The site of a royal altar of heaven dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) has been discovered in Fengxiang County in Shaanxi province. Experts believe it is the oldest such site ever discovered in China.
The site is located in the village of Banpopu, where a team of archeologists began excavation in July. Important ruins include a mound altar, along with walls, buildings, roads and sacrificial pits. More than 1,900 items that were used in worship ceremonies, such as jade figures and chariots, have also been dug out.
Experts believe that Qin and Han emperors held worship activities at the site for over 700 years. Liu Qingzhu, a noted archeologist, explained that the ruins and relics match records from the Han Dynasty, and the structure is consistent with that of the Zhi, a place for rulers to worship the heavens during the Qin and Han Dynasties. Therefore, the new site is the earliest and largest "royal altar of heaven" ever found in China.
This discovery reaffirms historical records relating to worship activities held in Yong, the ancient name for Fengxiang; it also provides physical evidence for worship activities carried out in the Qin and Han Dynasties. The finding is important for the study of ritual culture and political systems during that period.