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3,000-year-old Earthenware Restored to Original Splendor

Some 700 pieces of earthenware made in the ancient Shu Kingdom have been unearthed by archeologists after they were buried thousands of years ago at the Sangxingdui Ruins in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Sanxingdui, which is listed among China's top 10 archaeological finds of the 20th century, has long been suspected to be the remains of the Shu Kingdom that suddenly disappeared 3,000 - 5,000 years ago.

Some of the most striking pieces made of various materials like bronze and jade were found accidentally in 1986 in Sanxingdui, a small village in Guanghan City, Sichuan.

The earthenware pieces, including bowls, basins, Chinese goblets, 50-centimeter-tall serving vessels and 20-centimeter-tallpots, will be exhibited at the Sangxingdui Museum in Guanghan later this year.

The bizarre shapes of the pieces give valuable clues to the lives of the ancient people who inhabited the place, said Chen De'an, chief archeologist of a Sichuan provincial archeological team at the Sanxingdui Ruins.

The Sangxingdui Museum exhibits bronze and jade items excavated at the ruins, and the earthenware pieces will add attraction to the museum, said Zhang Jizhong, deputy curator of the museum.

Since 1986 archeologists have launched five large-scale excavations at the ruins, unearthing hundreds of thousands of earthenware fragments. Chen said it was a difficult and time-consuming job to repair and restore fragments into a full earthenware piece. For example, it takes up to 10 or more days to repair a piece of earthenware in some cases.

Sanxingdui is regarded as the site of the earliest and largest ruins of the ancient Shu people, with earliest occupation dating back to the late Neolithic period from 5,000 to 3,700 years ago.

(Xinhua News Agency July 30, 2003)

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