Hailed as one of Sichuan's most important archaeological finds linked to the ancient Shu culture after the discovery of the Sanxingdui Ruins in 1929 in nearby Guanghan, the discovery of the graveyard on Commercial Street in Chengdu was listed among China's top 10 archaeological finds in 2000.
The discovery won the distinction because of the size and value of the boat-shaped and single-plank coffins and the profusion of exquisite cultural relics excavated, the State Bureau of Cultural Relics announced.
The ancient Shu culture, which dates back to the late Xia Dynasty (circa 21st century - 16th century BC) and disappeared in 316 BC when the Qin Kingdom conquered the Shu Kingdom, spanned more than 1,000 years and is best known through the Sanxingdui Ruins.
Like the graveyard on Commercial Street, the Sanxingdui Ruins were accidentally discovered, in 1929, by a farmer digging a ditch in his field.
Since then, more than 10,000 relics have been unearthed. Some of the relics date back 3,000 to 5,000 years. The Sanxingdui Ruins offer convincing proof that the origins of Chinese civilization are diverse, archaeologists said.
Before the discovery of Sanxingdui, which is located on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, it was generally accepted that the Yellow River Valley was the sole origin of Chinese civilization.
In April this year, Sichuan decided to apply for the inclusion of the Sanxingdui Ruins, the graveyard on Commercial Street and the Jinsha Ruins on the World Cultural Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Work on the application is proceeding.
Located in the western suburbs of Chengdu, the Jinsha Ruins were discovered accidentally in February last year when workers were building roads. Since then, the Chengdu Archaeological Team has excavated many precious relics, including pieces of gold, bronze, jade, stoneware and ivory. Most of them date back 3,000 years.
Many of the relics bear a strong resemblance to those at Sanxingdui. Archaeologists think that the Jinsha Ruins might have been the political and cultural center of the ancient Shu Kingdom, which moved from Sanxingdui to Chengdu following the sudden demise of Sanxingdui culture about 3,000 years ago.
Archaeologists have hailed the Jinsha Ruins as China's first major archaeological find in the new century and another major archaeological find for Sichuan following the discovery of the Sanxingdui Ruins.
(China Daily November 8, 2002)