Bairen (Chine): excavation of mysterious 2,600-year-old city that was wiped out by floods

Tracy You

Source - 

Archaeologists are unearthing an ancient city that was wiped out by floods, according to Chinese media.

Bairen, located in central China, dates back more than 2,600 years to China's Spring and Autumn period.

The city is thought to have been a prosperous trading hub until its sudden disappearance about 1,400 years ago in China's Tang Dynasty.

3b2d3f1200000578 4025054 image a 20 1481552738365Chinese experts have started unearthing the ruins of Bairen, an ancient trading city that was wiped out by floods. The above picture shows staff members working at the site on December 8
Experts have started unearthing the ruins of Bairen since October in the modern day Yaolong county, Hebei Province, reported Hebei News.

This is the first time an excavation has been carried out on the site since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the report said.

Pictures of the dig were released by state-run Xinhua News Agency on December 8. 

Archaeologists from Longyao County Relics Protection Bureau, Xingtai Relics Protection Office and Culture Relics Institute of Hebei Province are working together to unearth precious relics, such as clay tiles and stone mills. 

Bairen was founded in 624 BC during China's Spring and Autumn period, according to historical records.

Experts believe it was an a vital trading city and economic centre when the Zhao Kingdom ruled the area between 403BC to 222BC.

Cao Lianbin, the former head of Longyao County Relics Protection Bureau, told reporters from Yanzhao Evening News that the residents of Longyao had in the past found bronze blades that were thought to be rare ancient currency.

Mr Cao added in the same interview that only Bairen and Handa, the capital of Zhao Kingdom, produced coins at the time, and this shows the economic importance of Bairen.

Bronze swords, mirrors and hooks have also been discovered by residents in the area over the years.

Bairen's prosperity lasted for more than a millennium, but it came to a sudden halt when the city was wiped out by floods in 742AD during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

Archaeologists think the ruins of Bairen could carry great historic importance as the city had been buried by mud as a whole and remained intact for more than 1,200 years.

3b2d3f0300000578 4025054 image m 21 1481552787366Archaeologists think the ruins of Bairen could carry great historic importance as the city had been buried by mud as a whole

The ruins of Bairen, surrounded by an 8,000-metre-long (five miles) wall, occupy four square kilometres (1.5 square miles).

Around 600 square metres (6,458 square feet), or 1/6,666th of the total area, are expected to be excavated this year.

The ruins is situated to the east of modern day Yicheng Village in Shuangbei Township of Longyao County.

The ancient city was surrounded by hills on three sides and waters on one side.

Three-thirds of the city wall, which is 16.5 metres (61 feet) in width and two to four metres (6.5 to 13 feet) in height, remain in good condition.

Nine city gates have been found, three on the east side and west side respectively, one on the south and one on the north. 

3b2d3eee00000578 4025054 image m 22 1481552812155