China's top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2012 Published: 2013-4-10 20:15:00

Chinese authorities on Tuesday announced the top 10 archaeological discoveries made in 2012, with the earliest dating back to the Paleolithic era.

1. Sunjiadong Paleolithic Site
Sunjiadong Paleolithic Site

Name: Sunjiadong Paleolithic Site 

Period: Paleolithic Age (about 2.6 million to 10,000 years ago)

Location: Luanchuan county, Henan Province

Relics: A rare mix of fossils and stoneware dating to the early Paleolithic Age 

Significance: The discovery of the Sunjiadong Paleolithic Site is a milestone in Paleolithic archeology. Discovered in 2008 during China’s third national survey of cultural relics, it has now been listed as an immovable cultural relic.

2. Shunshanji Neolithic Site
Shunshanji Neolithic Site

Name: Shunshanji Neolithic Site 


Period: Neolithic Age (8,000 years ago)


Location: Sihong county, Jiangsu Province


Relics: A host of important historical remains and relics, including 92 Neolithic tombs

Significance: The discovery and excavation of the Shunshanji Neolithic Site is an archeological breakthrough that sheds light on the prehistoric cultural genealogy along the middle and lower reaches of the Huaihe River. It also offers opportunities to explore the cultural communication and integration among the eastern regions of China. The site went through three excavations in 2010, 2011 and 2012, with a total exaction area of 2,750 square meters.

3.  Liujiazhai Neolithic Site
Liujiazhai Neolithic Site

Name: Liujiazhai Neolithic Site

Period: Late Neolithic Age

Location: Jinchuan county, Sichuan Province

Relics: 278 ash pits, 20 house sites, 26 kiln sites and bountiful pottery pieces, animal bones and stoneware

Significance: Situated along the upper reaches of the Daduhe River in Sichuan Province, southwestern China, the Liujiazhai Neolithic Site offers new specimens for research on the spread of culture in the Hengduan Mountains. It also serves as a benchmark for establishing studies of Sichuan Neolithic archeology.

4. Shimao Ruins
Shimao Ruins

Name: Shimao Ruins

Period: late Longshan Period (about 2350 to 1950 BC) to Xia Dynasty (C.2070–C.1600BC)

Location: Shenmu county, Shaanxi Province

Relics: Well preserved stone walls, gates and other city defense buildings 

Significance: Its discovery offers brand new specimens to explain the origins of Chinese civilization and its evolution, while helping further our understanding of the diversity of early Chinese civilizations.

5. Adunqiaolu Relic Site and Tombs
Adunqiaolu Relic Site and Tombs

Name: Adunqiaolu Relic Site and Tombs

Period: 1900 to 1700 BC

Location: Wenquan county, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 

Relics: Pottery pieces, stones, bronzes and gold-plated earrings

Significance: It establishes for the first time links in Xinjiang between ruins and tombs in the early Bronze Age, while offering material for the exploration of the development of ancient societies in the Eurasian steppes.

6. Lingshenghu Han Dynasty Tombs
Lingshenghu Han Dynasty Tombs

Name: Lingshenghu Han Dynasty Tombs

Period: Han Dynasty (206BC–220AD) 

Location: Dingtao county, Shandong Province 

Significance: It is the largest and best preserved tomb of its kind that features box-shaped cedar wood structures common in the imperial mausoleums of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC–25AD), making it a prime example of such tombs of the era.

7. Ancient Xing Kiln Site
Ancient Xing Kiln Site

Name: Ancient Xing Kiln Site


Period: Sui Dynasty (581-618) to Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)


Location: Neiqiu county, Hebei Province 


Relics: 11 furnaces, 140 ash pits, 6 ash grooves, 34 wells, 22 tombs, 200,000 pieces of porcelain ware and Kiln furniture fragments.

Significance: It is a breakthrough discovery of the center of the ancient Xing Kiln Site as recorded in antiquity.

8. Xishanpo Buddhist Temple Ruins
Xishanpo Buddhist Temple Ruins

Name: Xishanpo Buddhist Temple Ruins 

Period: Liao (916-1125)

Location: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 

Relics: Vividly colored and gilded clay sculptures 

Significance: As the largest-scale excavation of the Liao cities, it offers significant material for the study of the archeology, history, Buddhism and the architecture of the Liao minority.

9. Site of the Old Drum Tower and Government Office
Site of the Old Drum Tower and Government Office

Name: Site of the Old Drum Tower and Government Office 

Period: Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Republic of China (1912–1949)

Location: Yuzhong district in Chongqing

Relics: 261 historical remains including house sites, wells, roads, ash pits and 9,000-odd pieces (sets) of earthen ware, porcelain ware, coins and crucibles. 

Significance: Standing witness to nearly the entire history of the city’s settlement, the site fills the major gaps in Chongqing’s urban archeology.

10. Hailongtun Site
Hailongtun Site

Name: Hailongtun Site

Period: Song Dynasty (960–1279) to Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)

Location: Zunyi, Guizhou Province 

Significance: It serves as a complete record of policy shifts of the successive central governments adopted in ethnic minority areas.



Posted in: Society, Discovery, China

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