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20 July 2003
Neolithic skeleton unearthed in South China

An intact, 5,000-year-old male skeleton, positioned face up with limbs extended, has been discovered at the Haogang Neolithic site in South China’s Guangdong Province. Experts say he was an inhabitant of the Pearl River delta in the south-central part of Guangdong.
     Archaeologists discovered the site in the 1980s, and since excavations began this past April 15, archaeologists with the Guangdong Provincial Cultural Heritage, the Archaeological Research Institute, and the Dongguan City Museum have uncovered large quantities of pottery and stone, bone and mussel tools.
     According to Feng Mengqin, head of the excavation team, based on these unearthed materials, the Haogang site has been determined to be the earliest human-inhabited site on the Pearl River delta.
     "The Haogang site has residential housing, designated sites for public activities, areas for garbage disposal, and a designated burial area, indicating that human beings lived in the Pear River delta more than 5,000 years ago", said Feng.
     Numerous oyster shells, fish bones and fishing tools have also been excavated, indicating these inhabitants depended on fishing instead of farming. These discoveries, as well as the skeleton, are vital to the study of the origins of the culture of the Lingnan area, located south of the Five Ridges that compose Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China. They also provide evidence for the study of the relationship among the ancient civilizations in the Pacific Ocean area.

Source: People’s Daily Online (12 July 2003)

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