A hundred years ago, Chinese and foreign scholars cooperated to excavate the site of Yangshao Village

  The Chinese nation is a nation that attaches great importance to history. Where do we come from and what kind of life our ancestors live is a question that Chinese people care about from generation to generation.

Archaeology is an important subject to explore these issues.

Archeology has a deep foundation in China. The ancients paid great attention to the preservation and research of ancient relics. The "Einsteinology" developed in the Song Dynasty traced the footprints of the ancestors from ancient bronzes and stone inscriptions. "Picture", the term we call "archaeology" today comes from this.

  Epigraphy is considered to be the predecessor of archaeology, but there are still significant differences between the two.

The advent of modern Chinese archaeology can be traced back to October 1921, and it is exactly one hundred years to this year.

Regarding the story of the advent of modern Chinese archaeology, we must start with a man named Liu Changshan.

  In the autumn of 1920, Liu Changshan, a collector of the China Geological Survey under the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, went to western Henan to collect paleontological fossils.

He came to Yangshao Village, Mianchi County, Sanmenxia City, and found some pottery pieces and stone tools in the villagers’ homes. The villagers said there were still many such things on the edge of the village. Sure enough, he found some broken pottery pieces on the side of the village. He Stone Tools collected and purchased more than 600 pottery pieces and stone tools around Liu Changshan in Yangshao Village. He took these objects to Beijing and gave them to Anderson.

  Liu Changshan was an assistant to Anderson, who was an important figure in the history of Chinese archaeology.

Anderson was born in Sweden in 1874. He graduated from Uppsala University in Sweden in 1902 with a doctorate in geology. In 1914, he was hired by the Beiyang government as a consultant to the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce.

He came to China to help China find iron ore and coal mines, and to investigate and study China's geological environment and resources.

But in fieldwork, he often found the remains of ancient humans, which also prompted him to gradually shift his academic interest to archaeology.

Anderson saw what Liu Changshan had brought back, and heard him introduce the situation of Yangshao Village. He was sensitive to the fact that Yangshao Village was buried in an undiscovered secret. He had to personally investigate and determine whether it was a Neolithic site. .

  On April 18, 1921, An Tesheng and his group of five people, led by Liu Changshan, went to Mianchi, and the county governor Hu Yufan greeted him at the station.

At that time, there was a Christian church in Xiguan, Mianchi County. The pastors of the church, Shi Tianze and Andersen, were Swedish, and Hu Yufan asked him to act as an interpreter.

On April 21, An Tesheng and his party came to Yangshao Village and lived in the home of Wang Zhaoqi, a large householder in the village.

They lived in Yangshao Village for eight days and investigated the topography of Yangshao Village.

According to the survey results, Anderson wanted to conduct a scientific excavation.

On the night when he returned to Beijing, he drafted an excavation report overnight to the then head of agricultural and commercial affairs and the director of the Geological Survey.

  Zhang Guogan, then chief of agricultural and commerce at the time, agreed to Antesson's excavation application and arranged for Ding Wenjiang, director of the Geological Survey Institute, to take charge of the matter.

With the approval of the relevant departments of the Chinese government, the consent of the Henan Provincial Government and the support of the Mianchi County Government were obtained. On October 23, 1921, Andersen once again came to Yangshao Village and still lived in Wang Zhaoqi’s farmhouse, preparing to confront Yangshao Village. Make a formal excavation.

Also participating in this excavation were Yuan Fuli and Chen Deguang from the Geological Survey Institute, and foreign experts Bu Dasheng and Shi Dansky.

  On October 27, 1921, the excavation of the Yangshao Village site officially began. All excavations ended on December 1. It lasted 36 days. A total of 17 excavations were excavated, and a large number of pottery, stone tools, and a small amount of bones and mussels were unearthed one after another. Artifacts and other relics.

After the excavation, they also set up a small wooden sign on the ground weir of the villager Wang De's family and wrote the five characters "Yangshao Cultural District".

Since then, Yangshao Village, a little-known small mountain village, has attracted the attention of the world and finally won the reputation of "small mountain village, big culture".

