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Archaeo News 

19 April 2004
Many finds in Northern China desert

Researchers claim that the Badain Jaran Desert in North China was once habitable. Archaeologists draw this conclusion from the large amount of finds and rock paintings excavated in this region.
     Archaeologists of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region have just discovered a site dating from the Paleolithic Age to the Shang (16-11 century BCE) and Zhou (11 century BCE-221 BCE) Dynasties in the eastern border area of the desert, where an unprecedented large amount of stone items of the Alxa Region were unearthed. At the same time, nearly 800 rock paintings were discovered in the southeastern part of the desert.
     "The two new sites are only a small part of the ancient cultural relics discovered in the Badain Jaran Desert," said Gai Shanlin, a research member with the local archaeological research institute. According to Gai ancient settlements were discovered near almost every lake in the desert.
     "Most of those ruins and rock paintings can be dated back to the Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age, when the ecological environment of the region was quite different from now," said Gai. "For most rock paintings are depicting animals such as horses, deer, argali and camels, as well as scenes of riding, herding and hunting," said Gai. "All are strong evidences that from the Paleolithic Age to 2,000 years ago, the region had been an Eden for animals and ancient people," said Gai.
     The cause for the extinction of the Badain Jaran culture is definitely related to the deterioration of the ecological environment, said Gai. According to Gai, about 3,000 years ago, climate of the Inner Mongolian Plateau became cold and dry, resulting in the drying up of many lakes and the expansion of the desert.

Source: China View (17 April 2004)

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