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19 March 2006
Ruins of 4,500-year-old cities discovered in Shaanxi

Chinese archaeologists have now discovered the ruins of 29 hamlets and towns that date back more than 4,500 years ago. Located in the northern part of Shaanxi, the ancient communities were built on hills and cover an area of between 100,000 sqm to 400,000 sqm. The ruins show that people had mastered building techniques and had constructed houses and stone walls around their community, said Wang Weilin, a research fellow with Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Research Institute. The discovery of the ancient site will help scientists better understand the relationship between hamlets and the environment during the Neolithic period, Wang said.
    Archaeologists used GPS technologies to identify the ruins and made excavations at seven of the sites. Wang said they had unearthed the foundations of 96 houses at a 300,000 sqm site that covered three hills. Stone stairs were shared by people living on two of the three hills, and the ruins of an ancient altar provided important materials for studying architecture styles of the prehistoric buildings, Wang said.
    Archaeologists also found the ruins of a hamlet covering about 100,000 sqm, which consists of rows of houses nestled at the same elevation on the slope of four hills. The community walls were formed by two to four layers of stone. Some walls are 400 meters long.

Source: China View (18 March 2006)

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