The Yangshao culture lasted for two thousand years and is the core culture of Chinese Neolithic culture

  The discovery of Yangshao Village caused a huge response in the Chinese intellectual circles at that time.

At that time, there was a popular saying that there was no Neolithic age in China, and the discovery of Yangshao Village made this claim self-defeating. It was the first proof that China had an earlier splendid culture before the Xia, Shang and Wednesday dynasties.

  The archaeological work in Yangshao Village marked the birth of modern Chinese archaeology and started the process of exploring and reconstructing ancient Chinese history with modern scientific methods.

In Yangshao Village, China’s first prehistoric culture was established here, the first hypothesis of the origin of Chinese culture was formed here, and the first cornerstone of the reconstruction of ancient Chinese history was laid here. Since then, the way of telling early Chinese history has been It can't be the same anymore.

Apart from the myth of "since Pangu opened the world, the three emperors and five emperors to the present", archaeological materials are telling the early history of China in a more scientific and detailed way.

  After excavating the Yangshao Village site, An Tesheng conducted a series of archaeological work in Gansu, Qinghai and other places. Based on archaeological data, he put forward "Chinese culture from the west", and later proved that this statement was untenable. To confirm this statement, the first generation of archaeologists in China began their arduous exploration under the attention of the whole country.

  In 1926, archaeologist Li Ji presided over the excavation of the Xiyin Village site in Xia County, Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province. This was the first archaeological excavation independently presided over by a Chinese archaeologist. The following year Li Ji wrote "Prehistoric Remains of Xiyin Village" "Published, this is the first archaeological report published by a Chinese archaeologist, and it is of milestone significance.

  The Xiyin Village site is a Yangshao cultural site.

The excavation of the Yangshao Village site opened the prelude to the research and exploration of Yangshao culture.

Over the past 100 years, archaeologists have never stopped investigating, excavating and researching Yangshao cultural sites. So far, more than 5,000 Yangshao cultural sites have been discovered.

Yangshao culture is widely distributed, lasting for a long time, rich in connotation, and far-reaching influence. It is the core culture of Chinese Neolithic culture.

  The Yangshao culture shows the social structure and cultural achievements of the matrilineal clan system in China from its prosperity to its decline.

The ancestors of the Yangshao period used polished stone tools instead of stone-made tools, and invented fired pottery as living utensils.

The division of labor between men and women is clear. Male hunting and female gathering. In the process of collecting wild plants for a long time, they gradually discovered the growth patterns and characteristics of plants. After a long period of time, they tried planting a wild plant similar to setaria into millet.

  During the Yangshao period, domestic animals included pigs, dogs, chickens, etc. Archaeologists found traces of two fences for raising livestock at the Banpo site in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Young pig bones, this may be because people did not know the breeding techniques at the time and it was difficult to raise young pigs, or it may be because the living conditions were relatively difficult and people could only slaughter young pigs to satisfy their hunger.

  During the Yangshao period, the ancestors began to live a primitive agricultural life based on slash and burn cultivation.

Agriculture requires settlement, and settlement will produce settlements.

Particularly, the Banpo site found quite complete settlement relics. Clan members lived together. There was a large rectangular house in the settlement, which might be a place for tribes’ gatherings. Each family lived in a semi-crypt-style house. , A trench framed the scope of the settlement and mainly played a defensive role.

A hundred years later, the site of Yangshao Village was excavated again, and new discoveries are ahead

  After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Yangshao Village site carried out the second and third archaeological excavations in 1951 and 1980-1981, and achieved important gains and corrected some of Anderson’s mistakes.

Modern archaeologists recognize that the Yangshao Village site contains four phases of cultural remains. The first two phases belong to the Yangshao culture, and the latter two belong to the Longshan culture.

  Painted pottery is the most important element in the study of Yangshao Culture, and it is also the most exquisite symbol of artifacts unearthed from Yangshao Culture.

During the third excavation of the Yangshao Village site in 1981, a complete and beautiful crescent pattern painted pottery was unearthed.

