Qicheng Site is located in Puyang, Henan Province; according to documentary records, Qicheng in Eastern Zhou dynasty was the manor estate of Kong Kui, the grandson of Duke Wei Ling of Spring and Autumn period, thus it is also called Kong Kui City. One walled remains of late period was preserved on the surface. The highest point of the wall is 8.3 meters, and the base is about 20 meters’ wide, with a perimeter of 1520 meters and an area of 144,000 square meters. Archaeologists dissected the east wall in last excavations, discovering that the east wall was built on the top of the cultural layer of the early Longshan period, and the buildings were from early time. They also found the phenomenon that the ash pits were dug into the rammed earth wall, speculating an early walled site (Longshan Cultural walled site) was buried under the late Qicheng site.
bird's-eye view of the Qicheng site
From March to October in 2014, Henan Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics in conjunction with History Department of Capital Normal University, Puyang Bureau of Culture and other departments conducted an excavation to the middle part of the south wall and northwest corner of Qicheng site of Longshan period, also did an expansion excavation to four walls of TG1 trench (south part of the east wall), which was dug in 2008. Meanwhile, they did a specific exploration to the layout of the walled remains and the ditch outside the wall. They excavated an area of 664 square meters in total (including expansion trench), and explored an area of about 5000 square meters, clearing up 17 ash pits, 4 ash ditches, 3 tombs, 1 drainage channel, 7 paths of different periods, about 200 pieces of pottery, ceramics, copper, iron, stone and bone cultural relics.
According to the excavation and exploration, Qicheng walled site of Longshan period turned to be a square shape , which roughly coincided with the layout of late period, with about 420 meters’ long, 400 meters’ wide, and an area of 170,000 square meters (including the walls).
the wall structure of inside revetment observing form the north wall of trench TG1 in Qicheng site
Taking the north wall of trench TG1 as an example, the structure and building process of the walls in Qicheng of Longshan period can be divided into two parts, wall body and inside revetment. Before the wall was constructed, people flatted the ground, and built the wall on top of it directly. Then they first built the wall body and built the inside revetment afterwards.
During the process of building the walls of Qicheng site of Longshan period, people used an advanced method called board-building method. The boards were distributed in vertical and horizontal ways, with various size and thickness, from 1.1 to 3 meters’ long, from 0.6 to 1.05 meters’ wide and from 0.5 to 0.85 meters’ thick. Besides, both accumulation layers of the wall body and inside revetment were used rammed-building method. During the board building process, the filling between each board were all rammed. According to the rammed layers of the accumulation layers and inside rammed layers, they used both flat and slant rammed methods. The rammed layers were from 5 to 15 centimeters’ thick, and the rammed pits were from 3 to 7 centimeters’ thick to let the sticks stand inside. Heap-building method was only found in the accumulation layer of some of the inside revetment.
the evidence of rammed pits can be seen in the wall structure
Through the exploration, a gap was found in the middle of the south wall. The gap was about 35 meters’ wide, which was the pathway of the south passage of Qicheng at the present. After excavation, 4 pathways of Song dynasty, 3 pathways of Han dynasty, 1 brick-built drainage channel of Han dynasty were found. Pathways of different periods were clustered and crossed through each other, with a drainage channel going through, which means the place might be the south passage of Qicheng from the past to the present.
pottery unearthed from the ash pit H5 in Qicheng site
Thanks to the exploration, outside the walls of Longshan period might have supporting ditches distributed. The depth was various, from 3 to 7.5 meters’ deep of the north, east and south walls. The evidence of the silt inside the ditches was obvious, and pottery shard of Longshan period was found in some ditches. Also outside the walls might have found supporting ditches as well.
With the contributions of the archeological work done in 2014 and before, Qicheng walled site of Longshan period has definite time, clear structure, orderly construction and choice building method. It is also the first walled site, defined after archaeological excavation, of Longshan period in Puyang area. The discovery again indicates the northeast of Henan province, taking Puyang as an example, is one of the important areas to explore the origin and development of central-plains civilization, having significant meanings. (Translator: Wang Jue)