Four well-preserved residences in an ancient village were unearthed in two large excavation projects in 2003 and 2005 in Henan Province, providing an insight into rural life dating back 2,000 years.
The village in Neihuang County of Henan dates back to the late Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 25), according to Sun Xinmin, director of the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.
"With the excavation, archaeologists were able to map out the layout of the ancient village and the architecture of village residences in the Western Han Dynasty for the first time," Sun said.
The unearthed residences are separated by surrounding farmland, contrary to what archaeologists first thought. Sun argued that this shows the basic social structure in rural areas at that time, which is one of the most valuable findings.
Every residence has tile roofs, a courtyard and its own well and consists of a gatehouse, wing-rooms, porches and washrooms.
Archaeologists believe there used to be mulberries, elms, crops and alleyways outside the courtyards.
The roofs, which are well-preserved in their original state, are considered extremely precious by archaeologists.
The village is near the ancient Yellow River and was probably submerged by a flood, where it lay silent for many years, archaeologists said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2006)