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Experts find more from Xia Dynasty dig

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-28 08:58

The remains of a palace and barns dating back about 4,000 years have been found at two important archaeological sites in Central China's Henan province, archaeologists said last week.

The two sites — the Zhuqiu Temple and the Xinmi ancient city site — are believed to have been built in the Xia Dynasty (c.21st century-16th century BC). The discoveries have provided archaeologists with further data on the activities and structures of that period.

The ruins of the Xinmi ancient city were discovered in 1997 on the eastern bank of the Zhentou River, covering a rectangular area of 176,000 square meters. It is believed to be a large-scale, well-preserved city built in the late period of the Longshan culture, a civilization found in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River.

Archaeologists at the site have discovered a rammed-earth foundation structure they believe to be part of the city's ancient palace compound. Measuring 60 meters long and 30 meters wide, and covering about 1,800 square meters, it is high at the center and low on all four sides, with a flat surface and rows of column holes evenly distributed.

"From the holes, we believe that the foundation belonged to a house complex with terraces in the south and north, cloisters in the east and west, and a yard at the center," says Li Bo, head of the excavation team.

Rammed-earth remains were found to the east of the foundation, which archaeologists say is part of the same building cluster.

"Our previous excavation results showed that the central eastern area of the ancient city was the core of the complex," Li says. "The remains, together with the foundations of a palace and corridor, constitute a complex in the quadrangle style."

He notes that the findings could improve people's understanding about the layout of ancient cities, and provide evidence for studies of the origin and development of the Xia Dynasty's palace buildings.

Archaeologists working at the Zhuqiu Temple site have unearthed more than 100 relics, including the remains of ash pits, ditches and architecture. The settlement venue dates back to the late Longshan culture period and the Xia Dynasty.

Among the findings, there are remains of two circular buildings consisting of earth columns and adobe walls that were used for grain storage, with a similar age and structure to the barns in the early Xia Dynasty. Fang Lixia, who led the excavation team, says that the discovery will provide new material for studying the development of dry farming agriculture, grain storage technology and the history of barn building in ancient northern China.

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