It is 11 cm high and 14 cm in diameter. It is reddish-brown with a flat belly. The surface of the utensils is polished and smooth. The abdomen is decorated with a crescent-like pattern.

There are many pottery pots unearthed in Yangshao Village, but those with crescent patterns are very rare.

Staring at this pottery jar, one can't help but think that the ancestors of Yangshao had a beautiful yearning for the moon, so they painted on pottery to appreciate it.

There are 14 crescent patterns on the artifacts. It took 14 days for the moon to go from full to absent. This coincidence may indicate that people at that time had a preliminary understanding of astronomy.

  If we expand our perspective, the large number and high density of Yangshao cultural sites on both sides of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, where Yangshao Village is located, are rare in the country. Among them, there are many large central settlements that together form the "Chinese Civilization". gallery".

This is the core area for exploring the origin of China's early civilization and the key area for empirical research on the history of Chinese civilization for more than 5,000 years.

The mid-Yangshao culture in this area is closely related to the Yellow Emperor.

  In view of the importance of archaeological work in the Central Plains region with Sanmenxia as the center of gravity, scientific research institutions in Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Hebei plan to jointly implement the "Archaeological China·Central Plains Civilization Process Research", through continuous archaeological excavations of key sites in key areas, Reveal the cultural connotation representing the highest achievement and highest level of the Yangshao culture, with a view to comprehensively studying the process of social complexity and civilization in the Central Plains, restoring the ancient society and the formation process of the early Chinese pluralistic integration pattern, and empirical China’s 5,000-year history of civilization.

  In August 2020, in order to dig deeper into the cultural connotation of the Yellow River and carry out the "Archaeological China·Central Plains Civilization Process Research" project, relevant departments launched the fourth archaeological excavation of the Yangshao Village site.

  The fourth archaeological excavation at the Yangshao Village site is of great significance for in-depth understanding of the cultural connotation, settlement layout, and development and evolution of the settlement form of the Yangshao Village site, as well as the exploration of the civilization process of prehistoric society in western Henan.

Archaeological discoveries are rich in relics, including house sites, trenches, tombs, ash pits, cellars, ash pits, ash ditch, roads, pillar caves, etc.; a large number of cultural relics were unearthed, including pottery, jade, stone, bone, and ivory Products, etc., found that the relics include the early, middle, and late Yangshao culture, the second phase of Miaodigou culture, and the Longshan culture period.

In addition, the remains of buildings such as green-grey "concrete" floors and red-brown walls painted with vermilion grass stem mud were found, providing new materials for the study of the Yangshao Village site and the building types, shapes, and construction techniques of the Yangshao culture period in western Henan.

  Multidisciplinary research has been steadily advanced and some important results have been achieved. For example, in cooperation with Stanford University in the United States, the evidence of the brewing of grain fermented wine and koji wine was obtained in the Yangshao culture small-mouthed bottle at the Yangshao Village site, and the cooperation with China National Silk Museum in Yangshao and Longshan Traces of silk protein were detected in the soil of the tombs during the period, indicating that there may have been real silk objects in the tombs.

  From discovery to excavation of Yangshao culture, a whole hundred years have passed so far.

These one hundred years are the one hundred years that modern archaeology has taken root and developed in China. At present, we are working hard to build archeology with Chinese characteristics, Chinese style, and Chinese style.

The technical means and research methods we now have are not only unimaginable in the Andersen era, but also more advanced and superior than the second and third excavations in Yangshao Village.

This one hundred years is also a one hundred years in which we continue to pursue questions such as where we came from and what kind of life our ancestors have lived. New knowledge of archaeology is not easy to come by, but this kind of pursuit will not stop, but will only go deeper. , And the answers we get will become more and more detailed.

  Author: Hou Jianxing

  (The author is the head of Yangshao Cultural Museum)

Keywords: yangshao village, liu changshan, chinese, nation, archaeology, site, importance, ancestors, scholars, excavation, archeology, an tesheng, settlement, history, wang de