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20 January 2006
Early Neolithic site found in western Beijing

A site dating back about 10,000 years offers new clues about the development of people living in northern China in the early Neolithic period. The excavation of Donghulin Site, located in Zhaitang Town, Mentougou District, in the western suburbs of Beijing, fills the archaeological gap after the discovery of the Upper Cave Man, a type of primitive man who lived in the late Paleolithic about 20,000 years ago and whose fossil remains were found in 1933 at Zhoukoudian in western Beijing.
    The Donghulin Site was excavated by archaeologists from Beijing University and the Institute of Archaeology of Beijing. An ancient tomb and remains of houses have been found at the site, said Zhao Chaohong, a professor with Beijing University. Archaeologists have unearthed many stone instruments, earthenware, boneware, as well as a large number of bones from deer, pigs and other animals, Zhao said.
    "Mussel shell decorations have been found. One of the biggest shells was about 30 centimeters long, which showed that ancient Beijing was warm and had plentiful water resources," said Zhao. Archaeologists have also discovered hematite pigments and a stone abrader used to grind the pigments. "But we still don't know what the pigments were used for," saidZhao.
    In a well preserved tomb at the site, the remains of the tomb owner, legs flexed, were unearthed. A small stone axe and a necklace made of spiral shells were buried with the body, Zhao said. He noted that another important discovery at the site was that relics of chipped stone implements were found in the lower stratum of the site, which may date back to an earlier age.
    Chen Xingcan, a researcher with the Institute of Archaeology ofthe Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: "Almost all types of Neolithic cultural relics have been found at Donghulin Site."

Source: China View (17 January 2006)

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