(East-West Question) Ji Ping: Why should frontier archaeology think from the height of Chinese civilization?

  China News Agency, Hohhot, June 23rd: Why should frontier archaeology think from the height of Chinese civilization?

  ——Interview with Ji Ping, Director of Inner Mongolia Cultural Relics Protection Center

  China News Agency reporter Li Aiping

  The cultural relics and relics in the frontier areas are important carriers of Chinese civilization and physical examples of the consciousness of the Chinese nation.

  Then, what is the significance of archaeological excavation and interpretation of the rich historical heritage of the frontier areas for telling the story of China, especially the historical story of the integration and development of various ethnic groups in the frontier?

  By extension, why should frontier archaeology think from the height of Chinese civilization?

China News Agency "Dongxiwen" recently had an exclusive interview with Ji Ping, member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and director of the Inner Mongolia Cultural Relics Protection Center.

  In Ji Ping's view, thinking about frontier archaeology from the perspective of Chinese civilization can enhance national unity, maintain frontier stability and cultural self-confidence, and has great practical significance.

  The following is a summary of the interview transcript:

  China News Service reporter: Talking about the relationship between frontier archaeology and Chinese civilization, how do you understand Chinese civilization in the archaeological sense?

  Ji Ping:

In Chinese, the word "civilization" first appeared in "Book of Changes": "Seeing the dragon in the field, the world is civilized".

The American ethnologist Louis Henry Morgan divided the development of human society into the age of savagery, the age of barbarism and the age of civilization. This thought was accepted and developed by historians.

  According to public materials, according to the definition of archaeology, the ignorant age is the Paleolithic age, the barbaric age is the Neolithic age, and the age of civilization is the age of civilization.

  How to define whether an ancient human site has entered the stage of civilization in archaeology?

  Relevant information shows that in 1958, at a seminar held by the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Chicago, a scholar named Clarkehon proposed three archaeological standards: cities, bronzes, and writing. This standard was quickly recognized by the world academic community. accepted.

Among these three symbols, the city is the most important. The appearance of the city means that the country has begun to emerge.

  From an archaeological point of view, prehistoric city ruins began to appear in China more than 4,000 years ago, which at least shows that China's state has begun to sprout during this period.

Some data show that the time of the birth of Chinese civilization is comparable to that of Indian civilization and Cretan civilization.

Cultural relics unearthed at the Hamin site.

Photo courtesy of the interviewee

  China News Agency reporter: At the archaeological level, can you talk about the significance of the Hamin archaeological site and Chinese civilization?

  Ji Ping:

The Hamin site can be said to have opened the dusty memory of five thousand years of civilization.

The site, located in Shebotu Town, Horqin Zuoyizhong Banner, Tongliao City, Inner Mongolia, is a large-scale prehistoric settlement site in the middle and late Neolithic Age, dating from about 5,500 to 5,000 years ago, with a proven site area of ​​170,000 square meters.

  The greatest significance of the Hamin archaeological site for frontier archaeology is that it is the first prehistoric settlement discovered in the area north of 43 degrees north latitude in Chinese archaeological work, which is also rare in the world.

Its large scale, well-preserved, shocking relic phenomenon, and rich cultural relics unearthed are extremely rare in the entire Northeast region and even the whole country.

  In addition, more than a dozen well-preserved wooden structures of houses were found in the site, reproducing the construction of semi-crypt houses in the Neolithic Age, which is the first time it has been discovered in prehistoric settlement sites in China and even around the world.

  The excavation of the Hamin site not only discovered a new archaeological culture - "Hamin culture", which advanced the historical evidence of Horqin by a thousand years, and changed the prehistoric Horqin area that was always regarded as a frontier fortress. The view of the wild land fully proves that the Horqin area is one of the birthplaces of ancient Chinese civilization.

Hamin Ruins.

Photo courtesy of the Harmin Prehistoric Settlement Site Service Center in Kezuozhong Banner, Inner Mongolia

  China News Service reporter: For frontier archaeology, how to do a good job in promoting Chinese civilization and cultural relics protection?


In order to strengthen the protection and utilization of the Hamin archaeological site, the cultural relics protection department of Inner Mongolia has built a collection of site protection, cultural relics exhibition, and archaeological experience in accordance with the cultural relics work policy of "protection first, rescue first, rational utilization, and strengthening management". , cultural tourism, ecological protection "five in one" Hamin Archaeological Site Park.

