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31 January 2011
Largest Neolithic structure yet found in NW China

The remains of a large building were recently unearthed at the Xiahe site in Baishui county, Shaanxi province, in Northwestern China. The structure is thought to have been constructed between 5,000-3,000 years BCE and is part of China's ancient Yangshao culture. According to Zhang Pengcheng, a researcher with the Shaanxi Archaeological Research Institute, this area of Northwestern China, along the Baishui and Xia rivers, contains other Yangshao sites.
     The newly-discovered structure, covering 364 sq. meters, could potentially hold hundreds of people. Another feature indicating the possibility of some sort of a communal purpose, such as a meeting hall, was a 1.8 m. fireplace in its center. Zhang remarked that there are other features which make this structure 'quite special', including its pentagonal shape, the presence of both outer and inner walls, and a calcite-plastered floor. Additionally, there are indications at the site that suggest the building was moved from its location, rather than abandoned.
     The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China, and is named after the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921 in Henan Province by the Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson.

Edited from Xinhuanet.com, People's Daily (25 January 2011), People's Daily (26 January 2011)

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