Oldest, largest primitive village unearthed in north China


Xinhua News Agency.


 Oct. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- A 8,200-year-old village of Xinglongwa Culture was recently discovered in the Aohan Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The oldest village site so far discovered in China, it is also the largest and most well-preserved, announced the archeologists whose excavation of the Xinglonggou Site near the Xiliao River came to a close Oct. 25. According to Liu Guoxiang, assistant researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11 house foundations, 10 graves and 12 ash pits were found there. The foundations unearthed are half-underground rectangular caves dug on immature loess. Judging from their orderly arrangement and size, Liu said the village must have been very majestic, which dates the county's cultural history back more than 8,000 years. Before the excavation began, surveys on the surface of the land indicated at least 150 house foundations. According to Liu, these ancient people appeared to be of different social ranks because the house bases are different in both size and style. It is hypothesized that the owners of the No. 22 house foundation, which is the largest and most different in style, must be the most respected. Many finds, including vertical shafts, pottery and jade ware and other ornaments excavated from the foundation are of great archeological value, Liu said. For instance, the vertical shafts, 20 pieces of pottery and two huge millstones and grinding implements will help archeologists to replicate the past and study the village's architectural structure. The find of four skeletons in the foundation, the first of its kind from the Xinglongwa Culture, will help scientists learn about the house's residents if DNA tests are carried out. Items made of shells that only existent in the sea were also found for the first time at the site, Liu said, indicating the ancient people there were in touch either directly or indirectly with people living in the coastal areas. Another find, three pieces of delicate jade, the oldest so far dug up in China, takes the country's history of jade carving and polishing back to the middle of the Neolithic age. Seven ornaments made of animal bones, skull, stones and shells were unearthed, which may provide archeologists with important reference and evidence for the study of ancient people's religious beliefs. The Xinglonggou site situated around the Xiliao River Valley is home to three separate cultures, the Xinglongwa Culture, the Hongshan Culture and the Xiajiadian Pottery Culture. Archeologists said this will help them study the relationship between and the development of different cultures.