4,000-Year-Old Fortifications of Stone Age city discovered in China
Chinese archaeologists have uncovered fortifications surrounding the Shimao ruins – the largest Neolithic Chinese city ever discovered – including two huge beacon towers.
The Shimao ruins, located in China's Shaanxi Province, were first discovered in 1976. Until last year, they were believed to be part of a small town, however, archaeologists realised that the ruins were part of a much larger city extending over an area of 4.25 square kilometres. It contained a central area with inner and outer structures and walls surrounding the outer city. Remains of palaces, houses, tombs, sacrificial altars and handicraft workshops are scattered around the site. The discovery of many important remains like the earliest preserved murals, partial jade ware and large quantities of pottery shards indicated that the Shimao site played an important core position in the Chinese northern cultural sphere.
The latest discovery relates to two square towers, which were once part of the city wall, the largest of which measures 18 metres long, 16 metres wide, and 4 metres high. The towers are the largest known structures of their kind dating back to Neolithic China.
According to archaeologists, the ancient city was built about 4,300 years ago and was abandoned roughly 300 years later during the Xia Dynasty, the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles.
The find has had a significant impact in changing historical studies about Chinese civilisation.