Two Sichuan Sites Selected as “New Chinese Archaeological Discoveries in 2021”
Sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the annual selection considers the academic value of archaeological finds as a key criterion. This year’s list includes six new archaeological discoveries across the country, with the Sanxingdui site and the Piluo site in Sichuan province making the list.
The Sanxingdui site was accidentally discovered in the 1920s by a farmer from Guanghan, Sichuan province, while repairing a sewer ditch.
A breakthrough came in the 1980s, when two large sacrificial pits were discovered. The find is dubbed one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
From November 2019 for May 2020, six new sacrificial pits were discovered at the site. By the end of 2021, archaeologists had unearthed more than 10,000 relics from the new pits, including gold masks, bronze figurines, ivory tusks and remains of silk.
The relics are believed to come from the ancient state of Shu, which lasted over 2,000 years and dates back at least 4,800 years. They testify to a close link with the news Sichuan province, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the Central China Plain, and bear witness to how a united yet diverse Chinese civilization was formed.
The Piluo site was discovered in May 2020 in Daocheng County, Sichuan Province. Archaeologists have found almost 10,000 stone artifacts at the site at an altitude of 3,750 meters.
One of the most remarkable finds was the Acheulean hand axes. This is the world’s highest find of Acheulean tools or skillfully crafted flint axes by the Lower Paleolithic culture.
Zheng Zhexuan, an archaeologist with the Sichuan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology Research, said they are the most exquisite and comprehensive Acheulean tools to date found in East Asia. The findings “also filled a gap in academic research showing how human beings migrated and thus brought cultural communications in ancient times.”
The Sanxingdui site and the Piluo site are both part of the major projects of “Archaeological China”, a major research program launched by the National Administration of Cultural Heritage.
SOURCE Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute