City Ruins of the Xia Dynasty Discovered in Northwest Henan
Henan broke new ground in the exploration of the Xia culture. Two settlements with moats were discovered at the east and the west Yusi site respectively in Mengzhou of Jiaozuo, Henan province. At the inner sides of the east moat's north and east parts, foundations for rammed earth walls were discovered, and confirmed by anatomy to be no later than the Erlitou culture period.
City ruins of the Xia Dynasty discovered in Northwest Henan. [Photo provided to Henan Daily]
On January 20, experts specialized in the Xia culture from inside and outside Henan province visited the Yusi site. It is generally agreed that, based on carbon-14 dating and unearthed relics, the two settlements with moats were two "cities" during the period of Yu the Great, one of China's legendary rulers in the Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BC), dating back to as early as about 4,000 years.
It was the first time to unveil "city" ruins from the late Longshan culture period to the Erlitou culture period in Northwest Henan province, thus offering key references in studies of the Xia culture. The village's name "Yusi" may be related to the activity of "Flood Control Led by Yu the Great" in the local historical records.
Located on the loess hills northwest of Yusi village of Mengzhou's Gudan town, the Yusi site covers an area of about 1.5 million square meters, including cultural relics of such different periods as the Longshan period, the Xia (Erlitou) period, the Western Zhou Dynasty, the Eastern Zhou Dynasty and the Han Dynasty. The east and the west "cities" discovered this time are roughly square in shape, covering 60 thousand square meters and 20 thousand square meters respectively.
According to the excavations, human activities at the site lasted for a long time, spanning from the Longshan period to the Han Dynasty, with the discoveries of ash pits, cellars and tombs of different periods. Notably, more than 50 ash pits of the Western Zhou Dynasty were found, the number of which topped other findings. At the southwest Yusi site, tombs of high-ranking nobles of the Western Zhou Dynasty and semi-crypt-type houses were also discovered.
"Some pottery shreds discovered in the moats and ash pits are featured by the Erlitou culture. In the past, many sites of the Erlitou period were found in the south of the Yellow River, but few in Northwest Henan. That is why this discovery is so important." Zhao Haitao, an associate research fellow from the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who heads the excavation team, told the reporter.
“部分壕沟、灰坑出土的陶片，明显具有二里头文化特征。以往在黄河以南已发现多座二里头文化城址，豫西北地区则极少发现，因此这次发现显得尤为重要。”中国社会科学院考古研究所副研究员、二里头工作队领队赵海涛说。（中文来源/河南日报 翻译/赵汉青 审校/陈行洁）