After two months' careful study, a group of experts concluded Wednesday that Xuwen county in south China's Guangdong Province is the very site for the port where trade boats embarked on the maritime Silk Road.
The earliest available historical record on the maritime Silk Road is in a geographical book dating back to the Han Dynasty (BC206-220AD), in which it says envoys sent by the emperor set out from a harbor called "Xuwen."
Study of relics around Xuwen show that they belonged to the Han Dynasty, and among them were some building materials only officials would afford to use at the time. Moreover, geographical features show that the relics came likely from a port town.
Studies of relics unearthed also show that the local economy developed to such an extent that there was quite a massive gathering of people in the place and officials were sent in to take charge of the place.
(People's Daily 03/08/2001)