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China Lays out Protection Plans for Peking Man Site

The management administration of the Peking Man site has outlined plans to protect and upgrade the well-known paleo-anthropological ruins, dating back to some 500, 000 years ago.

In response to criticisms of negligence from academic circles and visitors, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleo-anthropology released Friday a plan for restoration of the site, which became famous after Chinese scientists excavated a handful of fossilized Peking Man skulls in the late 1920s and 1930s.

Gao Xing, a CAS research professor who is now in charge of the restoration project, said that his institute plans to check all possible hazards to the treasured ruins and keep the site attractive to international scientists and visitors.

Gao said that any proposals for the site must benefit its long- term preservation as well as further excavation and academic research.

Western scientists found the site and tried to dig in 1921. Since 1927, Chinese and Western researchers had carried out continuous excavation.

With so many precious fossils of ape-like human skulls, stone tools, and mammal bones which showed a high level of civilization in the remote past, modern scientists still believe there are possible important finds underground.

Gao said that most of the ground at the site remained intact.

According to the CAS protection plan, neighboring factories and mines should be banned, and unearthed fossils should be well preserved.

Heritage protection experts and paleo-anthropologists disallowed a giant dome over the site, similar to the architecture on the Qinshihuang Tomb.

They preferred maintenance of the original conditions, which might allow future scientists to do further research, Gao said.

Meanwhile, the CAS institute planned to install an electronic monitoring system at the site to prevent fire and other possible damaging occurrences.

Gao estimated that the total investment on the project might exceed 100 million yuan (US$12 million).

(China Daily April 12, 2002)

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