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Architects urge permanant awning to protect Peking Man site
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Architects have urged that a big awning be built to protect an archaeological site in suburban Beijing where the world-famous skulls of Peking Man were found in the early 20th century.

Architects from a Liaoning design institute and Qinghua University have separately offered plans for such a structure, whose main frame would be steel and glass, at Zhoukoudian, 80 kilometers southwest of Beijing, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Thursday.

The shelter would cover the cave where the famous archaeologist, Pei Wenzhong, stumbled upon the first complete human-like ape skull in December 1929.

In 1936, technician Jia Lanpo, who later became an archaeologist, excavated three other Peking Man skulls in succession. The finds in Beijing attracted worldwide academic attention.

The design from the Liaoning group would provide visitors with clear views, while the Qinghua plan, with a larger area of 1,100 square meters, more thoroughly integrates the frame and structure with the surroundings.

The Qinghua architects designed the shape of the tent to resemble that of the Peking Man skulls, the newspaper said.

Any change at the site must be approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, experts said. Previous attempts to build a shelter for the site have been opposed by archaeologists, who have said that doing so would destroy the original look.

The site's management has already set up a makeshift tent of 300 sq m, which they said was needed to provide protection from the weather.

(Xinhua News Agency March 28,2008)

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