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Chinese, Japanese Started Prehistoric Exchanges 7,000 Years Ago: Archeologists

Archeologists say Chinese and Japanese began prehistoric exchanges about 7,000 years ago.


More than 200 Chinese and Japanese scholars and archaeologists convened in Beijing Saturday for a symposium themed on prehistoric culture exchange between China and Japan. They compared archeological findings in China's Xinglonggou Relics Site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, also popularly known as "China's first primitive village", and findings in Japanese sites from the Neolithic age, about 10,000 to 4,000 years ago.


The cultural exchanges occurred on a route from northeast China through coastal Russian areas to Japan's Hokkaido and Honshu over 7,000 years ago, noted Wang Wei, deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


He went on to say that the old route had been known in south China from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River to Japan's Kyushu and Honshu.


Experts say the conclusion was based on several pieces of evidence. Jade rings used for ear decoration and bar-shaped jade used for neck decoration were usually found "together" in the northeast China approximately 8,000 years ago, but showed up together in 7,000-plus-year-old Japanese sites, said Wang.


The Japanese substituted their once widely-used pottery with flat-bottomed pieces, with forms and decorations widely found in northeast China's relic sites.


Findings excavated from Xinglonggou site, including half-underground homes, human bones and pottery and stone ware, will be conducive to the study of the two nations' cultural exchanges, according to Okamura Michio, director of the Department of Heijo Palace Site Investigations of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara.


With a history of anywhere from 7,500 to 8,000 years, the Xinglonggou Relics Site, which was discovered in Chifeng city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region back in 1982, has yielded 37 housing sites, 26 graves and over 50 pits used as storehouses. Excavation started in 2001 reveals the ancient tribal people lived by hunting and collecting wild plants.


They had several unique customs, building houses half underground, burying a small number of deceased villagers in residences for some unknown purposes and placing drilled deer and pig heads and clam shells before houses possibly for religious reasons.


The relic site is the earliest and most well-preserved of primitive villages in China and pushed estimates of the country's jade production history back to some 8,000 years ago.


(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2003)

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