Early China: History, Legends, and Myths


solarz

Brigadier
Chinese archaeologists find 5,000-year-old mysterious tomb
Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-01 08:32:53|Editor: Liu

ZHENGZHOU, May 1 (Xinhua) -- With a bow in the left hand, a jade weapon in the right and 18 pieces of lower jawbones of pigs on his feet, what power, force and wealth did he possess 5,000 years ago?

The identity of the owner of a tomb recently discovered by archaeologists at Huangshan ruins in the city of Nanyang, central China's Henan Province, has aroused discussions.

"The tomahawk-like jade weapon is a symbol of power," said Ma Juncai, head of the archaeological team and researcher with Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology.

"Meanwhile, other discoveries including a single wooden coffin, burial objects such as jade wares, stoneware, pottery and a large number of lower jawbones of pigs showed that the owner had power, force and wealth when he was alive," Ma said.

He added that this is the highest-grade clan tomb of Qujialing culture found in southwest Henan and even in the middle reaches of the Hanjiang River. Qujialing culture is a late Neolithic culture centered primarily around the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

Archaeologists also found two house ruins during the late Neolithic Yangshao culture near the suspected clan leader's tomb, each with an area of more than 120 square meters. They are believed to be jade processing workshops, with jade materials, semi-finished and finished jade articles and jade-making tools unearthed at the location.

"The house ruins are very meaningful for studies on the housing structures and building techniques of Yangshao culture," said Luan Fengshi, a professor with Shandong University.

The Huangshan ruins, discovered in 1959, has an area of more than 200,000 square meters. It is of great significance to the study of cultural exchange between the north and south of the Neolithic Age.
owner arouses discussions...
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Wonder if this is the tomb of the legendary Hou Yi?

:eek::eek::eek:
 

solarz

Brigadier
I assume you are still talking about imperial tombs as Tam's post that you replied was about emperors.

In this case, I must say that all the imperial tombs opened so far (since the fall of Qing in 1912) were by tomb raiders, never legally approved acts.

There is only one tomb that was officially excavated and studied only after it had already been broken in and vandalized by the radical red guards during the "Culture Revolution" (Ming tomb in Beijing). Those responsible were not punished due to the political climate at the time.

Only tombs of aristocrats were officially excavated. But with the principle of preserving on spot being preferred.

As for the opening of Qin Shihuang's tomb. Guo Moruo has proposed it in the 1960/1970s, but was rejected by Zhou Enlai on two grounds. First, there is no way to preserve it once opened because the burial mount is so huge no modern construction tech can build a structure large enough to cover it without any supporting columns in the middle. Second, it is argued by many other historians that only a recurring excavation should be done if damage is imminent instead of out of "curiosity". Mercury was not an known thing back then. P.S. I dislike Guo Moruo for this reason and others.

There are voices recently made proposal again arguing the technology advancement. But they are in extreme minority. I know one and only one such person.

Here is my "superstitious suspicion" of why these tombs are not and probably never be opened.
1. Opening tomb is a capital offence and one of the most despised act anybody can do to anybody in China.
2. On top of that, destroying imperial tombs of previous dynasty is welcoming karma, encouraging people to act in a manner without any respect of any authority.
For the first reason, although CCP is atheist, they are people with emotions and deep cultural roots, they don't do things that is against culture and ordinary people's feelings, pretty much like communist does not condemn their parents for being religious.
For the second reason, CCP has began dialling down the support/approval of historical rebelling figures, for example, a TV series of Taiping Tianguo was made but never broadcasted although the movement was regarded as justified rebelling against the Qing dynasty's corruption.

I thought the main concern was the preservation of the artifacts? Apparently the Terra Cotta warriors were fully colored when they were first excavated, but the colors faded within hours after exposure to air, giving us the tan colored statues we know today. Archaeologists are worried that similar degradation may occur if they opened Qin Shihuang's tomb.
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
I thought the main concern was the preservation of the artifacts? Apparently the Terra Cotta warriors were fully colored when they were first excavated, but the colors faded within hours after exposure to air, giving us the tan colored statues we know today. Archaeologists are worried that similar degradation may occur if they opened Qin Shihuang's tomb.
That was the two grounds I mentioned when Zhou Enlai rejected opening of Qin Shihuang's tomb.
but was rejected by Zhou Enlai on two grounds. First, there is no way to preserve it once opened because the burial mount is so huge no modern construction tech can build a structure large enough to cover it without any supporting columns in the middle. Second, it is argued by many other historians that only a recurring (rescue) excavation should be done if damage is imminent instead of out of "curiosity".

