China’s Earliest Urban Drainage System and Wheel Ruts Discovered at the Huaiyang Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins
News from Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology on March 25 showed that archaeologists made new discoveries at the Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins in Huaiyang district of Zhoukou city, Henan province, after the discovery of China’s earliest drainage pipe there in the 1980s.
Drainage system excavated in the Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins in Huaiyang. [Photo provided to dahe.cn]
“3 sets of pottery pipes interlink with another, each has both water inlet and outlet at ends, and the drainage ditches link with those pipes.” Cao Pengyan, associate research fellow with the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and head of the Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins Archaeological Project, remarked that these pipes arranged along the row houses or under the wall base, together with the east-west and south-north ditches, formed China’s earliest and most complete urban drainage system.
In addition, several wheel ruts were also found on the early road near the south gate. Among them, one set of parallel ruts belonged to a “two-wheeled vehicle” with a spacing of 0.8 meters, which has at least 4,200-year history by carbon-14 analysis. They are believed to be China’s earliest wheel ruts.
Panoramic view of the Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins. [Photo provided to dahe.cn]
Systematic excavation and digital analysis have identified the square wall and symmetrical gate structure of the Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins. In the center of the city, archaeologists found a south-north road, belonging to the Longshan Culture, towards the south and the north gates respectively. Judging from the east-west row houses separated by this road, the south and the north gates, together with this south-north road, actually played a role of “central axis”.
“Archaeological excavations show that the Pingliangtai Ancient City Ruins in Huaiyang is the earliest, well-planned and high-grade prehistoric city site in China, which is of great significance in China’s urban development since it is a precedent in China’s urban construction and planning,” said Cao Yanpeng.
“考古发掘表明，平粮台古城城址是我国最早的、规划严整的高等级史前城址，开了中国城市建设规划的先河，在中国城市发展史上具有里程碑式的意义。”曹艳朋说。（记者 温小娟 翻译 赵汉青 审校 李文竞）