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5,000-Year-Old Totem Discovered in East China

Xinhuanet 2002-04-28 16:58:11
   HEFEI, April 28 (Xinhuanet) -- A mysterious bird-shaped pottery
instrument believed to be 5,000 years old has been unearthed by
archaeologists at the ruins of Yuchi Temple in Mengcheng county of
Anhui Province, east China.
   Archaeologists said that the instrument was the most intact
totem that has been excavated from the ruins of the culture of
Dawenkou, a primitive Chinese society dating back to 4,300-2,400 B.
C.
   They said that the totem was of great significance in the study
of the history of early pottery, and the formation and development
of tribes, religion and totems in the pre-history period.
   Covering 100,000 square meters, the Yuchi Temple ruins of
primitive tribes, said to be the largest and most intact ruins of
pre-history buildings ever found in China, were labeled by
historians "China's No.1 Primitive Village".
   Archaeologists with the archaeological institute under the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have conducted ten excavations
on a quarter of the ruins' total area since 1989, unearthing more
than 10,000 relics, including houses built with baked mud bricks,
tombs, household utensils and earthenware.
   The ruins of the Yuchi Temple were put under national
protection last year.
   Archaeologists said that "China's No.1 Primitive Village" could
be regarded as the "Great Hall of the People" and the "Tian'anmen
Square" of more than 5,000 years ago. The bird-shaped totem was
unearthed near the large square of this primitive village.
   The totem consists of three parts, with an oval pot at the
bottom, a conic canister in the middle and a bird-shaped
instrument on the top of the taper. The whole instrument is 60 cm
high, with a bottom diameter of 16 cm and an upper diameter 20 cm.
   Archaeologists with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have
started a new round of excavations of the ruins, hoping to find
more traces of primitive life 5,000 years ago.     
   They plan to make excavations in an area of 1,250 square meters
within two years.   Enditem
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