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The Shimao Neolithic site has a 70-meter-high pyramid, as well as remains of human sacrifice.
Recent discoveries made at the archaeological site of Shimao - a Neolithic city in the northern province of Shaanxi (China) that has a pyramid 70 meters high and 24 hectares in base, as well as traces of human sacrifices - shed new light on the roots of chinese civilization.
Before excavations were suspended earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, archaeologists found at the site70 sculptures embossed in stone in the shape of serpents, monsters and half-human beasts that resemble the iconography later Bronze Age in the Asian country, specialists recently communicated to National Geographic.
Likewise, radiocarbon dating determined that some of the constructionsdate from 4,300 years ago, almost 2,000 years before the oldest part of the Great Wall and 500 years before Chinese civilization took root in the Central Plain.
"Shimao is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of this century," summed up Sun Zhouyong, director of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology and head of the excavation. «It gives us a new way of looking at the development of China's first civilization«He added.
For their part, forensic scientists verified that almost all the skulls found in 2013 in 6 graves at Shimao belonged toyoung women, probably prisoners. Their number and location suggest a ritual beheading during the laying of the foundations of the wall, the first known example of human sacrifice in Chinese history.
Archaeologists also discovered that several stone blocks were carved with diamond designs with thousands of pieces of black and dark green jade, which served both as a talisman to ward off evil and to project the power and wealth of the city's elites. The abundance of jade objects indicates that Shimao imported large quantities of this material.
What is significant is that Shimao, along with many other areas, shows that the civilization of Chinahas many roots and it does not arise only from the growth of the Central Plain in the middle of the Yellow River, ”said Jessica Rawson, Professor of Chinese Art and Archeology at the University of Oxford.
Researchers had known about Shimao since 1976, but it was previously believed that it was just a part of the Great Wall of China and no in-depth excavations had been carried out at the site. Now, recent work in the area determined that the city extends far beyond the wall itself.