Henan's Top 5 New Archaeological Discoveries of 2022 Episode I
Multi-grid layout of the Erlitou site in Yanshi district of Luoyang city
Henan's top 5 new archaeological discoveries of 2022 were unveiled on March 21, including the multi-grid layout of the Erlitou site in Yanshi district of Luoyang city, Central China's Henan province.
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The Erlitou site lies in the north of the ancient Yiluo River in the middle of Luoyang basin. Located in present-day Yanshi district of Luoyang city, Central China's Henan province, the site covers an area of 3 million square meters and dates back to 1750-1530 BC. By years of excavations by the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a "井"-shaped road network in the center of the site has been discovered, which divides the ancient capital of Erlitou into many square and regular grids, with the palace area located at the center of the multi-grid layout. Besides, wall remains discovered outside of the palace and workshop areas are suggested that the areas of noble residence and cemetery in other grids might be protected by walls as well. Therefore, archaeological excavation has been carried out in the southwest of the "井"-shaped road network since 2021, discovering many roads and rammed-earth walls. The main discoveries are as follows:
Illustration of the Erlitou site. [Photo provided to dahe.cn]
New roads, rammed-earth walls discovered
In the progress of the excavation, not only the southwest junction of the "井"-shaped road network outside the palace area was found, but also the two east-west main roads located to the north and the south of the palace area respectively with their length already exceeding that of the palace area. It suggested the existence of at least one sub-area to the east and the west of the workshop area, the palace area and the sacrificial area at that time. Besides, rammed-earth walls have been discovered in the east and the west of the sacrificial area as well as in the south and the east of the sub-area located to the west of the sacrificial area. Wall remains have also been discovered in the north, the east and the south of the sub-area located to the west of the palace area, in the site's southeast corner, and in the north and the east of the sub-area located to the west of the workshop area. Due to the wars of the Northern Han Dynasty (25-220) and the later dynasties, walls at the palace area's southwest corner and the northeast corner of the sub-area located to the workshop area were destroyed.
Part of the wall and road remains. [Photo provided to dahe.cn]
Integration of residences and tombs, handicraft workshop remains newly discovered
To the west of the sacrificial area discovered the rammed-earth buildings for the nobles, as well as many tombs where bronze wares and jade articles were unearthed. There are several other irregular burials discovered nearby, and their owners are not among the lowest class. These discoveries were rarely seen in the past. Besides, the excavation also found a number of handicraft workshop remains, all found for the first time, including the remains of suspected lacquer ware workshops (in the west of the northern part of the site), pottery workshops (about 300 meters west of the sacrificial area, and in the west of the northern part of the site) and bone and horn processing workshops (southwest corner of the palace area).
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