Laozhai Site was located at Zhongmu county, Zhengzhou city, Henan province. From August to October in 2016, Henan provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology formed an archaeological team to conduct a salvage excavation to the site, with an excavation area of about 1500 square meters. Inside the excavation area, a pathway, an ash ditch, a tomb and 47 ash pits were found. Expect a few modern ash pits and the pathway (L1) of the Ming and Qing dynasty, the rest of the remains were all dated back to the Neolithic Age.
The aerial photo of Laozhai site
Tomb M1 was an earthen shaft tomb, in rectangular plan, about 1.8 meters’ long, 0.4 meter’s wide. At the bottom of the tomb, one set of human bones was found, in extended supine position. However, as the human skeletons were badly preserved, the sex and age of the occupant was not clear, without any funeral objects was found.
The ash pits found in the site were in the shape of oval and round. Most of the ash pits had straight walls and flat bottom, and a few ash pits with slope walls or bag-shaped pits. Among those, inside H19 and H32, one complete set of human skeletons was found respectively, it could be burial pit. The shape of H19 was round, straight walls and flat bottom, with the diameter of 1.8 meters. At the north part of the bottom, the complete set of human skeletons was found, heading to the east, flexed burial. The lower part of the right leg was laid under the left leg; while the right arm and hand was put in front of the body, part of the left hand was covered under the his pelvis, facing to the south, with mouth widely open.
Rich amount of artifacts were unearthed, among which, pottery shard and animal bones took up of the majority, stoneware and bone tools took up of the minority. Most of the pottery shards were mixed with sand, with little clay; and most of which had greyish black, greyish brown colors, and few red pottery was found; except for the plain pattern, cord pattern was the most commonly seen one. Most of the unearthed artifacts were deep-belly jar, contracted mouth Bo (bowl), high-neck jar, ring-foot bowl, cylindrical jar, stem bowl Dou vessel, thick body cup, bottle and etc. Also, a few of Ding tripod and the leg of Ding were unearthed.
According to the remains, it can be seen that the excavation of Laozhai site this time had simple unearthed cultural relics, of concentrated periods, which could be the early period of Longshan culture. The objects of the late period of Yangshao culture, such as deep-belly shaped Ding tripod, Amphora, whirling pattern jar, painted pottery and etc could hardly be seen in the site. The trend of using greyish black and greyish brown colored pottery were strongly different from that of the middle and late period of Yangshao culture. The data that the number of pottery mixed with sand was larger than those made of clay was diametrically opposite.
So far, only few sites of the early period of Longshan culture in the Central Subregion of Henan Province were found, thus the cultural feature was not clear. The excavation in Laozhai site enriched the materials and understanding of this area, and provided the possibility of classifying the remains of the early period of Longshan culture, brought significance to explore the archaeological culture evolution from the middle and late period of Yangshao culture to the early period of Longshan culture in the Central Subregion of Henan Province. (Translator: Wang Jue)