Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins

Chinese archaeologists have discovered altar relics at the ruins of a neolithic city, which indicate religious culture at that time.

Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
A bird's-eye view of remnants of Shimao ancient city [Credit: Xinhuanet]
An initial survey showed the eight-meter-high altar had a three-tiered structure with a stone base 90 meters long. Jade relics and pits for offerings as deep as three meters were found nearby, said Sun Zhouyong, deputy head of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology on Thursday.

Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
The archaeologists discovered two piles of human skulls in the ruins
of Simao ancient city [Credit: Xinhuanet]
Excavation has not started at the altar, outside the walls of the Shimao Ruins in Shenmu County. Archaeologists have collected some jade for further research. They excavated over 80 human skulls last year.

Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
Walls of Simao ancient city show superb fortification skills
at that time [Credit: Xinhuanet]
Shimao Ruins were discovered in 1976 , but archaeologists did conduct a a thorough survey until last year, which led to more discoveries. The city was found to have inner and outer structures, and the walls surrounding the outer city extend over four square kilometers.

Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
Altar relics found at China's neolithic city ruins
A vessel (centre) and a stone face statue (below) unearthed in the courtyard-like
area shown in the top photo [Credit: Xinhuanet]
The city was built about 4,300 years ago and abandoned roughly 300 years later during the Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BC), the first dynasty in China described in historical chronicles.

Source: Xinhuanet [February 20, 2014]

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