Sanxingdui (Chine): Architecture remains found


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Over in southwest China’s Sichuan province, archaeologists are digging into a ground-breaking find. In the 1980s, the Sanxingdui (三星堆) site unveiled bronzewares that astonished archaeologists. And now, they’ve unearthed an even bigger surprise.

The new find is a square-shaped foundation. It’s one of its kind among San Xing Dui’s archaeological discoveries, which are famous for their bronzeware relics. Researchers have found doorways, and room bases are symmetrically distributed. Foundations of walls and pillars are built with burned clay, mixed with pebbles.

Unearthed here are also jade and ivory ornaments. Hot debates are underway on what the purpose of this 900 square meter architecture is. Some experts speculate it might be built for holding rituals, because of the large amount of sacrificial vessels excavated nearby.


In the 1930’s, the remains of a 500-year-old city were discovered at Sanxingdui in southwest China. Now archaeologists working at the site have discovered the foundations of a building they believe could help unlock the secrets of the lost city.


Backgrounder: Unmasking China's Sanxingdui Ruins

Lei Yu, researcher of Inst. of Archaeology, Sichuan Province, said, "It might have been built as a temple or a ritual platform, rather than a palace as believed before. Because it doesn’t contain any trails of daily life, such as cooking stoves, or enclosed spaces."

But some argue its structure is much like that of previously excavated warehouses.

Prof. Liu Xu, Inst. of Archeology, Peking Univ., said, "Let me make a bold guess, it’s a warehouse, it’s not like a palace or a common living place."

Apart from ivory and jade, what else is buried underneath the base that can shed more light on our ancestors? There’s a wealth of surprises to be dug up.

Prof. Liu Xiang, Dept. of Archaeology, Sichuan Univ., said, What we have found is just like the handle of a broom. The main part is not yet found. We’re expecting to come across more sacrificial pits. There are always new findings to overturn your previous views. This is the charm of archaeology.

San Xing Dui site retains the evidence of civilization in the reaches of the Yangtze River, during the Bronze Era. With the hard work of archaeologists, more mystery remains to be unveiled here.