“This engraved stone artifact was a recent accidental discovery during our analysis of the stone tool assemblage unearthed at the Shuidonggou site in 1980,” explained Dr Fei Peng, postdoctoral research fellow at the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead author of a paper reporting the discovery in the Chinese Science Bulletin.
“It is the first engraved non-organic artifact from the entire Paleolithic of China. However, it is not just a coincidence. We were aware that when analyzing the materials unearthed from the site during excavations in the 1920s, French archaeologist Henry Breuil observed parallel incisions on the surface of siliceous pebbles. Unfortunately, he did not provide details on those incised pebbles. So during our lithic analysis, we paid special attention to the possible existence of engraved objects,” Dr Peng said. Read more.
A seminar was held on Wednesday in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the archaeological excavation of ancient liquor-making sites in Xinghua Village.
The sites are famous in China’s history for its liquor production facilities.
The celebration was organized by the Fenjiu Wine Group, a liquor company headquartered in Xinghua Village, the Archaeological Society of China, and the Shanxi provincial bureau of cultural heritage.
Led by famous archaeologist Zhang Zhongpei, an archaeology team started excavating historical ruins in central Shanxi province 30 years ago.
Among some other major discoveries, some pre-historical vases with small mouths and pointed bases discovered in an excavation site in the Xinghua Village in 1982 are believed to be among the earliest water and wine vessels in human history. Read more.
SHIMAO, China — City ruins found in northwest China’s Shaanxi province covering more than a thousand acres are the largest ever found dating to neolithic China, scientists say.
Archaeologists studying the 4,000-year-old Shimao Ruins in Shenmu County measured the exact size of the ancient stone city, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.
“The city has magnificent stone walls and we’ve unearthed a large number of carved jade, which hint at the city’s core status in north China’s early civilization,” Zhang Zhongpei, head of the Archaeological Society of China, said.
The ruins were first found in 1976 and thought to be the remains of a small town, but a thorough survey last year led to the discovery of more city walls, officials said.
Inner and outer structures were uncovered and the walls surrounding the outer city were found to cover an area of 1,050 acres. (source)
BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — China plans to build its first vessel capable of retrieving archaeological findings from the sea by the end of 2013, a major step to strengthening the underwater search abilities of Chinese archaeologists who currently rely on rented shipping boats.
The 4.8-metre wide and 56-metre long boat, to be powered by an integrated full electric propulsion system, will “basically” meet China’s underwater archaeological needs, according to a statement released by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) on Wednesday.
With a displacement of 860 tonnes, the vessel will be used in China’s coastal areas and could sail as far as waters off the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, if sea conditions are good, it said.
Archaeologists will be able to use the ship to detect, locate, map, videotape and excavate underwater archaeological findings, according to the SACH. Read more.
XI’AN: Archaeologists said a black substance found in an ancient tomb in northwest China’s Shaanxi province is a 2,000-year-old portion of beef.
Scientists arrived at the conclusion after months of analysis confirmed the substance’s makeup, according to Hu Songmei, a paleontologist from the provincial archaeological institute.
Xinhua news agency reports that according to Hu, the beef — most of which had been carbonised — is the earliest beef product discovered in China.
The beef was discovered two years ago in a bronze pot placed in a tomb believed to date back to the Warring States Period (475 B.C. - 221 B.C.), said Hu.
The tomb was discovered during a excavation conducted by the institute from 2009 to 2010 in Wanli village in the provincial capital of Xi’an.
“The beef did not shrink, which proves that it had been dried before being put into the pot,” said Hu. (source)
LHASA, (Xinhua) — Four tombs recently unearthed in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region are believed to contain relics from an ancient Tibetan kingdom that thrived more than 2,000 years ago.
The tombs, found in Gar County of Ngari Prefecture, were found to contain wooden caskets with human remains, copperware, swords and the skeletons of cattle believed to have been buried as sacrificial items, said Dr. Tong Tao from the archeological institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“We believe the location of the tombs was central to the ancient Shangshung Kingdom, a once-powerful tribe that was taken over by Songtsen Gampo to become part of Tibet in the seventh century,” he said.
All four tombs were found near a Bon monastery in Gar County. Bon was a religion that prevailed in Tibet before Buddhism was introduced from India in the seventh century. Its followers worshipped “natural spirits,” like mountains and lakes. Read more.
Many behavioral and technological innovations appear in the archaeological record of Eurasia between about 45,000 and 24,000 years ago. This period has been termed the “initial Upper Paleolithic” and is largely associated with movements of modern humans into that part of the world and/or the complex interplay between population movements and environmental, demographic and cultural influences.
Paleolithic cultural development in eastern Asia is generally thought significantly different from that of the western Old World. In particular, the Chinese Paleolithic was dominated by simple core and flake tool industries, and Middle Paleolithic technologies (e.g., Levallois) were absent or appear very late in the record. In contrast with the western Old World, a distinct “Middle” Paleolithic has not yet been identified in China and broader eastern Asia. Read more.
Buried deep under a hill in central China, surrounded by an underground moat of poisonous mercury, lies an entombed emperor who’s been undisturbed for more than two millennia.
The tomb holds the secrets of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died on Sept. 10, 210 B.C., after conquering six warring states to create the first unified nation of China.
The answers to a number of historical mysteries may lie buried inside that tomb, but whether modern people will ever see inside this mausoleum depends not just on the Chinese government, but on science.
“The big hill, where the emperor is buried — nobody’s been in there,” said archaeologist Kristin Romey, curatorial consultant for the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at New York City’s Discovery Times Square. “Partly it’s out of respect for the elders, but they also realize that nobody in the world right now has the technology to properly go in and excavate it.” Read more.