¡¡¡¡HEFEI, July 29 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese archeologists have brought to light
ruins of an ancient city dating back 5,500 years, the earliest ever found in
China's prolonged, agricultural-dominant history.
¡¡¡¡After several rounds of excavations, archeologists are able to confirm that
the Lingjiatan relic site in east China's Anhui province was once a bustling
city with booming art handicrafts, textile and processing industries.
¡¡¡¡The site had been lying beneath an expanse of rice paddies and vegetable
plots in the Chaohu Lake drainage area between the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers,
until it was discovered in 1987.
¡¡¡¡From the 1.6 million-square-meter site, experts have unearthed a
residential area with intricately designed houses, a 3,000-square-meter square
paved with red pottery pieces and a graveyard with an altar and 66 graves.
¡¡¡¡"The square must have been a political, military and cultural center of the
city, where local residents used to gather for meetings and perform religious
rituals, and soldiers for drills," said Zhang Jingguo, a noted archeologist with
the Anhui ProvincialInstitute of Archeology, who has headed the excavation.
¡¡¡¡Zhang and his colleagues have also unearthed a well, a moat, a stoneware
workshop, three mammoth stone structures and more than 1,300 sacrificial pieces:
pottery, stoneware, jade figurines and jade turtles imprinted with augury
¡¡¡¡Fixed abodes, large-scale temples, defense works and workshops are key
evident factors to determine whether an origin of a civilization makes a city,
according to Prof. Dong Jianhong, an established specialist in urban history
from the prestigious Shanghai-based Tongji University.
¡¡¡¡Experts say the discovery of the prehistoric city has predated the origin
of Chinese cities by over 1,000 years and could also extend China's recorded
history to 8,000 or even 10,000 years, from what was previously known to be
around 5,000 years.
¡¡¡¡Prior to the discovery, it was widely accepted that China's earliest city
was formed some 4,000 years ago in today's Dantu Village, Wulian County of
Rizhao City, in east China's Shandong province.
¡¡¡¡Jade pieces unearthed from the site have aroused particular attention among
¡¡¡¡"Those ancient city dwellers must have mastered advanced jade processing
techniques," Zhang said after studying the texture of the jade pieces through a
¡¡¡¡Besides, all the jade figurines wear tartan hats and cross-stitched belts,
a sign of a much advanced textile industry and proficient knitting skills.
¡¡¡¡"Obviously, those ancestors of the Chinese nation already wore threaded and
hemp-made clothes rather than 'leaves and animal pelts' as some people used to
claim," said Zhang.
¡¡¡¡Archeologists will go on with their excavation of the ruins this fall in an
effort to solve more mysteries of the ancient city.Enditem