The other reasons I gave is of culture/moral grounds, I admit they can never be proven as the government will not say it laud. The only indirect proof theoretically would be that no bomb being opened today or in the future even though China already possessed sophisticated technology
  1. to build huge one piece structure without supporting pillars,
  2. being air tight, filled with inert gas (remove O2),
  3. researcher wearing spacesuit working inside etc.
 
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solarz

Brigadier
That was the two grounds I mentioned when Zhou Enlai rejected opening of Qin Shihuang's tomb.


The other reasons I gave is of culture/moral grounds, I admit they can never be proven as the government will not say it laud. The only indirect proof theoretically would be that no bomb being opened today or in the future even though China already possessed sophisticated technology
  1. to build huge one piece structure without supporting pillars,
  2. being air tight, filled with inert gas (remove O2),
  3. researcher wearing spacesuit working inside etc.

I don't think you need to cover the entire tomb, just need to build an airlock around the opening.
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
I don't think you need to cover the entire tomb, just need to build an airlock around the opening.
Cavity type of tomb.
That probably works with the later tombs which are built by bricks to a cavity/chamber big enough to place coffins, big enough like a house. Qing and Ming tombs are such kind. Which is also why they were opened by a door (stone slab) and never opened from the top.

Cavity-less tomb.
However, most earlier tombs are essentially done by digging a huge pit on the ground, placing coffins or very small wooden/stone chamber in it, then fill it by earth and sand, then build earth mount on top of it. Such as Qin and Han tombs. Digging a tunnel to the coffins/chambers would expose them to the element (surrounding earth, moisture and air). A airlock won't make any difference.

Besides, "黄杨题凑" started from early Han dynasty and is the prime type of high value tombs of that time. This type fills the pit with sand rather than earth, the sand is mixed with big rocks, the coffin is put in the middle of the sand, finally the sandy pit is covered by earth mount. Digging a tunnel will not only expose the coffin to the element (sand passes air and moisture better than earth), but also instantly destroy the coffin by crashing it because sand flows, the digger (archaeologists) will be buried by the flowing sand too. That is the purpose of "黄杨题凑", anti-tomb raiders. Even if you manage not to be killed in digging, the buried objects will be severely damaged any way.
 

solarz

Brigadier
Cavity type of tomb.
That probably works with the later tombs which are built by bricks to a cavity/chamber big enough to place coffins, big enough like a house. Qing and Ming tombs are such kind. Which is also why they were opened by a door (stone slab) and never opened from the top.

Cavity-less tomb.
However, most earlier tombs are essentially done by digging a huge pit on the ground, placing coffins or very small wooden/stone chamber in it, then fill it by earth and sand, then build earth mount on top of it. Such as Qin and Han tombs. Digging a tunnel to the coffins/chambers would expose them to the element (surrounding earth, moisture and air). A airlock won't make any difference.

Besides, "黄杨题凑" started from early Han dynasty and is the prime type of high value tombs of that time. This type fills the pit with sand rather than earth, the sand is mixed with big rocks, the coffin is put in the middle of the sand, finally the sandy pit is covered by earth mount. Digging a tunnel will not only expose the coffin to the element (sand passes air and moisture better than earth), but also instantly destroy the coffin by crashing it because sand flows, the digger (archaeologists) will be buried by the flowing sand too. That is the purpose of "黄杨题凑", anti-tomb raiders. Even if you manage not to be killed in digging, the buried objects will be severely damaged any way.

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing!
 

solarz

Brigadier
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Oldest Evidence of Silk Found in 8,500-Year-Old Tombs
The oldest evidence of silk made by silkworms has been found buried in 8,500-year-old tombs in China, revealing that people may have used the luxurious material thousands of years earlier than previously thought, a new study finds.

Silk was a rare luxury good in the ancient world. Its fame helped give a name to the
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, the legendary network of trade routes that
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.

The secret of how to make silk was first discovered in China. According to
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, after a silkworm cocoon dropped into the teacup of the wife of the Yellow Emperor, she found that the cocoon could unravel to yield about 3,300 feet (1 kilometer) of thread.

To learn more about the origins of silk, scientists investigated ruins dating back 9,000 years at Jiahu in the middle of Henan Province in central China. Previously at this site, scientists had unearthed bone flutes that are the earliest known playable musical instruments on Earth, as well as what may be the earliest
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. [
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]

Old tales suggested that silkworm breeding and silk weaving began around this area, said study co-author Decai Gong, an archaeologist at the University of Science and Technology of China at Hefei. In addition, prior work at Jiahu revealed that the area's warm and humid climate favored the growth of mulberry trees, whose leaves are the sole food of silkworms.

