Dig at ancient site uncovers capital of first unified state

By XIN WEN and WANG MENGNAN in Xi'an | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-02-24 07:48
Share - WeChat
Zhang Yanglizheng and Xu Weihong, a researcher from the academy and leader of the team, study relics found at the Xianyang site. ZHANG XIPING/FOR CHINA DAILY

Time seems to pass more slowly at the station than elsewhere as the team members excavate and study relics.

Archaeologists often use a Luoyang shovel, an ancient instrument that helps them identify soil structure and determine whether ruins lie beneath the surface.

The shovel can extract soil samples more than 10 meters under the ground. By examining the color and content of the soil raised by the shovel, archaeologists decide how to carry out excavations at a site.

A hole dug by the shovel is known as a cavern, and Zhang said a skilled team member can drill hundreds of caverns a day. To reach a layer of soil that bears no traces of human activity, the shovel needs to go deep under the ground.

Determining whether the soil has such traces is a basic skill the team members must master.

The team's work site changes over time, but no matter the weather, excavation work never stops.

Zhang said they often chat with local villagers to gather information about possible archaeological sites.

In 2018, more than 600 kilograms of ox bones were discovered at a village near the work station. Rectangular holes had been cut in the bones, which could have been used as decorative items.

"There were many finished and unfinished works. We didn't know how these products were completed before, but the bones tell us how each process was carried out. They matter more to us than some objects that have been unearthed intact," Zhang said.

"They are all perfect artworks in our eyes. I see the wisdom of ancient people here. Finding these objects from ancient people's lives is very interesting and much more fun than unearthing tombs."

Zhang, who long yearned to work on archaeological excavations, became a member of Xu's team after graduating from Northwest University in Xi'an.

His friends were proud of him. One of them followed suit, quitting his job at a bank to join the team a year ago.

Peers dealing with cultural relic protection often ask Zhang if there have been new discoveries at the excavation site.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349