Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘China’

Wed, June 15, 2022, 7:06 AM

Wang Xi

A bronze altar and a dragon with a pig’s nose are among a trove of items discovered in sacrificial pits that shed new light on the buried secrets of an ancient Chinese civilization.

Archaeologists on Monday announced the “significant” series of finds at the Sanxingdui ruins in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, according to the team behind the dig and the state-run Xinhua news agency.

A team including academics from Peking University and Sichuan University found thousands of items including intricate bronze, gold and jade items, and what it called the unprecedented discovery of 10 bronzes. Experts say the finds date back 3,000 to 4,500 years.

Discovered in the late 1920s, Sanxingdui is one of the key Chinese archaeological sites. Experts think its treasures once belonged to the ancient Shu kingdom, which dates back 4,800 years and lasted 2,000 years.

The new finds mostly come from what archaeologists call sacrificial pits 7 and 8, the highlight being a bronze box with a tortoise-shaped lid containing jade artifacts, including dragon heads. Traces of silk fabric were found surrounding the box.

China Sichuan Sanxingdui Ruins Discoveries - 01 Jun 2022 (Chine Nouvelle / SIPA / Shutterstock)
China Sichuan Sanxingdui Ruins Discoveries – 01 Jun 2022 (Chine Nouvelle / SIPA / Shutterstock)

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that the vessel is one of its kind, given its distinctive shape, fine craftsmanship and ingenious design. Although we do not know what this vessel was used for, we can assume that ancient people treasured it,” said Li Haichao, a professor at Sichuan University who is in charge of the excavation at pit 7, according to Xinhua.

The role of the pits and their use is contested. One academic, Chen Shen, argued in a 2002 book: “Some believe the pits to be a kind of burial, but without human skeletons; the body might have been reduced to ash as a result of a ritual burning ceremony.”

Burned fragments of ivory were found in one pit and the presence of ash, possibly the remnants of tree and plant matter used as fuel, has led archaeologists to speculate that boxes were placed in the pits to be burned.

In pit 8, archaeologists found yet more elaborate bronze work, including heads with gold masks, an altar and a dragon with a pig’s nose.

A curious three-part sculpture features a snake with a human head with protruding eyes, tusks and horns. The top part of the head resembles an ancient trumpet-shaped wine vessel.

Ran Honglin, from the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, said some elements of the sculpture were typical of the Shu kingdom, while others were seen in items from the Zhou dynasty.

“These three factors are now blended into one artifact, which demonstrates that Sanxingdui is an important part of Chinese civilization,” he told Xinhua.

“More cultural relics unearthed at Sanxingdui have also been seen in other locales in China, giving evidence of the early exchange and integration of Chinese civilization,” Honglin added.

CHINA-SICHUAN-SANXINGDUI RUINS-DISCOVERIES (CN) (Xinhua News Agency / via Getty Images)
CHINA-SICHUAN-SANXINGDUI RUINS-DISCOVERIES (CN) (Xinhua News Agency / via Getty Images)

“The sculptures are very complex and imaginative, reflecting the fairy world imagined by people at that time, and they demonstrate the diversity and richness of Chinese civilization,” Zhao Hao, an associate professor at Peking University who led the excavation of pit 8, told Xinhua.

The institute said some 13,000 items have already been found at Sanxingdui since excavations began in the 1980s.

The 12-square-mile site was accidentally discovered in the late 1920s by a farmer in Sichuan province who was repairing a sewage ditch. It is considered one the most important Chinese archaeological finds and one of the world’s greatest discoveries of the 20th century.

The finds paint a vivid picture of life in ancient China. Small sacrificial pits and the sacrificed remains of cattle and boars were found alongside reeds, bamboo and soy beans.

Most historians and archaeologists previously thought the birthplace of Chinese civilization was the Yellow River Basin in China’s north. But Sanxingdui’s discovery, and its excavation in the 1980s, challenged those assumptions.

The new finds are expected to be displayed at an exhibition at Sanxingdui Museum, near the city of Guanghan, in 2023.

Mystery has surrounded the fate of the societies that created the artifacts found at Sanxingdui. Evidence shows that at some point, they left the area and moved to the ancient city of Jinsha, near the modern city of Chengdu.

Some scholars believe the move was caused by an earthquake 3,000 years ago.

Read Full Post »

A couple of days late..original post Jun 4, 2010
via 2,000-year old ‘icebox’ unearthed in NW China

Read Full Post »

On this day ten years ago…
via Dogs First Tamed in China — To Be Food?

Read Full Post »

On this day ten years ago…
via 4,000-Year-Old Noodles Found in China

Read Full Post »

Sciencedaily.com

Despite the growing importance of farmed fish for economies and diets around the world, the origins of aquaculture remain unknown. The Shijing, the oldest surviving collection of ancient Chinese poetry, mentions carp being reared in a pond circa 1140 BC, and historical records describe carp being raised in artificial ponds and paddy fields in East Asia by the first millennium BC. But considering rice paddy fields in China date all the way back to the fifth millennium BC, researchers from Lake Biwa Museum in Kusatu, Japan, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in Norwich, U.K., and an international team of colleagues set out to discover whether carp aquaculture in China was practiced earlier than previously thought.

Carp farming goes way back in Early Neolithic Jiahu

Jiahu, located in Henan, China, is known for the early domestication of rice and pigs, as well the early development of fermented beverages, bone flutes, and possibly writing. This history of early development, combined with archaeological findings suggesting the presence of large expanses of water, made Jiahu an ideal location for the present study.

Researchers measured 588 pharyngeal carp teeth extracted from fish remains in Jiahu corresponding with three separate Neolithic periods, and compared the body-length distributions with findings from other sites and a modern sample of carp raised in Matsukawa Village, Japan. While the remains from the first two periods revealed unimodal patterns of body-length distribution peaking at or near carp maturity, the remains of Period III (6200-5700 BC) displayed bimodal distribution, with one peak at 350-400 mm corresponding with sexual maturity, and another at 150-200 mm.

This bimodal distribution identified by researchers was similar to that documented at the Iron Age Asahi site in Japan (circa 400 BC — AD 100), and is indicative of a managed system of carp aquaculture that until now was unidentified in Neolithic China. “In such fisheries,” the study notes, “a large number of cyprinids were caught during the spawning season and processed as preserved food. At the same time, some carp were kept alive and released into confined, human regulated waters where they spawned naturally and their offspring grew by feeding on available resources. In autumn, water was drained from the ponds and the fish harvested, with body-length distributions showing two peaks due to the presence of both immature and mature individuals.”

Species-composition ratios support findings, indicate cultural preferences

The size of the fish wasn’t the only piece of evidence researchers found supporting carp management at Jiahu. In East Asian lakes and rivers, crucian carp are typically more abundant than common carp, but common carp comprised roughly 75% of cyprinid remains found at Jiahu. This high proportion of less-prevalent fish indicates a cultural preference for common carp and the presence of aquaculture sophisticated enough to provide it.

Based on the analysis of carp remains from Jiahu and data from previous studies, researchers hypothesize three stages of aquaculture development in prehistoric East Asia. In Stage 1, humans fished the marshy areas where carp gather during spawning season. In Stage 2, these marshy ecotones were managed by digging channels and controlling water levels and circulation so the carp could spawn and the juveniles later harvested. Stage 3 involved constant human management, including using spawning beds to control reproduction and fish ponds or paddy fields to manage adolescents.

Although rice paddy fields have not yet been identified at Jiahu, the evolution of carp aquaculture with wet rice agriculture seems to be connected, and the coevolution of the two is an important topic for future research.

Materials provided by Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

Read Full Post »

On this day ten years ago…
via Rice, Origin and History

Read Full Post »

Xinhuanet.com

HEFEI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — Chinese archaeologists have discovered the ruins of an ancient distillery, the largest of its kind ever found in the country, local authorities said Wednesday.

The distillery dates back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and it was discovered by construction workers by accident in Suixi County, east China’s Anhui Province, according to the provincial institute of heritage and archaeology.

Archaeologists have excavated 3,000 out of a total area of 18,000 square meters, unearthing a series of facilities used for making distilled spirits in ancient times, such as three distillation stoves and more than 30 fermenting tanks, according to Chen Chao, associate researcher with the institute.

Meanwhile, over 600 items including drinking vessels, cigarette holders and snuff bottles have been excavated so far at the site.

Currently, the excavation work is still ongoing.

“This is the fourth ancient distillery workshop ruins ever found by Chinese archaeologists. The complete and well-preserved excavated equipment represents the distilled liquor making craftsmanship in northern China,” Chen said.

Before the discovery, two ancient distilleries were unearthed in southwest China’s Sichuan Province and another one was found in east China’s Jiangxi Province.

Read Full Post »

on this date ten years ago…

via Fish on the menu of our ancestors

Read Full Post »

 

On this date ten years ago…

via Evidence for Use of Fire Found at Peking Man Site

Read Full Post »

 

Pottery containing egg shells

By JARRETT A. LOBELL

Archaeology.org

You might have seen a delicacy known as “century eggs” on Chinese restaurant menus or on the shelves of Asian markets and wondered, “Are those eggs really 100 years old?” (Answer: They aren’t. It actually only takes about a month to make them, using a pickling liquid made from lye, salt, and water, and then rolling the eggs in mud and wrapping them in rice husks.) In a recently excavated tomb in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, however, archaeologists found a jar filled with eggs dating all the way back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770–ca. 475 B.C.), making these incredible edibles at least 2,500 years old. Sadly, only the shells remain.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: