[Shenzhen] Wubeiling, ancient tombs behind your house Latest

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[Shenzhen] Wubeiling, ancient tombs behind your house
Latest Updated by 2007-05-28 09:33:41, By: Han Ximin Source:Szdaily web edition
Wubeiling, literally, the ridge at the back of houses, contains ancient tombs dating back to the Shang Dynasty (16001046 B.C.). Without a guide, it is difficult to find the 61-meter-tall ridge, where the tombs are hidden by a village
and litchi forests. Around one hour's drive from the Mazu temple, we finally found the tomb site, a small hill to the
north of the village houses in Fuguang Village, Xili Township with our guide, Ruan from the temple.
"If you are afraid of dogs, be wary of them," Ruan said from behind, as we walked along the mud path leading to a
litchi forest ahead. "When we came to set up the stone tablet at Wubeiling in 2001, we were greeted by a pack of
black dogs, which had frightened the archaeologists away," he said. But we were greeted by just one, which barked
at us from some distance away under a litchi tree.
When we reached the site, to my disappointment, the little hill seemed so ordinary, except for the stone table,
erected by the Nanshan cultural heritage administration, showing the hill is protected by authorities. "The small hill
was famous in 2001, when it was selected as one of the nation's top 10 archaeological finds, but the tombs have been
refilled after excavations in 2002," said Ruan.
From April to June 2001 and from December 2001 to March 2002, archaeologists discovered 94 ancient graves
belonging to the Shang Dynasty and 300 assorted precious cultural relics. The discovery was believed to be the
largest set of Shang Dynasty tombs found in Guangdong Province. It filled a gap in the history of pottery of the
Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Half way to the top, two workers were painting protective wire netting. According to Ruan, though archaeologists
have excavated around 1,400 square meters of tombs, there are still around 40,000 square meters to be excavated.
The cost of the work, around 15 million yuan (US$1.9 million), is a headache for archaeologists.
Cultural relics unearthed from the ancient graves include jade articles, stone implements, pottery, as well as bronze
tools. To help inform the public about the finds and Wubeiling's cultural heritage, the Nantou Ancient City Museum
opened a special area for the relics on the second floor. "The discovery, together with the discovery of the
Xiantouling Neolithic remains at Dapeng, proved that ancient people lived in the Pearl River Delta areas around
4,000 years ago," said Zhang Yadong, head of the museum. "Among the unearthed relics, the museum's best
treasure is actually a stone knife, which had clear and beautiful patterns on it, demonstrating ancient people's
exquisite stone carving skills," said Zhang.
Archaeologists had concluded that the reign and influence of the Shang Dynasty never passed the Yangtze River.
But the discoveries in Wubeiling changed their minds. What were the similarities and differences of the life in
southern China and northern China in the Shang Dynasty? The discovery at Wubeiling showed the ancient people in
the Pearl River Delta region made exchanges with the neighboring areas in Guangdong Province.
"Because of the shortage of funding, most of the relics in Wubeiling are still waiting to be excavated. If other tombs
are unearthed, it could reveal the civilization and social progress in the Shang Dynasty, by comparing other Shang
Dynasty tombs in Boluo, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and tombs in Dongguan City.
"Though the Wubeiling site is not big, we may find many tombs from the Shang Dynasty to the Qin Dynasty (221206). Because of land requisition for the construction of the University Town, some heritages of the Qin Dynasty
was destroyed, so it is vital to protect the Wubeiling tombs, which are of great historical and archaeological value to
the society," said Zhang.
Questions:
1. What does this new evidence suggest about where early people in China settled?
2. Compare the tools unearthed at Wubeiling to those found at other early
civilizations.
3. What can be inferred about trade with regard to the ancient Chinese at
Wubeiling?
Zhou Dynasty Tombs Unearthed in Shaanxi
2005-12-27 11:07:30 Chen Lin, China.org.cn
At a December 16 press conference cosponsored by the Shaanxi Provincial Culture Relics Bureau and the Hancheng
City government, archaeologists announced the successful excavation of numerous and highly significant cultural
relics from several ancient grave sites in Hancheng City, in northwestern China‘s Shaanxi Province. The relics date
back approximately 2,800 years, from late western Zhou Dynasty (c. 1100 BC - c. 771 BC) to the early Eastern Zhou
Dynasty (770 BC - 256 BC).
At the press conference it was revealed that the tombs yielded four large-scale graves, with more than a dozen pits
with representations of horses, chariots and many rare ceremonial wares in bronze, gold and jade. Archeologists
theorize that the site is the grave of a state ruler who may have held some prominence during the Zhou Dynasty (c.
1100 BC - 221 BC).
In August 2004, a villager reported to Hancheng Municipal Cultural Relics Bureau that thieves had attempted to rob
some of the ancient tombs at the Liangdai Village 7 km north of Hancheng City. The Hancheng Cultural Relics and
Tourism Bureau and Public Security Bureau moved to increase security in the area, and better protect the high-level
cultural gravesites that had been kept safe from pilferage for more than three decades.
Exploration of the site began in April of this year with the cooperation and coordination of the Shaanxi Provincial
Cultural Relics Bureau, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the Provincial Archaeology Research
Institute, Weinan Municipal Cultural Relics Protection and Archaeology Institute, Hancheng Municipal Cultural
Relics and the Tourism Bureau.
After a six-month excavation, archaeologists determined that the cluster of tombs span an area of 330,000 square
meters -- 600 meters at the east-west perimeter, and 550 meters at the south-north boundary. Although only 10
percent of the site was excavated during the six months, discovered there were 103 tombs and 17 horses and chariots
pits. The archeologists considered the exploration of the four largest graves to be most significant.
Jiao Nanfeng, leader of the archaeological team, revealed that articles unearthed included more than 600 pieces of
bronze ware, as well as rare gold articles and lacquer ware. The finds are considered to be highly important for the
continued research into the political and economic systems and funerary customs of the Zhou Dynasty.
Ornaments of bronze fish, agate beads, pottery beads, stone pendants and shells were found in the coffins. Also
discovered were four bronze ceremonial fans, a lacquered drum, and a musical instrument -- the earliest relics
retrieved from the site. Many jade wares found in the graves were carved with the pattern of dragons.
Jiao said the excavation of this site was the most significant find in Shaanxi Province, and one of the most important
discoveries in China in 2005.
Liu Yunhui, deputy director of Shaanxi Provincial Culture Relics Bureau, stated that application will be made for
the site to be designated as the sixth batch of major historical and cultural sites under state protection. The State
Administration of Cultural Heritage has approved the application and is awaiting the nod of the State Council.
Questions:
4. How do the dates of the artifacts found in this article compare with the first?
5. List what was found in the graves in Shaanxi. What do these artifacts infer
about the early Chinese?
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