The 13th to the 15th of September, many experts have gathered in Longyou attending a three-day conference titled “An Academic Discussion on Hehuashan Site and Early Neolithic Civilization in Qiantang River Area”. Among them were more than 30 experts, who investigated the archaeological site at Hehuashan and discussed its value, preservation and other early Neolithic founds in the Qiantang River area. In the end, all of them have reached the agreement that, rich and well-preserved, the discovery of the Hehuashan site proves to be extremely significant to the understanding of early Neolithic archaeology and culture in the downstream of Yangtze River.
conference at Longyou
Hehuashan site is located in Shaojia village, which further belongs to Mabaoqiao Village in Hu Town, Longyou County, Zhejiang Province. With thin cultural deposit, the site is divided into East and West areas, the dimension of which amounts to 600 square meters. The West area is about 150 meters to the southwest of the East, and its excavation area is about 250 square meters.
The East area lies on a slope, with the western end higher than the eastern; in the southwestern part, more than 20 regularly scattered post-holes have been discovered, without other culture deposit trace. As the site stretches itself east- and northwards, cultural deposit layers appear and thicken, with the thickest being roughly 120 centimeters. There are six layers in total, and more than 20 ash pits have been cleared. The unearthed artifacts can be classified into three categories: pottery ware, stone ware and block stone. Most pottery wares are reddish in color, made of coarse clay; the rest are chiefly made of carbon-mixed clay (mixed with chaff); few of sand-mixed clay. Based on forms, it can be further divided into basin with open mouth, plate with flat base, ring-footed vessels and various forms of pots with two ears. Part from a few stone adzes and chisels, stone ware is dominated by pebble tools—such as stone saddle-quern, stone roller, balls and hammers—and some flake stone tools. A significant amount of cobblestones is found in the site, including naturally formed stone blocks used for tool. In summary, except for a few ash pits belonging to later period, the East area is generally consistent in culture connotation and characteristics of artifacts, and belongs to middle Shangshan Culture. Radiocarbon dating demonstrates that the area is dated to 9,000 years ago.
ash pit from Hehuashan site
Similarly uneven in depth, the West area found a mixed remain of stone tools and stone blocks; extending over an area of 150 square meters, this remain is divided into upper and lower layers. Stone ware from remain includes stone saddle-quern, stone roller, balls, hammers, adzes and chisels, mostly either well-formed or worn. The pottery wares are decisively different from the east area, and are dominated by carbon-mixed clays; the red surface has peeled off in many cases and the color tends to be darker; cord-patterns are the most dominating. In terms of forms, there are caldrons, jars, and plates, whose characteristics assemble those of Kuahuqiao culture.
pottery unearthed from Hehuashan site
Hehuashan Site also found remains of rice rachilla, carbonized rice, phytolith of rice, and mill stone which were used to peel rice in Neolithic period. The found leads to that rice had been cultivated in the lowland of the mountain then, making Hehuashan Site an early Neolithic site with rice cultivation techniques.
After Shangshan Site and Xiaohuangshan site, Hehuashan site is the third early Neolithic site in Qiantang River area. Having reaffirmed the importance of Qiantang River area in the early Neolithic period, the discovery also provides valuable resources for studying the distribution pattern of early Neolithic sites in the region, their relation to other rivers and the relationship between the developments of Shangshan Culture and Kuahuqiao Culture. (Translator: Su Minjie)