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18 June 2006
Hemudu influences in prehistoric Philippines

The Hemudu excavation site in Hangzhou, China, accidentally discovered by construction workers in 1973 chronicles the early Neolithic past of China’s civilization. In the Philippines, the discovery of the Hemudu culture is especially significant because it provides a more complete glimpse into the origins of Southeast Asian culture, particularly the rice culture.
     The Hemudu site covers 40,000 square meters. Two excavations in 1973 and 1979 unearthed around 7,900 objects. Carbon-dating tests on the relics from the deepest layer, which is four meters, reveal a Hemudu culture at least 7,000 years old. The relics consist of human skeletons, large amounts of grain or man-grown rice, farm implements, tools, timber, architectural structures, remains of animals, plants and fruits, and even primitive artistic carvings on wood and metal. This latest archaeological discovery corrects the traditional thinking that China's culture began solely in the Yellow River basin and conclusively proves the multipoint origin of Chinese culture. For Asians, the Hemudu culture points to the Yangtze River as another focal point of Chinese culture, which was transmitted to other parts of Asia, especially Southeast Asia. The Hemudu discovery is also significant to the study of the origins of man's most basic livelihood and survival skills—food, clothing, shelter and transportation. More important, it opens up a source of new information on the study of the maritime silk route in China and in the spread of Chinese culture to the Philippines and worldwide through the Manila-Acapulco-Latin-America connection.

Source: The Manila Times (10 June 2006)

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