The neolithic Shimao Ruins are believed to be the biggest prehistoric city ruins found in China. The find has had a significant impact in changing historical studies about Chinese civilisation.
Located at the northern brim of the Yellow Plateau in Shaanxi Province, an enormous ancient city ruin covers four square kilometres - the largest city ruins found from the Neolithic period in China.
The ruins are considered to encompass an imperial city, an inner city and an outer city. Remains of palaces, houses, tombs, sacrificial altars and handicraft workshops are scattered around the site.
The dig began in 2011, and archaeologists have made discoveries dating back over 4,000 years, redefining China's history of building city walls. Jade knives and other objects have also been unearthed.
"Defences built alongside the city walls were thought to date back to the Spring and Autumn period, in the 5-8 century BC. But this discovery has redefined that history," said Sun Zhouyong, a researcher at Shaanxi Archaeology and Research Institute.
The Neolithic Shimao Ruins are believed to be the biggest prehistoric city ruins found in China.
70 to 80 skulls from young women have also been found. It is believed they were killed and subsequently buried in a mass grave here. "The skulls show signs of being hit and burned. This collective burial might also have something to do with the founding ceremony of the city," Sun said.
The Shimao city ruins will go down in history as one of the definitive archaeological finds of the century thus far. Its significance cannot be underestimated, as it redefines previous studies on the Chinese civilisation.