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HomeNewsNew discoveries
Cemetery of Shang Dynasty Found in Longweipai Site, Guangdong Province
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2016-09-26
Longweipai Site is located in Dongyuan county, Heyuan city, Guangdong province. Guangdong Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics and Dongyuan Museum have conducted the salvage excavation to the site since January, 2016. With an excavation area of about 1000 square meters, archaeologists unearthed a large number of cultural relics of Shang dynasty, and have cleared up 35 tombs so far.


The overview of Longweipai site

The cemetery was divided into two areas, the east and the west, without breaking relationship between burials. The structure of the burials was all rectangular earthen shaft pit tombs, without second-tier platform or waist pit. The direction of the burials was the same, and no human bones or funerary furniture were found.  
 
The tomb was small, most of the mouths were 1.9 to 2.2 meters long; 0.5 to 0.8 meters wide. Among which, the mouth of M11 was only 1.2 meters long; while that of M33 was 3 meters long. Most of the tombs were shallow, only 0.2 to 0.3 meters in depth, and some was only about 0.1 meters. The reason of that might has relation with the destruction made by nature and human.


Tomb after excavation

In total, about 250 pieces of pottery and stone tools were unearthed, among which the number of the pottery was the largest. Most of them were clay soft pottery with check and rhomboid design, with ring-foot and concave base. Most of the burial objects were pottery Dou vessels (largest number, with high neck), jar (most having concave base and check design, some having ring foot) and Bo bowl ( most having concave base and check design). The stone tool was less various, including polished adze, some adze blank, several whetstone and stone arrowhead, etc.


Burial objects unearthed from the site
 
The burial objects were different in east and west area. Those in the west had more objects, most had 4 to 7 pieces, some had more than 10 pieces, and tomb M15 and M34 had more than 25 pieces respectively; apart from pottery Dou vessel, jar and Bo bowl, spindle whorls were unearthed as well, most had 1 to 2 pieces, tomb M34 and M15 had more than 10 pieces respectively. While those in the east had fewer, except tomb M5, M28, M31, the rest only had 1 to 2 pieces; nearly no spindle whorl was found, while more than half of those had stone tools, tomb M31 had more than 20 pieces of stone adze and adze blank; also had pottery Dou vessel, jar, Bo bowl, which has ring foot and concave base.


Pottery Gui


Pottery Dou


Left:Pottery Dou
Right::Utensil base

The cemetery in Longweipai Site is another large one of Shang dynasty found in Guangdong area after Wubeiling Site in Shenzhen. The tombs had similarities of this area in that period and also had distinctive features.
 
First of all, although most of the tombs were small-scale shaft earthen pits in Longweipai, more and various burial objects were unearthed, and that large number of pottery spindle whorls and stone adzes found in one single tomb was uncommon.

Secondly, 40% of the pottery was Dou vessels with high neck, which was uncommon in the sites of Pre-Qin period in Lingnan area. It is the first time that archaeologists found Dou vessels as the majority combinations of burial objects.
 
Thirdly, the cultural relics revealed strong exotic influence, apart from the local characteristics. According to the location, the cemetery and its culture play an important role in the transmission and communication in different archaeological cultures.

Fourthly, the difference of burial objects between the east and west area might had relation with different gender and social division of labor, which demonstrating significance to study the burial customs, social-economic formation and the level of social complexity in this area during that period.     (Translator: Wang Jue)


 
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