Sunday, December 17, 2006

Protected Sites:Banpo Site

The Banpo Site is located at Banpo Village on the eastern outskirts of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province, about 6 kilometers east of the city.
The Banpo Site is a large Neolithic site of the Yangshao Culture dating back about 6,000 years ago, with an area of about 50,000 square meters. Divided into three parts, namely residential quarters, pottery making area and burial ground, the site is abundant in cultural relics, including 45 houses, 2 fencing sites, 200 storage pits, 6 pottery kilns, and 250 adults' tombs and children's burial jars.

The residential quarters are enclosed by a moat with a purpose of protection and flood discharge. Houses were built in various sizes, most of which are half-pit house, including public storehouses and private family houses. Among these houses, the big one probably belonged to the clan chief and also acted as the conference hall for clan members to discuss public affairs. Tombs in the burial ground were concentrated at one place and arranged orderly according to consanguinity. The dead were buried either with limbs bended or in a lying pose while facing upward. Objects contained in the graves are mostly wares of everyday use, such as pointed-bottom bottles and earthen pots. Most of these objects are ancient painted pottery, mainly with a red background on which were painted such black patterns as geometry or animal and plant figures. These unearthed relics show that Banpo people have not only mastered the technique of making pottery but also developed their own artistic creativity. The illegible symbols painted on the potter are probably the embryonic form of early characters.

The Banpo Site proves that primitive people of that period had already entered into an agricultural society. At present, the site is the largest and most integrated commune village site typical of the Matriarchy clan society in the Yellow River Valley. It has a great scientific value for the research into the history of Chinese primitive society as well as the different periods of the Yangshao Culture.

In 1957, the first museum of Neolithic site was founded in China, displaying restored houses and various utensils and tools through which the visitors could draw a vivid picture of the life of Banpo people.

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