4,000-yr-old grave potteries unearthed in central China

Tripods for cooking meat, containers for holding food and drinking vases, as well as arrays of earthenware grave goods, unearthed from the ruins of a late Neolithic civilization dating back more than 4,000 years in central China’s Henan Province are believed to be the country’s earliest of its kind.

A total of 33 earthenware objects were found arranged in order bearing ritual characters, said Wu Weihua, a researcher with the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology who led the excavation at the Yuzhuang Site.

Wu’s team has been engaged in a rescue excavation on the site in Yexian County, Henan, since August, and found more than 50 tombs, house foundations, ash pits and cellar holes from an area covering over 1,000 square meters. Some 200 artifacts, including the grave goods, were also excavated in the area.

Archaeologists said the Yuzhuang Site is a settlement of Longshan Culture, a late Neolithic civilization in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River.

“The burial pottery items are miniature replicas of objects used in daily life, but are made more exquisitely,” Wu said.

The existing archaeological discoveries indicate that some remains of the Yuzhuang site can be traced back to the early Xia Dynasty (2070 BC-1600 BC), noted Liu Haiwang, president of the institute. They are of great value to the exploration of the social stratification, hierarchy, ritual phenomenon and regulation during the early Xia Dynasty.

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