Archaeological Discoveries
in 2001
Archaeological Discoveries
in 2000
Top Ten Archaeological Finds
for 1999
Archaeological Discoveries
in 1999

Sanxingdui Used to Be a Pilgrimage Center

  Sacrificial offerings unearthed at the Sanxingdui, an important relic site in southwest China's Sichuan Province, have proven that the site used to be a pilgrimage center in the world during ancient times.

  Zhang Jizhong, deputy curator of the Sichuan Provincial Sanxingdui Museum, said that Chinese archaeologists have excavated a piece of shell during the ongoing excavation of the site, dating back between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago.

  Zhang said that the shell and a great number of seashells and ivories unearthed here previously came from various places around the world. "This means that Sanxingdui was a pilgrimage center in the world in ancient times," Zhang noted.

  A great number of bronze ware and jade ware have been unearthed at the site, located in the city of Guanghan, Sichuan Province.

  Zhang Jizhong said the majority of the bronze ware excavated at the site are sacrificial utensils, which feature the culture of different regions.

  Bronze sculptures and crutches unearthed at the site have close relations with the world's famous Mayan Civilization and the culture of ancient Egypt.

  Experts said the Chinese bronze ware is divided into seven categories, but none of the seven can include the bronze wares unearthed at the site. Much of the bronze ware discovered at Sanxingdui have never been seen in other places of China, they said.

  Experts believe the seashells and ivories excavated at the site between 1986 and 1988 were brought to the site by pilgrims for worshipping and barter trade.

  They confirmed that the ancient kingdom of Sanxingdui had trade relations with ancient western Asian countries such as Persia and Egypt, and from other parts of the world.

  However, what surprised Chinese experts is that there is no historical record of the sacrificial pits, built in the Shang Dynasty (BC 16th Century-BC 11th Century), excavated at the site.

  They have not found any characters except some signs on golden crutches.

  Chinese archaeologists have been conducting a large-scale excavation of the site since December 4.

(Xinhua 12/14/2000)