Millennia-old settlement site found inShaanxi

This undated file photo shows a piece of bird-shaped bronze ware unearthed from the Zhaigou site in Qingjian County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

(Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology/Handout via Xinhua)

A settlement site dating back to about 3,200 years ago has been excavated in Qingjian County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, according to the local archaeological institution.

Large-scale rammed-earth buildings, tombs, ash pits and pottery molds have been found at the Zhaigou site, which spans some 3 million square meters on the Loess Plateau, according to Sun Zhanwei, a researcher with the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology.

A large number of bronze chariots and horses, jade ware, bone ware, lacquerware and tortoise shells were found in the tombs of the nobles at the site, which resemble those previously unearthed from tombs of similar social ranks in Yinxu, also known as the Yin Ruins.

The 3,300-year-old Yinxu, located in the central plains of China, has been confirmed as the capital of the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.). The northern Shaanxi area where the Zhaigou site is located was ruled by a regional regime during that period.

The new discoveries reflect the close economic and cultural exchanges between the territory of the Shang Dynasty and the region of today's northern Shaanxi as well as the strong influence of the Shang civilization on its surrounding areas.

They also show that there was a highly developed bronze civilization in northern Shaanxi in the late Shang Dynasty, marking a breakthrough in the archaeological study of the Shang Dynasty, said Sun.