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HomeNewsNew discoveries
Great finds have been made in the excavation of the Upper-Capital Site of Jin Dynasty
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2017-07-18
The Upper-Capital Site of Jin Dynasty (known as Jinshangjing) is located in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. According to a partial exploration of the architectural remains in the central east region of the imperial city, a general understanding of the layout and distribution has been made by Heilongjiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relic and Archaeology from August to October 2016. Furthermore, an archaeological excavation in the total area of 1200 square meters was made to the northwest platform mound that forms a base for the construction of a building. 


The north rammed earth platform

Archaeological discoveries

The eastern architectural remains are located in the east of Hall IV in the palace area. A group of separate and individual small building remains are closely attached to it in the west, which is numbered 2016TJ1 and the excavation to 2016TJ1 is this year’s focus.

The small-scale architectural remains appeared T-shape in plan, consisting of two rammed earth platforms. The north platform went from east to west and the south platform went from south to north.

The north rammed earth platform, namely TJ1-1, was rectangular in plan, 33 meters from east to west and 11.8 meters from south to north. Three irregular oval pits with the same structure were scattered on the platform. Two lay in the northeast and one in northwest. The pit wall was brick masonry coated with white lime. There were three or two small deep pillar holes at the bottom of the pits. There was a brick gutter next to the ground to the southwest of the platform. The plane was in rectangle shape, numbered SG3.


The aerial photo which showed the chimney flues located in the main part of the south room

The south rammed earth platform, namely TJ1-2,vertically distributed with the north platform. The platform was in rectangle form and the exposure area was 25.2 meters from south to north, 21.6 meters from east to west and 0.5 meters in height. There were wall bases surrounding part of this platform, and the wall base was 2.35 to 2.65 meters in width. There were also stone pillar base surrounding the wall base. There were brick slots to the east, west and north of the wall base, with bricks piled inside the slot.

There is a drainage built with brick in the east and west to the north of the platform respectively, namely SG1, and SG2. SG1 is rectangular in plan, with two brick gutters inside and the north part destroyed; the remaining of the south gutter is 1.2 meters in length. The bottom of the gutter is paved with bricks, forming a slope west to east. SG2 is rectangular in plan, with two narrow brick gutters inside.

There are 16 square pillar-base distributed along the rim and the middle part of the platform in different sizes. The surface of the stone pillar base covered with debris then sands on the top. Above the sand layer were big and small rocks piled in the center, but only a few rocks are preserved until now.


 The pillar base SD8

According to the arrangement and distribution of the stone pillar bases, it can be verified that there used to be three rooms in width horizontally and four in depth vertically. Three relatively larger stone pillar bases were located in the south, east and west of the middle part of the platform, which should be the central pillar base of a room. The north room was 16.5 meters east to west and 7 meters south to north; a heating facility (bed-stove Kang) made up of several chimney flues formed the main part of the south room. Nine chimney flues are left up to today. Three hearth remains are located to the east and west sides south of the chimney flue. The hearth remains in the shape of Chinese character “凸”, consist of operation area, fire door, fire tunnel, fire chamber, chimney flue etc. 

A grand building base was connected to the southeast of the platform TJ1, namely TJ2. A brick wall separates the two platforms in the middle. Complete excavation has not been carried out to TJ2, only a corner has been cleared.


Hearth remains Z1 on TJ1
 
The major unearthed objects are construction materials like gray tiles and black bricks. There are plate tiles, semicircle-shape tiles drip-shape tile and eaves tile. The pattern on the eaves tiles are mainly dragon design and some with beast-mask; the drip-shape tile are all with dragon pattern; there are also phoenix and bird pattern as well as figure sculptures; besides, a small number of patterned bricks were also found. Among the unearthed ironware, nails are in the largest number and the rest are domestic and produced instruments; a small number of porcelain, stone tools and bronze ware were also found; the coins are mainly of Song Dynasty.


Road surface on the southwest corner

Academic significance

The excavation of upper-capital site in the year 2016 focused on the east of the Hall IV in the palace area. It belongs to a set of buildings in the center of east imperial city, a major subordinate building lying in the east of the central palace. The building is in the shape of “T”, the main platform is made of earth and there are three rooms in width horizontally and four rooms in depth vertically with pillars inside the rooms. It can be separated into two parts, both of which are large in width. There are nine paralleled chimney flues inside the south room with east and west connected by kitchen; this part is the low heated brick-bed. These finds offer essential archaeological data for further understanding of the layout, the construction style as well as the construction sequence of the upper-capital city.   (Translator: Yuan Yuan)


 
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