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Yinxu, where remnants of over 3,000-yr-old capital city testify to early Chinese culture

CGTN | Updated: 2023-05-16 15:49
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An aerial view of the archaeological site of Yinxu in Anyang, Henan, May 12, 2020.[Photo/CGTN]

Situated on both banks of the Huanhe River to the northwest of Anyang, central China's Henan, Yinxu, or the Yin Ruins, boasts the remnants of the ancient city of Yin, the capital of the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.) and the first capital site that has been documented and substantiated by archeological findings in Chinese history.

Dating back over 3,000 years, the relic site, whose discovery marked one of China's most significant archaeological finds in the 20th century, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006 and is being hailed as testification to "the golden age of early Chinese culture, crafts and sciences, a time of great prosperity of the Chinese Bronze Age."

The site is where the Tomb of Fu Hao – the only tomb of a member of the royal family of the Shang Dynasty to have remained intact – and the famed oracle bone inscriptions were unearthed.

Known as "Jiaguwen" in Chinese, these "scratches" on bits of animal bones and on tortoise shells are considered the oldest Chinese scripts and the origin of the Chinese characters that we use today.

A comparison table demonstrating examples of how oracle bone inscriptions correspond to modern Chinese characters is shown in Anyang, Henan, July 12, 2007. [Photo/CGTN]

According to researchers, unlike other world's most famous ancient writing systems, such as hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt, cuneiforms from ancient Babylon, and Mayan glyphs from Mesoamerica, oracle bone inscriptions are the only ones that still survive as they evolved into current Chinese characters over thousands of years.

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