  The greater significance of this move is that it can let the outside world know a splendid and beautiful memory of civilization, and the national culture has built a platform for communication and dialogue with the world here.

  Specifically at the national level, I believe that in the near future, border areas should cooperate with major projects such as "Comprehensive Research on the Origin and Early Development of Chinese Civilization" and "Archaeological China" to formulate and implement important archaeological planning and implementation measures in border areas, focusing on prehistoric civilization, Chinese cultural genes and Archaeological excavation and interpretation work will be carried out on a series of issues such as the exchange and integration of frontier and surrounding cultures, which will lay a solid foundation for the pattern of diversity and unity of the Chinese nation and build a sense of community of the Chinese nation.

Hamin Heritage Park.

Photo courtesy of the Harmin Prehistoric Settlement Site Service Center in Kezuozhong Banner, Inner Mongolia

  China News Service reporter: How to excavate and interpret the frontier archaeology to reflect the importance of Chinese civilization?


China has a vast territory, and the frontier areas account for more than half of the country's land area, mainly plateaus, mountains, grasslands and the Gobi desert.

The origin, formation and early development of civilizations in various regions are unbalanced, especially in the frontier areas. This development process and reasons need to be further explored and understood in order to fully understand how our nation, country and civilization have come to today.

  Therefore, I suggest that during the "14th Five-Year Plan" period, the frontier archaeological excavation and interpretation should be carried out in different regions, stages and purposefully, and the important role played by the frontier regions in the origin and development of Chinese civilization, the history of exchanges and integration of various ethnic groups , to form a deeper understanding, and strengthen the concept of a community of "share weal and woe, weal and woe, life and death, and destiny" of all ethnic groups.

  In fact, doing a good job in archaeological excavations and interpretations in the frontier areas is of profound significance for deeply understanding the history of mutual learning among various ethnic groups, strengthening the spiritual and cultural symbols of the pluralistic Chinese civilization, promoting national unity, and consolidating the consciousness of the Chinese nation as a community.

  China News Agency reporter: Can you give an example on the topic of frontier archaeology that needs to be considered at the height of Chinese civilization?

  Ji Ping:

For example, the Xinjiang Archaeological Team of the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences conducted archaeological excavations and used physical evidence to confirm that the outer city of the Beiting Old City was built in the Tang Dynasty, showing the historical status of the Beiting Duhufu in the Tang Dynasty.

  The Yuanshangdu site excavated in Inner Mongolia is the only world cultural heritage in the autonomous region. It is the product of the fusion of farming civilization and nomadic culture. It reproduces the prosperous social form, integrated ethnic relations, and an open and inclusive culture of prosperity in the Yuan Dynasty. And planning reflects the absorption and continuation of Chinese culture.

Tourists visit the ruins of Shangdu in Yuan Dynasty.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Wenhua

  China News Agency reporter: How should the frontier archaeology do a good job of dissemination?


At the national level, we should strengthen the transformation and dissemination of archaeological achievements, establish heritage museums or heritage parks, revitalize cultural heritage sites, and satisfy the public's desire for historical knowledge.

Sign a letter of responsibility with the archaeological team leader, complete the archaeological report within the specified time limit, present the unearthed cultural relics and research results as soon as possible, educate and guide the general public, especially the young people, to understand the great contribution Chinese civilization has made to human civilization, and enhance the cohesion of the Chinese nation. pride.


  Interviewee Profile:

  Ji Ping, Mongolian nationality, born in Hohhot in 1962, member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, currently director of the Cultural Relics Protection Center of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, graduated from the History Department of Jilin University.

Since 1996, the influential "Chahekou Neolithic Age" site has been excavated successively; the "Nanbao Ligao Tu Cemetery" and "Hamin Prehistoric Settlement Site" under his auspices have both been awarded "China "Six Archaeological Discoveries"; in 2011, "Hamin Prehistoric Settlement Sites" won the "Top Ten New Archaeological Discoveries in China" sponsored by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in that year; Research on the process of prehistoric settlements and occupational forms in Northeast China".

Since 2013, he has undertaken a sub-project of the National Social Science Fund's major project "Excavation and Comprehensive Research on Neolithic Sites in the Hamin-Horqin Sandy Land" (12﹠ZD191), during which more than 20 reports and papers have been published.

He has published the book "Research on Hamin Jade Artifacts". In 2015, he was hired as a consultant for the "History and Culture of the Main Cinema of the Milan Expo China Pavilion". Since 2016, he has been the director of the Inner Mongolia Cultural Relics Protection Center.