Chinese archaeologists have found two prehistoric city sites, dating back more than 4,000 years, at the Puchengdian ruins in central China's Henan Province.
The Puchengdian ruins were the first to be accorded with provincial-level cultural relic protection status in Henan in 1963. Excavation work started in July 2004.
With a total area of 150,000 square meters, more than 400 pieces of cultural relics dating back from the Neolithic age and dynasties of Xia (2100 BC-1600 BC), Shang (1600 BC-1100 BC), Zhou (1100 BC-771 BC), Han (206 BC-220 AD) and Song (960-1279 AD) have been unearthed.
Archaeologists have confirmed that one of the cities is of the late Longshan culture (3000 BC-1700 BC); the other belongs to the early period of the Erlitou culture (1900 BC-1500 BC).
The older city covers an area of more than 16,000 square meters. Its east, west and south walls still stand.
Some of the relics unearthed in the ancient city include a well-preserved pottery kiln, comprising a kiln chamber, fireplace, workshop and ash pit. The ruins of houses, storage rooms, graves with jar-shaped coffins, and atriums or squares for open-air activities were also discovered at the site.
Archaeologists said any relics found would provide valuable clues on the civilization, development and culture of ancient cities in the area.
Experts also acknowledged that the discovery of the primordial city offers rare material evidence for the study of living habits and social organizations of people from thousands of years ago.
The 260 by 204-meter quadrate city of the Erlitou culture is located in the southwestern part of the Puchengdian ruins site, in Yanshi county, some 100 kilometers west of Zhengzhou, Henan's capital city. It covers an area of 53,000 square meters. The city walls were treated with specially imported soil to make them firmer and steadier.
The Erlitou site was discovered in 1959 and is the largest single site associated with the Erlitou culture.
(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2006)