Excavation unearths glimpse of Western Zhou Dynasty

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An archaeological excavation at the ruins of Dushan in Zhejiang has unveiled 38 tombs, 37 artifact caches, more than 100 pieces of pottery and 25 bronzewares.

The project began in September 2022 and recently drew to a close.

The site is located in Lishui's Yunhe county and the site was identified as belonging to noble families in the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC).

"The bronzewares unearthed in the site are important archaeological discoveries in Zhejiang's research of the Shang and Zhou dynasties," said Chen Minghui, deputy director of the prehistoric archeological office at the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology.

Chen said these precious historical relics provide important materials for the research of culture, bronze smelting and bronze manufacturing during the Western Zhou Dynasty in Zhejiang.

The archaeologist said the most significant discoveries in the tombs were bronzewares, signifying the tombs belonged to noble families.

Excavators not only found proto-porcelain vessels, pots, bowls and millstones in the tombs, but also many precious bronze pieces such as spears, swords, scythes and bells.

"Two bronze artifacts are quite unique. One is a spear with very fine decoration, different from those in Central China. The other is a sword, which is relatively large for that time," Chen said.

The ruins of Dushan are located on the half-slope of Yunhe's Xiaxiaoqiao village and form the shape of a letter "L". This location is of great significance for transportation, especially external exchanges in ancient times.

The archaeologist said exploration in Yunhe has gradually illustrated the history of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), Western and Eastern Jin dynasties (226-420) as well as the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

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