Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Large city ruins from Xia and Shang dynasties found in Henan

Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute of Zhengzhou in Henan Province announced that two large city ruins covering an area of 1.68 million square meters from Xia and Shang dynasties (21st-11th century BC) were found on the site of WangJing Tower (望京楼) in Xinzheng, Henan Province. Experts initially speculated that Xia city ruins probably are one member state's capital city and Shang city ruins probably a military town.

The site of Wangjing Tower was located at Xincun town, 35 km from Zhengzhou. It was found in 1960s and local residents unearthed a series of bronze wares and jade wares. Among the unearthed cultural relics during the Xia and Shang dynasties, Bronze Ax is the biggest one at present in China. In 2006, the site of Wangjing Tower was listed as the cultural relics protection unit of Henan as it provides more than 200 heritage specimens to study the ancient city's construction.

The Xia city ruins of Wangjing Tower were outside of the Shang city ruins with outer moat in between. The whole area is a little smaller than Erlitou ruins in Yanshi. Experts speculate that it probably was one member state called Ge or Zeng state’s capital city. According to the archeological research, the outside city wall, the city moat, the waters around together form a circle and the Xia and Shang city ruins are inside the circle.

The Shang city ruins of Wangjing Tower are well preserved and cover a square region with an area of 370,000 square meters. Archaeologists have discovered the city's gate at the southeast part of the city wall, which is the largest city gate, covering an area of 2,000 square meters. The city gate takes a "凹" shape and is 4.5 meters wide. The whole structure of the city gate and its ancillary facilities indicate the function of military defense. It is the prototype of Wengcheng, rectangular in shape with steep sides.

Deputy director general of Henan Cultural Relics Bureau Ma Xiaolin said Wednesday that the two large city ruins from Xia and Shang dynasties are another important discoveries in the region after the unearthing of Shang city ruins in Zhengzhou, Erlitou ruins in Yanshi among others in Henan Province. They are of great importance to the evolution of ancient cities and dynasties'origins in the ancient 'central plains' around present Henan Province.

Global Times. 2011. "Large city ruins from Xia and Shang dynasties found in Henan ". Global Times. Posted: January 13, 2011. Available online: http://life.globaltimes.cn/travel/2011-01/612443.html

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