Some 13,000 relics unearthed at new Sanxingdui ruins site discovery

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Bronze items discovered at China's Sanxingdui site. [CMG]

Some 13,000 newly unearthed cultural relics have been discovered from six pits in the new round of excavation work at China's ancient ruins site Sanxingdui.

The Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute held a press conference at the Sanxingdui Museum on Monday to announce the results of archaeological excavation at the Sanxingdui site, a major project of "Archaeological China."

The sacrificial area of the ruins is basically confirmed. The Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC) relics distributed in the sacrificial area are all related to sacrificial activities, covering an area of nearly 13,000 square meters.

The sacrificial area includes the No. 1 pit, No. 2 pit excavated in 1986 and the six pits newly discovered between 2020 and 2022. The eight pits are surrounded by rectangular trenches, small circular and rectangular sacrificial pits, as well as trenches in the south and buildings in the northwest.

Nearly 13,000 cultural relics were unearthed from the six pits, including 3,155 relatively complete ones.

As of May 2022, field excavations of pits numbered K3, K4, K5 and K6 have been completed, among which K3 and K4 have entered the finishing stage, K5 and K6 are undergoing laboratory archaeological cleaning, and K7 and K8 are in the extraction stage of buried cultural relics.

A total of 1,293 pieces were unearthed from K3: 764 bronze ware, 104 gold ware, 207 jades, 88 stoneware, 11 pottery pieces, 104 ivory pieces and 15 others.

K4 unearthed 79 pieces: 21 bronzeware, 9 jade pieces, 2 earthenware, 47 ivory pieces

K5 unearthed 23 pieces: 2 bronzeware, 19 gold wares, 2 jade pieces.

K6 unearthed two pieces of jade.

A total of 706 pieces were unearthed from K7: 383 bronzeware, 52 gold ware, 140 jade pieces, 1 stone tool, 62 ivory pieces and 68 others.

K8 unearthed 1,052 items: 68 bronzeware, 368 gold wares, 205 jade pieces, 34 stoneware and 377 ivory pieces.

New discoveries

Microscopic observation found that more than 20 unearthed bronzes and ivory had textiles on the surface.

A small amount of carbonized rice and other plants were found in the ash layer of Pit K4, among which the bamboo subfamily accounted for more than 90 percent.

The burning temperature of the ash layer in Pit K4 is about 400 degrees using infrared temperature measurement.

Ox and wild boar are likely to have been sacrificed.

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