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4 November 2004
Two prehistoric city sites discovered in China

Excavation began in July at the two prehistoric city sites discovered at Puchengdian, in central China's Henan Province. Archeologists have confirmed one of the sites to be more than 4,000 years old, belonging to the Longshan or late Neolithic culture (3000–1700 BCE).  The old city extends over more than 16,000 square meters, with the east, west and south walls still evident.
     A well-preserved 5,000-year-old pottery kiln was unearthed, with kiln chamber, fireplace, workshop and ash pit still relatively intact. Researchers report that this is the best-preserved kiln of its age ever found in China. Since the dig began, more than 400 relics from the Neolithic Age and Xia (c. 2100–1600 BCE), Shang (1600–1100 BCE), Zhou (1100–256 BCE), Han (206 BCE–220 CE) and Song (960–1279 CE) dynasties have been found. About 300 of them have been unearthed, including rare articles made of pottery, bronze, stone, bone and shell. Many foundations of Xia Dynasty buildings were also uncovered.
     Henan Province and Pingdingshan City sponsored the excavation. The Puchengdian ruins, which extend over an area measuring some 150,000 square meters, were declared Henan's first officially protected cultural relic site in 1963. The excavation was completed in October and the government is developing a plan for improving protection of the site.

Source: Xinhua News Agency, China Through a Lens (3 November 2004)

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