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HomeNewsNew discoveries
Large-scaled Cemetery and Series of Stone-build Remains Discovered in Guanjingtou Site, Liangzhu, Zhejiang Province
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2013-11-06
Between March 2012 and July 2013, Zhejiang Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics has excavated Guanjingtou site at Liangzhu, Yuhang district, Hangzhou as a means of rescue. The team has revealed an area of 6600 square meters, discovering 106 tombs which belong to Songzhe-Liangzhu culture, one stone-build remains of Liangzhu culture, foundations of 7 buildings, 22 ash pits and 2 ash ditches. Artifacts excavated from the site amounts to a totality of over 1200. Moreover, the team also cleared 4 ash pits and 2 ash ditches, with both dating back to the Warrior States Period; one kiln from Han Dynasty, and 5 brick-chambered tombs dating back to Song Dynasty.

Excavation on Guanjingtou Site in Zhejiang Province

Guanjingtou Site sits in the south of Liangzhu sites. A preliminary investigation was conducted in 2012, revealing an area over 10,000 square meters. The major part of the site is a large-scaled cemetery belonging to Songze-Liangzhu culture. The cemetery is further divided into two parts—East and West. Burials in the West cemetery are more condensed, with most of them laid in circles as if around a certain center; those in the East cemetery, on the contrary, are scattered and laid in rows from east to west. Architectural remains are found among the tombs in both areas, but, without broken relationship with the tombs and no remains of daily life around found, it is surmised that those architectural remains functioned as sacrificial ritual in the cemetery.

jade huang pendant with beast head
 
Most of the tombs are headed towards north, with length between 1.6 and 3.7 meters and width ranging from 0.4 to 1.5 meters. The grave goods are numbered as 58 at the most and 2 at the least. It is only possible to find traces of coffins in larger tombs, where the grave goods are more numerous and the jade artifacts are more complete in terms of type. Their positions are conspicuously higher than that of the smaller tombs, indicating serious inequity between rich and poor, noble and humble.
back of jade comb

Over 100 tombs of Songze-Liangzhu culture have been cleared, producing more than 1100 pieces of grave goods. They include almost 700 pieces of jade artifacts, pottery wares reaching 400 pieces, and more than 600 pieces of stone wares. Among the jade, there are bi disk, cong tube, cong-shaped tube, huang pendant, jue ring, circular tablet ornament, back of the combs, bracelet, cone-shaped ornament, dragonhead ornament, spindle whorl, pendant, tube, bead, and pierced bead. Most pottery are ding tripod, dou steamer, pot in combine, but basin, spindle whorl, zen vessel, sifting devices and cups also appear occasionally. Stone wares are confined in four types:  yue axe, spindle whorl, adze, and arrowhead.
 pottery combination dating to Congze Culture

Of the grave goods 55 come from M64, which also had the largest chamber of the tombs. From there the team found 48 jade artifacts, which, to be specific, are 6 bracelets, 2 huang pendants, one back of the comb, 9 jue rings, 3 circular ornaments, one spindle whorl, one cone-shaped ornament, 24 tubes and one pierced bead. The rest are all pottery, including 2 ding tripods, one dou steamer, one pot, one basin, one jar, and one sifting device.
 tomb M64

 The earliest tomb excavated is dated to late Songze culture, while the latest to the end of Liangzhu culture, bespeaking a long lifespan of the Guanjingtou site. Most tombs are dated back to the early period of Liangzhu culture, producing multi-category of jade artifacts and sets of jade. In particular, in some tombs there appears some new design on jades, such as hollowed tablets with beast head ornaments, arch-shaped beast head huang pendants, and dragonhead-decorated on the back of the comb.
 
Located in the west, the large-scaled stone-build remain are the first of its kind discovered in the history of Liangzhu culture is concerned. This remain is laid around a stone-built pool as its center. The pool is oval in shape, with the longer axis stretching from southwest to northeast; the bottom is not paved. North to the pool stands a square well, also built of stones; it is connected by a tunnel to the southwestern side of the pool. The pool is 3.7-7 meter in diameter and 1.5 meter in depth, while the opening of the well is 0.9-meter wide and 1.3-meter in depth. The tunnel is also stone-made, it is about 2-meter in width and 18-meter in the remaining length. Their location in grounds of different levels indicates a rather scientific layout; back then it should have been a very much advanced life facility.  
  remains of stone-built pool 

Taking into consideration of Majiabang-Liangzhu cultural remains in Zhangjiadun site as well as cemetery from Songze culture in Shimadou site, there seems to exist a series of sites in the valleys of Mont Daxiong, making the area an important witness to the birth and prosperity of Liangzhu culture. The excavation at Guanjingtou site is also a valuable source to study the formation and development of settlement patterns of Liangzhu sites.      (Translator: Su Minjie)


 
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