Backgrounder: China's Sanxingdui Ruins

Source: Xinhua| 2021-03-20 15:28:43|Editor: huaxia

CHENGDU, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists announced Saturday they have made some new, key discoveries at the legendary Sanxingdui site in southwest China's Sichuan Province, which will help shed light on the unified, diverse origin of Chinese civilization.

The Sanxingdui Ruins is dubbed as one of the world's greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century.

Located in the city of Guanghan, around 60 km from the provincial capital Chengdu, the ruins covering an area of 12 square km are believed to be the remnants of the Shu Kingdom, dating back some 4,800 years and lasting over 2,000 years.

The site was originally discovered in the 1920s by a farmer. A huge surprise came in 1986 when two sacrificial pits filled with more than 1,000 relics, including gold masks, bronze sacred trees, bronze ware, jade ware and ivory, were discovered by local workers excavating clay for bricks.

In 1988, the Sanxingdui Ruins site was put under state-level protection.

The discovery of Sanxingdui raises an important question about the origin of Chinese civilization. Before the 1980s, the dominant thought in academic circles was that the birthplace of Chinese civilization was in the Yellow River Basin in north China.

However, with the discovery of important sites in the Yangtze River Basin, including Liangzhu, Shijiahe and Sanxingdui, a new understanding came into being. The ancient Shu civilization represented by Sanxingdui has been regarded as an essential part of the pluralistic origin of Chinese civilization.

Sanxingdui also remains an enigma for historians as it left no written records.

Many unearthed artifacts at the ruins feature mysterious characters and graphics, such as strange-looking bronze images of humans and birds, as well as part-human, part-animal masks with oversized eyes and eyebrows.

In October 2019, a new large-scale excavation project at Sanxingdui was launched. To date, more than 50,000 artifacts have been unearthed at Sanxingdui. Enditem