Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baodun culture

The Baodun culture was a Neolithic culture centered on the Chengdu Plain in Sichuan, China. Recently discovered, six settlements from the culture have been found: the type site at Baodun in Xinjin County, the site at Mangcheng in Dujiangyan City, the site at Yufu in Wenjiang County, the site at Zizhu in Chongzhou, the site at Shuanghe in Chongzhou and the site in Pi County. The type site at Baodun is the largest, and covers an area of around 600,000 m?. All of the settlements straddled the . The settlement walls were covered with pebbles, a feature unique to the Baodun culture. The pottery from the culture share some similarities with Sanxingdui.

Zhaobaogou culture

The Zhaobaogou culture was a Neolithic culture in northeast China, found primarily in the Luan River valley in Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei. The culture produced sand-tempered, incised pottery vessels with geometric and zoomorphic designs. The culture also produced stone and clay human figurines.

The type site at Zhaobaogou, excavated in 1986, was discovered in Aohan Banner, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. The site covers an area of around 90,000 m? .

Yangshao culture

The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921 in Henan Province. The culture flourished mainly in the provinces of Henan, Shaanxi and Shanxi.


The subsistence practices of Yangshao people were varied. They cultivated millet extensively; some villages also cultivated wheat or rice. The exact nature of Yangshao agriculture -- small-scale slash-and-burn cultivation versus intensive agriculture in permanent fields, is currently matter of debate. However, Middle Yangshao settlements such as Jiangzhi contain raised floor buildings that may have been used for the storage of surplus grains. They kept such animals as pigs and dogs, as well as sheep, goats, and cattle, but much of their meat came from hunting and fishing. Their stone tools were polished and highly specialized. The Yangshao people may also have practiced an early form of .


The Yangshao culture is well-known for its painted pottery. Yangshao artisans created fine white, red, and black painted pottery with human facial, animal, and geometric designs. Unlike the later Longshan culture, the Yangshao culture did not use pottery wheels in pottery-making. Excavations found that children were buried in painted pottery jars.

Archaeological sites

The archaeological site of Banpo village, near Xi'an, is one of the best-known ditch-enclosed settlements of the Yangshao culture. Another major settlement called Jiangzhai was excavated out to its limits, and archaeologists found that it was completely surrounded by a ring-ditch. Both Banpo and Jiangzhai also yielded controversial incised marks on pottery which a few have interpreted as numerals or perhaps precursors to the Chinese script. However, such conclusions may be premature .


Among the numerous overlapping phases of the Yangshao culture, the most prominent phases, typified by differing styles of pottery, include:
* Banpo phase, approximately 4800 BC to 4200 BC, central plane
* Miaodigou phase, circa 4000 BC to 3000 BC, successor to Banpo
* phase, approximately 3300 BC to 2000 BC, in Gansu, Qinghai
* Banshan phase, approximately 2700 BC to 2300 BC, successor to Majiayao
* phase, approximately 2400 BC to 2000 BC

Xinle culture

The Xinle Civilization was a Neolithic culture in northeast China, found primarily around the lower Liao River on the Liaodong Peninsula in Liaoning. The culture showed evidence of millet cultivation and pig domestication. The type site at Xinle was discovered in the Huanggu District of Shenyang.

It is named after an old inn, in which grounds the remains were first discovered.


The site of the ancient settlement was discovered in the grounds of an old accommodation block for an electrical factory. The accommodation block was called the Xinle Dormitory and hence the discovery was named the Xinle Relic. When it was discovered that the settlement was that of a hitherto unknown civilization, the whole civilization was named after the relic and hence became known as the Xinle civilization. Although more recent discoveries in nearby areas have been extremely significant, especially one in Xinmin, the original name has prevailed.


In 1973, excavations at the site discovered evidence for some 40 neolithic houses. Artefacts uncovered during the dig included stone tools, pottery, jade, bone tools, wood carvings and refined coal.

In 1978, another dig uncovered yet more artefacts, including one wooden carving that was some 7200 years old, presumably a type of totem worshipped by the clan. No other find in the whole of Shenyang has been older, the find is also one of the oldest wooden carvings found anywhere in the world.

The excavations also discovered two tombs from 1000 years ago.


In 1984 the Museum of the Xinle Civilization was founded.

The museum is divided into two sections, north and south. The southern section contains displays of the various artefacts unearthed during the various excavations that have taken place on 44 acre site. The northern section contains a reconstruction of a 7000 year old Xinle village. Some of the houses in the settlement contain representations of life 7000 years ago.


Xinglongwa culture

The Xinglongwa culture was a Neolithic culture in northeastern China, found mainly around the Inner Mongolia-Liaoning border. It is the earliest archaeological culture in China to feature jade objects and to depict . Xinglongwa pottery was primarily cylindrical, and baked at low temperatures.

The Xinglongwa culture showed several signs of communal planning. At three Xinglongwa sites, houses were built in rows. Several Xinglongwa sites also featured a large central building. In addition, several Xinglongwa sites were surrounded by ditches.

The type site at Xinglongwa is located on the southwest side of a hill at Aohan Banner, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia; the site is named after a village 1.3 km to the southeast of the site. 120 pit-houses were discovered at Xinglongwa. Each home had a hearth at its center. Xinglongwa also featured a large building in the center of the village. Xinglongwa is the earliest discovered site in China to be surrounded by a ditch. Xinglongwa also featured an unusual burial custom, as some bodies were buried directly under the houses. Like other Xinglongwa sites, jade objects were also discovered. In the most lavish grave, a man was buried with a pair of pigs, as well as jade objects.

The recently discovered site at Xinglonggou is the only site of the culture to show evidence of any sort of agriculture, with evidence of millet remains.

Qujialing culture

The Qujialing culture was a Neolithic civilisation centered primarily around the middle Yangtze River region in Hubei and Hunan, China. The culture succeeded the Daxi culture and reached southern Shaanxi, northern Jiangxi and southwest Henan. Artefact types unique to the culture include ceramic balls and painted spindle whorls; the later was inherited by the succeeding Shijiahe culture.

The type site at Qujialing was discovered in Jingshan County, Hubei, China. The site was excavated from 1955 to 1957. The remains of chickens, dogs, pigs and sheep were discovered at the site. The remains of fish were discovered in ten storage pits. Egg shell pottery and tripods were also discovered at the site.

Many of the artefacts from the culture are located in the Hubei Provincial Museum.

Prehistoric Beifudi site

The Prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, China, is the excavation of a recently discovered prehistoric Neolithic village that Chinese archaeologists say is one of the most important sites found so far.

This archaeological site was voted Number One in the Top Ten most outstanding archaeological findings in 2004 by Chinese archaeologists in their annual poll.


The most significant discovery in the first phase of the site's excavation is the large number of pottery masks in the shape of human and animal faces, the oldest extant carvings to date. A dozen carved clay masks, in cat, monkey and pig as well as human likenesses, have been unearthed at Beifudi. One mask of a human face has a mouth and nose in carved relief and the eyes are pierced out. The first engraved clay artifacts ever found in ruins of this age, the masks add several millennia to China’s history of . Although the beliefs of these Neolithic people are not known, the early Chinese almost certainly performed ritual ceremonial sacrifices and burned burials on the raised platforms, as both human and animal burials have been found. The masks are believed to be part of the ritual performances accompanying sacrifices and burials.

Excavations in the second phase, dating to 6500–7000 BC include pottery and stone tools, s and small-mouth-double-handled pots.


Drawing on archaeology, geology and anthropology, modern scholars do not see the origins of the Chinese civilization or Chinese history as one story but rather the history of the interactions of many different cultures and many different ethnic groups that influenced each other's development. As the prehistoric Beifudi site is in northern China where the climate is drier than in the south, it is likely that this culture cultivated millet although no direct evidence of cultivation has been found. The finding of stone tools for food processing does not reliably prove that the culture had developed agriculture as such tools were used before the cultivation of crops.

The importance of the prehistoric Beifudi site lies in its potential to provide archaeological information on the beliefs and ceremonial practices of this ancient culture through the ancient carved artifacts found there, as well as further understanding of the beginnings of Chinese architecture.