Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Revealing China's ancient past

Date:
May 25, 2010
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
A U.S. archeologist is helping to reveal for the first time a snapshot of rural life in China during the Han Dynasty. The rural farming village of Sanyangzhuang was flooded by silt-heavy water from the Yellow River around 2,000 year ago. T.R. Kidder, professor of anthropology, is working to excavate the site, which offers a exceptionally well-preserved view of daily life in Western China more than 2,000 years ago.

Sanyangzhuang tiles set aside to repair a Han house.
Credit: Henan Provincial Inst. Cultural Relics and Archaeology

An archeologist at Washington University in St. Louis is helping to reveal for the first time a snapshot of rural life in China during the Han Dynasty.

Related Articles


The rural farming village of Sanyangzhuang was flooded by silt-heavy water from the Yellow River around 2,000 year ago.

Working with Chinese colleagues, T.R. Kidder, PhD, professor and chair of anthropology in Arts & Sciences, is working to excavate the site, which offers a exceptionally well-preserved view of daily life in Western China more than 2,000 years ago.

The research was presented at the Society for American Archeology meeting in St. Louis is April and highlighted last month in Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"It's an amazing find," says Kidder of the site, which was discovered in 2003. "We are literally sitting on a gold mine of archeology that is untapped."

What researchers find fascinating and surprising, says Kidder, is that the town, though located in a remote section of the Han Dynasty kingdom, appears quite well off.

Exploration has revealed tiled roofs, compounds with brick foundations, eight-meter deep wells lined with bricks, toilets, cart and human foot tracks, roads and trees.

There is an abundance of metal tools, including plow shares, as well as grinding stones and coins. Also found have been fossilized impressions of mulberry leaves, which researchers see as a sign of silk cultivation.

"One could make the argument that this is where the Silk Road began," Kidder says.

He thinks the site could be substantially larger than is currently known. The flood of sediment that buried the town also covered an area of more than 1,800 square kilometers.

Excavation has revealed two more buried communities beneath Sanyangzhuang. "This sedimentary archive goes to all the way back to the Pleistocene era," says Kidder, who has experience digging in silt-laden sites near the Mississippi River.

"We have a text written in dirt of environmental change through time that's associated with the flooding of the Yellow River and it's environmental relationships. We have an opportunity to examine an entire landscape dating from the Han and periods before," he says.

Excavated remains of a wall near the site could reveal a walled town, which is still buried in the silt.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Neil Schoenherr. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Lawler. Uncovering a Rural Chinese Pompeii. Science, 2010; 328 (5978): 566 DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5978.566-a

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Revealing China's ancient past." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524161344.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2010, May 25). Revealing China's ancient past. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524161344.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Revealing China's ancient past." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524161344.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — Visitors take a trip down murderer memory lane at the Museum of Death located in the heart of Hollywood. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Major Clue Found In Amelia Earhart Mystery

Major Clue Found In Amelia Earhart Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Researchers believe they have identified a fragment from Amelia Earhart's plane. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dracula's Dungeon May Have Been Found in Turkey

Dracula's Dungeon May Have Been Found in Turkey

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Historians think they may have discovered a dungeon in Turkey where the Romanian prince who inspired Count Dracula was once held captive. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Doesn't Prove Megalodons Are Extinct, Never Needed To

Study Doesn't Prove Megalodons Are Extinct, Never Needed To

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — How and why a study about when the giant prehistoric shark Megalodon went extinct got picked up as "proof" that it is. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins