China's top 10 archaeological findings of 2000 were selected
from 40 candidates from more than 400 archaeological projects
undertaken last year. Sponsored by the China Archaeology Society,
the China Relics News and the Guangming Daily, the
decision was made by an expert panel of leading Chinese
Zhang Zhongpei, the former curator of the Forbidden City (Palace
Museum) and a member of the panel, said that Chinese archaeologists
harvested significant findings last year.
"Our criteria is that the findings must be new," or show "new
materials for certain study."
In chronological order, the top best findings are:
1. A Paleolithic site in Wanshou Cliff, Sanming, in East
China's Fujian Province.
Archaeologists unearthed a Paleolithic site in two grottoes in
Sanming, west Fujian. The discovery has pushed back the history of
mankind in the area by 180,000 years.
Traces of ancient Chinese in the Old Stone Age 200,000 years ago
and stone-paved surfaces were also found. The surfaces were
previously unknown in China and are also rare.
More than 800 objects of stone, bone and fossil have been found
at the site with a total area of 4,000 square meters, including 70
stone implements and a large number of animal fossils. The same
kind of stone implements have also been found in Taiwan, which
proves that Taiwan and the Chinese mainland share a common
2. The prehistoric site of the Longshan Culture (2500-1700
BC) in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province.
The ruins of the 4,000-year-old city on the outskirts of
Lianyungang, a coastal city in east China's Jiangsu Province, cover
a total area of approximately 14,000 square meters. Archaeologists
have already excavated an area of about 4,000 square meters.
They unearthed the remains of a moat, the outer and inner city
walls, two roads, foundations of more than 35 houses, and paddy
fields, carbonized rice and more than 2,000 objects of pottery,
stone and jade of the Longshan Culture.
The Longshan Culture, discovered largely in eastern and central
China, represents a critical period for the origin of civilization
in China, with the appearance of city sites as its significant
characteristic. Up to now, dozens of sites confirmed to be
prehistoric cities have been unearthed in the central plains and
southern areas of China.
With the well-preserved layout, the city site is considered a
good sample for research of prehistoric towns in China.
3. The town site of the Longshan Culture in Xinmi, Henan
Province in central China.
Located at the Guchengzhai Village, about 35 kilometers
southeast of Xinmi in Henan, the site has the largest fortified
town ruins of the Longshan Culture ever found in central China,
with the best preserved city wall.
The Guchengzhai site covers an area of 176,500 square meters.
The current excavation exposes an area of more than 1,000 square
The southern, northern and eastern sections of the city wall
have been very well-preserved. The moat was found at the south,
north and east sides of the city.
Archaeologists also dug out four dwelling foundations, four
potters' kilns, five tombs, eight wells, 153 storage pits and a
large number of daily utensils made out of stone, bone, shell and
The ruins date back to the late Longshan Culture and have a link
with the Xia culture. The Xia (2000-1600 BC) marks the end of
prehistory and the start of civilization in China. So the findings
are important to the research of the Xia culture and the origin of
4. Ancient tombs of pre-Qin (221-206 BC) period in Hengling
Ridge in Boluo County, south China's Guangdong Province.
Archaeologists have excavated 306 graves dating before the Qin
Dynasty (221-206 BC) in the Hengling Ridge in Boluo of Guangdong
Province. They contained more than 1,000 objects including pottery,
bronze, jade, crystal and iron.
Researchers claim that the findings prove the history of the
civilization of the Five Ridges Region, another name for
present-day Guangdong Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Region, may have existed more than 3,000 years ago, which goes back
farther than previously thought.
5. The palace site of Longwan, Qianjiang, Hubei
Archaeologists excavated an area of 3.24 million square meters
and found 19 palatial building foundations which cover a total area
of more than 210,000 square meters. Rare remains of three
shell-studded roads with a total length of 33 meters and a complete
subterranean drainage network were also found at the site.
Fragments of pottery and copper ware were also found.
The remains of the palace dates back to the late period of the
Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Its large scale, unique wood
and earth structure, and asymmetrical layout are unique in
6. The tomb of the ancient kingdom of Shu in Chengdu, Sichuan
Located in downtown Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, the tomb
probably belonged to a member of the royal family or even a king of
the kingdom of Shu, a state in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771
BC) comprising the present-day Chengdu area in southwest China's
Archaeologists dug out a large number of exceptional boat-shaped
coffins and single-log coffins, which are the first found in China.
The burial method of the tomb was also previously unknown.
The coffins contained several hundred exotic objects of pottery,
lacquer, bronze, bamboo and wood. Beautiful lacquer articles rank
the best among lacquer ware of the Warring States Period (475-221
BC) found in China, with a variety shapes and rich decoration.
Dating between the late period of the Spring and Autumn Period
and the early period of the Warring States Period, the lacquer
artifacts have pushed back the history of Chengdu as one of the
country's lacquer ware production centers by 300-400 years.
The remains of the tomb reveal the attributes of the elite in
the kingdom of Shu at the height of its prosperity.
7. The affiliated and sacrificial pits of the Luozhuang
Mausoleum of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD), Zhangqiu, Shandong
The Luozhuang Mausoleum, about one-kilometer away from Luozhuang
Village of Zhangqiu, in east China's Shandong Province, has the
biggest tombs of princes of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-25AD)
Although the main coffin chamber has not yet been excavated, the
excavation of 32 affiliate sacrificial pits has brought over 3,000
exceptional objects of bronze, copper, iron, gold, lacquer, bone,
terracotta and wooden figurines to light. The pits rank first in
numbers of funerary goods among all of the tombs of the Han Dynasty
unearthed in China.
In addition, a set of percussion instruments and stringed
instruments were dug-up from an affiliated pit, including a set of
19-piece chime stones which outnumbered the total pieces found in
the previous excavations of tombs of the Han Dynasty.
8. The site of ancient altar buildings in Zhongshan
Hill, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.
Archaeologists excavated the site of two altars and a group of
attached buildings in the Zhongshan Hill of Nanjing. Covering an
area of 20,000 square meters with a north-south axis stretching
over 300 meters, the site dates between the late period of Eastern
Jin Dynasty (317-420) and the Song period (420-479) of Southern
Dynasties (420-589). It is confirmed to be the earliest site of
ancient altar buildings found in China.
9. The site of Lin'an City Hall of Southern Song Dynasty
(1127-1279) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Lin'an is one of the ancient names of present-day Hangzhou, the
capital of east China's Zhejiang Province. It was the capital of
the Southern Song Dynasty.
According to historical documents, the Lin'an City Hall was
begun in 1130 and had been the city's political center for 780
In May-June of 2000, archaeologists found the site of the
mansion. They excavated an area of more than 1,070 square meters
and found the remains of a complex of buildings including a hall, a
courtyard, a garden, a side hall and alleyways. They unearthed
large numbers of components of buildings, daily utensils and
equipment for training soldiers.
Researchers considered the findings an important breakthrough
for the archaeology of ancient Lin'an City.
10. The ruins of the Ruguan porcelain kiln (A
state-owned kiln which produced porcelain articles exclusively for
the royal family) in Qingliangsi, Baofeng, Henan
Local archaeologists excavated an area of 475 square meters at
the government kiln ruins and found the production area of the
famous kiln. They cleaned out 15 kilns, two workshops, 22 clay
pits, a well and a large number of fragments of porcelain articles.
Many were new and rare shapes of porcelain.
Researchers think the discovery has significant meaning for
research into porcelain.