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20 February 2005
Late Neolithic site may be ancient Chinese capital

Archaeologists claim that the large-scale city remains they discovered in Dengfeng in central China's Henan Province may be the ruins of Yangcheng, capital of King Yu, founder of the Xia Dynasty (21st century BCE - 16th BCE). The discovery was made during the excavations of ruins at Wangchenggang site near Dengfeng from 2002 to 2004, which was cooperatively made by archaeologists from the School of Archaeology and Museology of Beijing University and the Henan Provincial Research Institute of Archeology.
     Covering 300,000 square meters, the remains include the ruins of a city, a moat and a city wall. Preliminary age dating found that the city site belongs to the late Longshan period, a late Neolithic culture which can be dated back to the 21st Century BCE. "Because the period was generally recognized as the Xia Dynasty, the large city ruins have enough reasons to be judged as the site of King Yu's capital, whether from the location recorded in history or from the scale of the city," said Liu Xu, professor of the School of Archaeology and Museology of Beijing University and head of the excavation team.
     Archaeologists have also unearthed relics such as sacrificial pits with human bones, human skulls used for sacrifice and buried under the moat and long hollow pieces of jade with rectangular sides and white pottery, which demonstrated the noble status of the owner. "These discoveries suggest that the city may have been a major settlement for people in central China some 4,000 years ago," said Fang Yanming, a research fellow with the Henan Provincial ResearchInstitute of Archeology.
     The Wangchenggang site, which is now supposed to be the Yangcheng, was discovered in 1959 and became famous in 1977 when archaeologists excavated a small city to the northeast of the newly discovered big city, and relics including fragments of bronze wares, inscribed characters and a dozen foundation pits buried with humans skeletons. "There are still many questions waiting to be answered," Fang said.

Source: China View (15 February 2005)

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