A splendid picture scroll of Chinese prehistoric culture—the archaeological report "Hongjiang Gaomiao" released

  On the northwestern edge of the Anjiang Basin in Hongjiang City, Hunan Province, the Yuan River flows quietly.

When passing through a place called Yanli Village, Chatou Township, a small stream merged in.

  In 1984, archaeologists discovered a site here dating back to the middle and late Neolithic age.

After three excavations in 1991, 2004, and 2005, the area of ​​nearly 1,700 square meters was revealed, and the area of ​​the site was determined to be nearly 30,000 square meters. A large number of rich remains, mainly Gaomiao Culture, Daxi Culture, and Qujialing Culture, were unearthed.

  Recently, with the official release of the site's archaeological report "Hongjiang Gaomiao", a picture scroll of the life and spiritual world of the prehistoric Huxiang ancestors is slowly unfolding before the eyes of the world.

  Rediscovering the origin of white pottery

  The reason why "Hongjiang Gaomiao" has attracted the attention of the academic circle is also because the earliest white pottery in China has been discovered so far at the Gaomiao site, which has had an important impact on the original understanding of the origin of white pottery.

  According to He Gang, a researcher at the Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, prehistoric white pottery in China has been found in both southern and northern regions.

  The northern white pottery is mainly found in the late Dawenkou culture and Longshan culture relics in the Haidai area of ​​the lower reaches of the Yellow River. It is dated from 5,000 to 4,000 years ago. , cups, goblets, bowls, boxes, and lids.

Some researchers believe that the small amount of white pottery in the Xia-Shang culture of the Central Plains is the result of the outward spread and diffusion of white pottery in the Haidai area.

  The distribution range of white pottery in the south is wider than that in the north.

Most of their appearance has a relief pattern composed of stamped grate points, which is called grate-printed white pottery.

  The grate-printed white pottery was first discovered in Tangjiagang, Huachenggang and Dingjiagang sites in Anxiang, Hunan, and Dingjiagang in Lixian County.

Subsequently, similar white pottery was unearthed in Hubei, Zhejiang, Anhui and other places.

White pottery with the same characteristics was also found in the upper reaches of the Han River in Shaanxi, and then unearthed successively in sites such as Gaomiao in Hongjiang, Gaolong in Mayang in the upper reaches of Yuanshui in Hunan, and Qianjiaping in Guiyang in the upper reaches of the Xiangjiang River.

In addition, white pottery products have also been found in some sites in Jiangxi, the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong, and Hong Kong and Macao.

  Before a large number of white pottery products were unearthed in Hongjiang Gaomiao, most of the academic circles believed that the origin of white pottery was in the Liyang Plain in the northwest of Dongting Lake, with Tangjiagang and Dingjiagang as benchmarks.

The shape and decoration style of white pottery in other regions are similar to it, and all of them are based on it.

  In the report, He Gang argued, "In 2007, the academic circles excavated the Tangjiagang site for the third time, and speculated that the upper limit of the early remains was around 5000 BC. And the Luojiajiao site in Tongxiang, Zhejiang, and Xiantouling, Shenzhen The white pottery unearthed at the Tangjiagang site is even later than the 7,400-year-old white pottery unearthed at the Datang site in Changsha."

  "The white pottery unearthed from the first phase of the Tangjiagang and Dingjiagang sites is undoubtedly closely related to the white pottery unearthed from other sites in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, but where is their own source?" He Gang asked, "If Tangjiagang , Dingjiagang inherited from the lower culture of Zaoshi, so why is there no trace of white pottery in the relevant cultural relics."

  In "Hongjiang Gaomiao", He Gang sorted out in detail the types and decorations of the white pottery unearthed from the Gaomiao site.

He found that the types of utensils unearthed at this site are far more abundant than the white pottery unearthed from the first phase of the Dongting Lake Tangjiagang site, and that from the first phase of the lower remains to the top, the types of utensils become more and more abundant.

  Recognition of the Origin of Civilization

  In view of the importance of the remains unearthed from the Gaomiao site, many members of the archaeological community have expressed concern about the publication of relevant archaeological reports.

  "The key to the success or failure of an archaeological report lies in whether the excavated remains can be restored to the original accumulation layer in the report, objectively described the seen remains, and correctly expressed the information released", "Successful report The academic status and the role it plays are like "Historical Records", He Gang still remembers that the old man Zhang Zhongpei once told him that he hoped that he would "work as hard as Sima Qian" when reporting to Gaomiao.

  Historian Li Xueqin also wrote in a reply letter to He Gang: "I hope that the Gaomiao excavation report will be published as soon as possible, which will be a major event in the academic world."

  "Mr. Zhang Zhongpei's words sound plain, but it is still difficult to implement." He Gang said frankly.

  There are hundreds of thousands of pottery fragments unearthed in Gaomiao, and some of them are scattered in the shell accumulation strata heavily polluted by hydrolyzed calcium molecules. They are messy and broken, and the fragmented materials are only arranged and combined into more clearly recognizable "modules" , the team led by He Gang spent a full two years.

  For the next ten years, He Gang had no weekends, day and night, and he often couldn't sleep at night when writing reports.

  Engraved pattern, stamped pattern, embossed pattern, patting pattern, engraving, filling and painting, engraved symbols; sun pattern, animal face pattern, bird head pattern, bird wing pattern, mountain shape pattern, leaf vein pattern, net Plaid pattern, ribbon pattern, wavy pattern, flying bird carrying "sub" pattern, flying bird carrying star pattern... Accurate identification, statistics, and classification of decorations on pottery took a lot of time for the team.

  "If it is not so serious, this report can actually be completed faster." But He Gang is unwilling to treat such an important prehistoric site material in that way, just to find out the source of the raw materials of the white pottery at the Gaomiao site. Gaomiao and Shuangxi in Hongjiang City in the Yuanshui River Basin, Zhengxikou, Paotan, Niuxi, Fujiawan and Ertouwan in Chenxi County, Yazuiyan in Huaihua City, Longjing in Zhongfang County, Liangjiapo in Xupu County, etc. soil test.

  When the 4.248 million-word archaeological report "Hongjiang Gaomiao" came out, Wang Renxiang, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "The academic community has been looking forward to it for a long time."

  What kind of material support and conceptual inspiration can this report bring to the academic world?

  "I hope to bring about a new understanding of the origin of civilization. For a long time, we have been influenced by Western academia and believe that the elements of the origin of civilization are writing, bronze, and cities. In fact, some civilizations that have attracted worldwide attention do not all have the above elements. Over the years, through the exploration of the Chinese Civilization Exploration Project, we have defined the beginning of a complex society as the beginning of the origin process of civilization." He Gang explained.

  "The Miaodigou Culture, Yangshao Culture, Dawenkou Culture, Hongshan Culture, and Daxi Culture 6,000 to 5,000 years ago have gradually received attention. I believe that the creation and invention of the ancestors of Gaomiao originated from the origin of civilization. As far as the situation is concerned, there is still room for discussion." He Gang proposed.

  "I hope that the excavation and arrangement of Gaomiao cultural relics can provide some inspiration for re-understanding the elements of the origin of Chinese civilization." He Gang said.

(Our reporter Han Han)

  (Source: Guangming Daily, December 7, 2022, page 13)