Archaeologists working at the Yangshao Village site in central China’s Henan Province have made some exciting discoveries, including the ruins of a 5,000-year-old house, a ceremonial jade axe, and evidence of infrastructure that points to the village’s military power, according to Xinhua, a state-run Chinese press agency.
“This is the first time that large house ruins have been discovered since the excavation of the Yangshao Village site in 1921,” Li Shiwei, of the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology, told Xinhua. “The findings can provide new materials for studying the types, shapes, and building techniques of houses of the Yangshao Culture.”
The discovery comes after two years of digging, with the excavation having begun in 2020.
The Yangshao Culture is named after the Yangshao village, where the first evidence of the culture was first discovered in 1921. At the time, the research done in Yangshao was one of the earliest forays into Chinese archaeology.
As archaeologists have continued to excavate, they have found evidence of this culture along the middle parts of the Yellow River. The culture was present from roughly 5000 BCE to 3000 BCE, and thus represents the longest-lasting prehistoric culture in China. It is seen as pivotal to the development of Chinese culture.
The Yangshao people began as a semi-nomadic culture that employed slash and burn agriculture, meaning that once the land they were farming was exhausted, they would pick up and move somewhere else. The middle and late periods of the Yangshao Culture are defined by settlements and the development of hierarchies. They were great potters, and even some who dabbled in silk production.
The new discoveries in the Yangshao village affirm that the village held a large population and had a robust defensive capabilities, including artificial trenches, according to Xinhua. These discoveries are the most significant finds since the first excavation of the village in the 1920s.