The scientists collected soil samples from three tombs at Jiahu. Chemical analyses revealed evidence of silk proteins in two of the three tombs, one of which dated back 8,500 years. This is "the earliest evidence of silk in ancient China," Gong told Live Science. Previously, the oldest evidence of silk dated back 5,000 years from China, the researchers said.

Although it's difficult to figure out exactly how silk was used at this site, the researchers suggested that these people were perhaps buried in silk garments. Evidence supporting that idea came from bone needles and weaving tools found at the site, which suggested that "Jiahu's residents possessed basic weaving and sewing skills," Gong said. "There is a possibility that the silk was made into fabric."

In their future research, the scientists will hunt for other signs of silk at this and other sites, Gong said. He and his colleagues detailed their findings online Dec. 12 in the journal
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.

I find it astounding that silk was used as far back as that! It suggests a level of animal husbandry (to raise the silk worms) and weaving (to turn the silk strands into fabric) that is amazing for a neolithic society.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
For years the western historian and archaeologist dismissed the idea of China's 5000 years civilization . They say lack of written text or any tangible proof. Now the UNESCO just granted the World Heritage site to Liangzhu archaeologist site in Yuhang District of Hangzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, .Effectively now recognizing Chinese claim
People said that yellow river basin is the cradle of Chinese civilization but I also believe southern China exactly Yangtze river delta is the other source of Chinese civilization

14:43, 06-Jul-2019
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Updated 18:31, 06-Jul-2019
Hong Yaobin

China's ancient Liangzhu Archaeological Site was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee during its 43rd session in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on Saturday.

The site, located in Yuhang District of Hangzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, showcases the Chinese civilization of prehistoric rice agriculture that existed between 3300 B.C. and 2300 B.C.


Spanning about 14.34 square kilometers (1,434 hectares) on the plain of river networks at the north foot of southeast China's coastal hilly region, the site includes the archaeological remains and unearthed cultural relics of the Liangzhu Ancient City and an environment of wetland.

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An aerial view of parts of the Liangzhu Archaeological Site in Yuhang District of Hangzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, July 5, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City provide profound and compelling evidence that Chinese civilization started 5,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to Colin Renfrew, a retired professor of archaeology at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of the British Academy.

The World Heritage Committee added Liangzhu to the UNESCO list in order to encourage better protection and preservation of the site, which is considered to be of "outstanding universal value" to humanity.

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A screenshot of the page that shows there are a total of 55 properties across China inscribed on the World Heritage List on unesco.org.

With this new inscription, the World Heritage List now includes 55 properties – 37 cultural, 14 natural and four mixed items – across China, the highest in the world.

Among them are
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, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf (Phase I), and
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– a historic international settlement inscribed two years ago that covers an island in Xiamen in southeast China's Fujian Province.

Window to one of the world's oldest civilizations

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Parts of the historic remains are unearthed at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site in Yuhang District of Hangzhou City, east China's Zhejiang Province, July 5, 2019. /VCG Photo

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The Liangzhu Archaeological Site exhibits the "supreme achievements" of agricultural civilization in the Yellow River and the Yangtze River basins – going back some 5,000 years. /VCG Photo

CG Photo

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The Liangzhu Archaeological Site exhibits the "supreme achievements" of agricultural civilization in the Yellow River and the Yangtze River basins – going back some 5,000 years. /VCG Photo

As an example of Liangzhu culture (3300 BC – 2300 BC), the Liangzhu Archaeological Site is hailed as one of the most important heritage sites of the Neolithic Age in China and is thought to have served as a political, economic, cultural and religious center of China's last Neolithic jade culture.

It is surrounded by a buffer zone covering nearly 100 square kilometers (about 10,000 hectares) comprising of five heritage sites – Yaoshan, Tangshan, Xunshan, Huiguanshan and Yaojiadun.

Tremendous historic remains, such as city walls, foundations of large architecture, tombs, altars, residences, docks and workshops have been found inside and outside of the Liangzhu Ancient City.
 
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Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
cont

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A jade bracelet unearthed at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site. /VCG Photo

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Part of a jade comb unearthed at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site. /VCG Photo

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A jade comb unearthed at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site. /VCG Photo

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Jade necklaces unearthed at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site. /VCG Photo

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A pottery jar unearthed at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site. /VCG Photo
 

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