China / Society

Heritage park to be built on prehistoric ruins in China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-10-13 16:39

XINING - A heritage park will be created to protect China's only prehistoric ruins of disasters, in the northwestern province of Qinghai, archeologists said.

Lajia heritage site, located in Minhe county, on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, was discovered in 1981. At 680,000 square meters, it was formed by an earthquake and flood dating back 4,000 years.

The site is an example of Qijia Culture, which flourished in the transitional period from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, 3,500 to 4,000 years ago, according to archeologists. Skeletons, tools and homeware have been unearthed on the site.

Archeologists said Lajia is the only site of its kind in China, and it has been dubbed the Oriental Pompeii, an ancient Roman city destroyed by volcanic eruptions.

"Globally speaking, ruins left from natural disasters like the Lajia site are rare. Its value needs to be further explored," said Wang Wei, head of the institute of archeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Many of China's heritage sites have been threatened by urbanization, and building parks can both preserve the sites and better engage the public, Wang said.

The park occupies 102 hectares and cost 475 million yuan (about $73 million). A museum, galleries and other public facilities will be built in the park, according to local authorities.

Findings at Lajia include the world's oldest intact noodles. The noodles were found under a red pottery bowl that had capsized on the ground. In 2005, scientists examined the noodles and confirmed they were made from millet.

Scientists said judging from where the noodles were placed, they may have been used for sacrifice rather than daily meals.

Lajia has also led to many scientific discoveries.

In August this year, Chinese and American scientists announced that they had found what could be geological evidence of an earthquake-triggered landslide, which blocked the Yellow River and possibly led one of the largest floods in 10,000 years.

Scientists dated the flood area using radiocarbon dating on skeletons of children who died in the earthquake at Lajia. The flood happened around 1920 BC, two to three centuries later than traditionally thought, meaning the Xia dynasty may have started later than historians think, said Wu Qinglong of Nanjing Normal University, who led the study.

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