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Clues Found to China's Origins
Recent archaeological findings in the Three Gorges area might prove the diversified origins of China's millenniums-old civilization, according to a noted archaeologist.

Wang Chuanping, deputy director of the Chongqing Municipal Culture Bureau, said that archaeological evidence found in the past few years has added a clue to the widely debated theory that civilization emerged independently in the country's different areas.

Wang said part of China's civilization originated from the Yangtze River valley, as evidenced by artifacts dating back to Old and New Stone Age cultures discovered in the Three Gorges area.

The highly developed ancient cultures spotted along the Yangtze River rivaled those originating in the Yellow River valley, which was long seen as the "cradle of the Chinese people."

The Chinese academic circle have long debated whether civilization arose in the Yangtze River independently of the already widely acknowledged roots in the Yellow River valley.

Few scientists agreed that there might have been another origin Chinese civilization, which is long believed to have developed from "Zhongyuan," a popular Chinese term referring mainly to the Yellow River valley.

But it has become increasingly apparent and clear that great prehistoric highly developed cultures developed along the Yangtze River, especially in the Three Gorges area, as more and more artifacts have been unearthed in the area facing inundation.

A complete map of how China's ancient civilization developed and flourished in the Yangtze River valley can now be clearly seen, said archaeological experts.

Experts said the Three Gorges area had long served as a bridge for cultural exchanges between China's east and west, south and north, proof of the multiple origin theory of China's civilization.

Last year China blocked the gigantic Yangtze River at the Three Gorges, creating the world's biggest reservoir.

However, the building of the Three Gorges dam sparked anxiety and worries among some renowned archaeologists that a wealth of cultural relics providing evidence of prehistoric cultures would be submerged and lost for ever.

To salvage the centuries-old legacy of their ancestors, more than 7,000 noted archaeological experts, academics and technicians were summoned from across China to protect artifacts in the Three Gorges area.

The dam's sluice gate was shut on June 1 to officially begin water filling.

Artifacts scattered around the vast reservoir area include prehistoric cultural relics dating back to the Old Stone Age more than 2 million years ago, and cultural sites of successive ancient dynasties from the Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2003)

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