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13 August 2005
The Qingliang Temple Neolithic cemetery

A large number of Neolithic graves have been dug up in the Ruicheng County, North China's Shanxi Province. The finding was chosen as one of '10 archaeological discoveries in China' in 2004.
     Xue Xinmin, associate research fellow with the Institute of Archaeology, Shanxi Province, said the Qingliang Temple graveyard in Ruicheng belongs to the 'Potou site', and is some 20 kilometers away from the county seat of Ruicheng. It was first found in 1955 and announced in 1965 as one of the major cultural relics protection units of Shanxi Province, covering an area of nearly 5,000 square meters.
     The units including the Institute of Archaeology unearthed the graves from late autumn of 2003 to the early winter of 2004. The excavation was located at the northeast part of the graveyard. Archeologists made a detailed survey on the graves, and then dug them one by one from the west to the east in the densest tombs area. By the end of 2004, 262 graves were uncovered.
     Of all the uncovered, one third of them were found with funerary objects, ranging from one to 16 pieces. Generally the objects were laid around the heads, two upper limbs, abdomen and one side of lower limbs. Most of the articles are jade ones while others include stone axes and jade ornaments. The unearthed jade objects are in different quality: some are polished and others transparent.
     A small number of pottery objects have been found in the tombs too. According to experts' analysis, the pottery pots belong to the 'Miaodigou culture': the culture between Yangshao and Longshan cultures. As the culture is discovered at the Miaodigou of Shanxian County, Henan Province, so comes the name.

Source: People's Daily Online (8 August 2005)

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