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Ancient Workshops Unearthed
Archaeologists, earlier this month, unearthed the ruins of ancient bronze workshops dating back almost 3,000 years in the Zhouyuan area of Baoji, northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

They are the first unearthed bronze workshops from the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), archaeologists said.

An area of ruins, covering 300 square meters, of bronze workshops in Zhuangli Village of Zhouyuan was identified, Xu Lianggao, leader of an archaeological group working on the excavation, told Xinhua news agency yesterday.

Six pits and a large number of pottery moulds and forms have been found at the site and confirmed to be the ruins of bronze workshops, said Xu, who is also a researcher with the Archaeology Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Known as the home of Chinese bronzeware, Zhouyuan has yielded large quantities of ancient bronzewares.

These rare and valuable items bear fascinating inscriptions and splendid decorations, and have shed light on the development of this art form.

The exact location of the sites where the bronzewares were made had, however, remained a mystery until the discovery of the workshop ruin.

The discovery of bronze workshop ruins has provided solid evidence of where bronzewares were produced during the Western Zhou and later dynasties, Xu said.

Located in the middle of Shaanxi Province, Zhouyuan played an important role economically and socially in the Zhou Dynasty.

Handicrafts progressed in this period and the bronze industry was especially important. Bronze works greatly increased in quality, quantity and variety so that their use encompassed nearly every aspect of life.

The discovery of the bronze workshop ruins in Zhouyuan has also contributed to the research of the manufacturing techniques of bronzeware and exemplified the high technical standard of bronze production of that period, explained Xu.

The development of the bronze industry during the Western Zhou period also promoted the prosperity of other industries and greatly enhanced productivity, he said.

(China Daily April 29, 2003)

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