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Archaeologists Show off Amazing Finds in China

Archaeologists in China have made a significant discovery in the form of Shang Dynasty tombs containing over 200 precious burial objects. The artifacts, which include jades, golds, and carved bone, were found at a site on the Loess Plateau in north-central China.

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This vast site, spanning 11 hills in Shaanxi province, dates back approximately 3,200 years ago. It was home to a regional power during the Bronze Age Shang dynasty, which existed from 1600 to 1046 B.C.E. The excavation has been hailed as a major breakthrough in Shang dynasty archaeology.

Shang Dynasty

The ongoing excavation, which began in June 2022, has already yielded remarkable results. Archaeologists have unearthed more than 200 burial objects. All these help shed light on the site’s political and cultural relationship with the Shang dynasty capital, Yinxu.

fish
An inlaid turquoise ornament found in the Shaanxi province. (Photo Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology WeChat)

Yinxu is located around 350 miles east on the banks of the Yellow River, in China’s central plains. The site on the Loess Plateau is the largest of its kind discovered in the area.

Finds

Of particular interest are the nine tombs belonging to high-ranking nobility. Inside these tombs, a wealth of precious items has been found, including accessories attached to horses and chariots. Other items include a swallow-shaped ornament with turquoise inlay, bone tools adorned with animal patterns and gold earrings. Weapons including copper arrowheads and axes were also discovered. The discovery of late Shang dynasty horse and chariot accessories on the Loess Plateau is a significant one. This provides insights into the development of burial customs during that period.

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The similarities in stylistic elements between the bronze, lacquerware, and bone objects found at this site and those previously discovered at other Shang dynasty sites, including Yinxu, are noteworthy.

Ear rings
A pair of gold earrings found by archaeologists in the Shaanxi province in China (Photo: Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology on WeChat)

The Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology, in a post on WeChat, China’s social media app, stated that the preliminary archaeological work has revealed a highly developed bronze civilization in northern Shaanxi during the late Shang dynasty. This civilization was closely related to the Yinxu culture of the Central Plains, surpassing previous understanding.

Ongoing Finds

The archaeological findings at the Shang Dynasty site in northern Shaanxi hold great significance in exploring the political and geographical structure of the Shang Dynasty.

Jade
A wonderfully carved jade brooch (Photo: Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology on WeChat)

The Shang dynasty, supported by solid archaeological and textual evidence, represents China’s earliest known dynasty. The recent excavations in Shaanxi are part of a broader rediscovery of the Shang dynasty, with other sites being explored in Beijing, Hebei province, and Henan province. The National Cultural Heritage Administration of China has been overseeing these excavations, further enriching our understanding of this ancient civilization.

The ongoing discoveries in China provide invaluable insights into the material culture, customs, and political dynamics of the Shang dynasty.

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These archaeological findings not only contribute to our knowledge of ancient China but also highlight the significance of preserving and studying cultural heritage. They allow us to connect with the past, unravel its mysteries, and appreciate the accomplishments of our ancestors. The continued efforts of archaeologists in China are vital in unravelling the complexities of ancient civilizations and fostering a deeper understanding of human history.

4 Comments

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