist culture.

The caves, known locally as Kezer, are prone to deterioration, particularly from moisture, because of their geological composition, which includes many soluble salts. Read more.

From a few fragments out of a collection of 23-century-old bamboo strips, historians have pieced together what they say is the world’s oldest example of a multiplication table in base 10.

Five years ago, Tsinghua University in Beijing received a donation of nearly 2,500 bamboo strips. Muddy, smelly and teeming with mould, the strips probably originated from the illegal excavation of a tomb, and the donor had purchased them at a Hong Kong market. Researchers at Tsinghua carbon-dated the materials to around 305 bc, during the Warring States period before the unification of China.

Each strip was about 7 to 12 millimetres wide and up to half a metre long, and had a vertical line of ancient Chinese calligraphy painted on it in black ink. Historians realized that the bamboo pieces constituted 65 ancient texts and recognized them to be among the most important artefacts from the period. Read more.

The Great Wall of China, built more than 2,000 years ago, stands as one of the monumental feats of ancient engineering. Stretching thousands of miles, it protected the newly unified country from foreign invaders.

But before the Great Wall, warring Chinese dynasties built many other walls for protection. An American archaeologist recently began surveying one of the biggest.

Gary Feinman, who is with the Field Museum of Chicago, didn’t set out to excavate what he now calls “the first Great Wall.” He was simply walking around eastern China’s Shandong province, staring at the ground like any good archaeologist, looking for tiny pieces of pottery.

But two years ago, he came across an earthen wall. In some places, it was 15 feet high. People knew there had been an early great wall in Shandong, dating to about 500 B.C. — built centuries before the Great Wall. Read more.