The Sanxingdui archaeological site, in Sichuan province, China, always surprises scientists with ancient objects.
Recently, they discovered another treasure from the 2nd millennium BC.
Between 2020 and 2022, archaeological teams from Sichuan Cultural Relics Research Institute, Peking University, and Sichuan University unearthed more new tombs (original tombs). was first discovered in 1986).
Among them were bronze heads and centuries-old dragon masks, with an angular pair of eyes.
In 1986, experts found two craters filled with weapons more than 3,000 years old including bronze and jade, they were accidentally discovered in the bed of the Sichuan Basin and caused a stir, due to the What is unearthed has never been seen in China.
This new treasure includes bronze objects shaped like human heads and strange masks covered with gold leaf. This leaves archaeologists with the question – Who owns this fascinating collection? And what civilization is it associated with?
In Chinese history, all that is written is sacred, and each archaeological discovery must fit the pattern of what is known. As in the ancient Shiji texts – The Chronicles of Sima Qian (1st century BC), China’s so-called Herodotus (father of history) also does not mention the existence of an ancient culture. The Bronze Age dates back to 1200 BC.
The legendary Chinese chronicles also only mention Sanxingdui, a city surrounded by a rampart system 4km, located more than 1,000km southwest of the Central Plains, and this city has never had anything unexpected. develop or develop compared to urban areas in the Central Highlands.
A Bronze Age Civilization That Changed China’s Origin History
Located in Guangshan district, about 40km northeast of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, scientists have made discoveries about these strange-looking coins.
Challenging the question of the origin of Chinese civilization. Like all civilizations in the world and their founding myths, Chinese civilization is basically concentrated in the central plain (Zhongyuan) of the Yellow River valley, known as the Yellow River. is the “fertile crescent”.
Here appeared the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties. And it is on this heritage of more than 2000 years that China’s first state was founded in 221 BC by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who made China’s history.
Compared to what is known about the Shang and Zhou dynasties, little is known about the Bronze Age societies (circa 1500-221 BC) that existed outside the Yellow River Valley.
Archaeologist Alain Thote said: “In fact, the discoveries of Sanxingdui, a civilization contemporaneous with the Anyang (Anyang) have pierced the veil of the traditional Chinese story. Strange faces. Sanxingdui’s bronze tells a much more complex story about ancient China”.
“In the pits of Sanxingdui, many antique objects have been found in a broken, charred state. This could indicate rituals performed after a political upheaval or a sufficient event . important for city residents to dismantle or break these bronze statues,” he added.
According to archaeologist Alain Thote, who has worked for a long time in China, explained about the sacrifice pit: “We have absolutely no idea under what circumstances these pits were dug to contain traces of bronze, jade, gold, of such importance”.
The pits at Sanxingdui show the existence of bronze which is very special and different from the bronze in Anyang, a modern city of Henan province, China. However, they do show a connection to the bronzes of the central part of the country through certain details and patterns.
It is known that it was Shang’s predecessors who initiated the special techniques used to cast bronze ceremonial vessels – a process that existed only in China.
However, the know-how of bronze casting in the rocks, born only in Central China, may have been found in Sanxingdui. “There are many relevant details that exist between metallurgists in Central China and manufacturers in Sichuan during the 2nd millennium BCE,” says Alain Thote.
Although not possessing the technical virtuosity of the Anyang bronze masters of their contemporaries, the founders of Sanxingdui still managed to create spectacular sized bronzes, including a tall human figure. 2.60 meters or a tree more than 4 meters tall.
This skill was acquired through a good knowledge of welding techniques, a technology unknown in Central China. “Today, it is clear that Sanxingdui is an important civilization like that of the Shang. But because it has no written script, its value is underestimated in the official history of China,” Alain Thote said. .
Although not yet declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Sanxingdui site is currently on the international organization’s “tentative list” for consideration and archaeological excavations will continue there until October 2022.
All the unearthed treasures are on display at the Sanxingdui Ruins Museum near Chengdu.