China’s top 10 archaeological findings for 2018 released

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/30 12:20:02

China's "Oscar Awards" for archaeological findings has released its final awarding list on Friday in Beijing, catching the attention from scholars, institutions of cultural relics and aficionados.

Jointly organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Institute of Archaeology and China Cultural Relics News, the award is always considered a platform for displaying the greatest discoveries and achievements in 2018.

The top 10 discoveries range from the Neolithic period to the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911).

Selected from 34 discoveries recommended by local archaeological institutes, the 10 sites come from 9 provinces and regions in China, ranging from the far west Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to the South China's Guangdong Province. 

Prehistoric discoveries

Among the 10 sites, four of them are from the prehistoric period, and revealed valuable information that fills in the void of certain realms in prehistoric studies.  

The Qingtang Ruins in Yingde County in Guangdong Province was the first discovery released on Friday, which was believed to be valuable for the study of early Neolithic settlement patterns in south China, as well as early pottery skills and prehistoric cultural exchanges in Southeast Asia.

Discovered in Shayang county, Central China's Hubei Province, Chenghe Neolithic Ruins supplies the absence of the large-scale cemetery in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river, which also contributes to the Burial rituals' research of the early Qujialing cultures (3300 BC-2600 BC). 

Founded in the Lushanmao Neolithic Ruins in Yan'an, Shaanxi Province, the large artificial rammed earth foundations and courtyards could be regarded as the earliest prototype of palace and temple of China. 

In the Jartai Pass remains in Nilka County, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, some relics related to copper and iron smelting have been founded, which was considered as precious for exploring handicraft production and east-west exchanges in the Bronze Age of the Yili river basin. Meanwhile, the remains of coal burning pushes back the history of human coal use by about 1,000 years.

Precious material 

Liujiawa Eastern Zhou Ruins, excavated in Shaanxi Province, contains ruins of the capital city of the late Rui, which was a vassal state of the Zhou Dynasty (770 BC-256 BC), filling the void of the late Rui's history.  

The Taizicheng Ancient City Remains, discovered in the Chongli district of Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei Province, is believed to be the largest high-standard city site of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), which is important for the architecture research of the Jin Dynasty. 

In east China's Jiangsu Province, the Huangsipu ruins, the unearthed tiles, and porcelain shreds told the story of a once-thriving port. Some scholars believe that a temple discovered at the site was related to the 6th Japan tour of Monk Jianzhen, who has made great contributions to cultural communication between China and Japan. 

The discovery of the underwater remains of a Zhiyaun warship during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) in Northeast China's Liaoning Province was also inspiring. The archaeological team has figured out its materials and installation methods, which provided powerful insights for China's modern history and the development of the Chinese navy.

The new standard

According to the jury, the final selection was special and strict.  

"We highlighted the site's contributions to the systematic understanding of Chinese culture, which must include the historical values, academic value and scientific value," Song Xinchao, Deputy Director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China (SACH), said at the press conference. 

Archaeologist Li Boqian mentioned the educational value of archaeological findings, which he thought is significant.

 "We tend to select discoveries that have rich cultural content, providing valuable supplement for our history and making people proud… in addition to this kind of education, we are also in favor of those that can promote our patriotism education, for example, the underwater remains of the Zhiyuan warship."

The former director of the Institute of Archaeology of CASS, Liu Qingzhu, noted that he is looking for the change of rescue excavation into protection excavation when taking the Lushanmao Neolithic Ruins as an example.

 "The site is pretty close to Yan'an city, they (Lushanmao's team) will make it a heritage park. It is not an ordinary park for entertainment, it is more like a research base for both excavation and visits."

"The top 10 discoveries have more breakthroughs…as we know, archaeology, involving the study of natural history and social history, so we were also stressing the significance of promoting discipline and filling the gap," another former director of Institute of Archaeology of CASS, Wang Wei, told the Global Times. 

According to Wang, he gave importance the approach and methods of research and collecting materials.

"The application of new methods and theories, the use of technical means of natural science, including surveying and mapping, remote sensing is also important to archaeology… that's what a good archaeological finding should have, that's what we value."



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