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Xinglongwa Culture

Inner Mongolia News  2008-10-16 17:02

Xinglongwa Culture is a culture of the early stages of the Neolithic Age in Inner Mongolia with a wide coverage that stretches to Xunhe in the west, Yiwulu Mount in the east, Wuerjimulun River in the north and the northern coast of Bohai Sea in the south.

The relics of Xinglongwa Culture are located at a tableland 1.5 kilometers to the southeast of Xinglongwa Village of Baoguotu Township, Aohan Banner, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. The six rounds of excavations at Xinglongwa relics have discovered ruins of 170 houses and more than 30 graves, whichtook the lead in China in revealing all the traces of habitation, including ditches, ruins of houses and cave dwellings ofthe people of a pre-historic tribe.

The evolution of the habitation at Xinglongwa goes through three stages. Houses of the first stage are comparatively spacious, distributed in lines from the northeastto the southeast and surrounded by elliptical ditches. Houses of thesecond stage follow their predecessors in arrangement butwith smaller areas; houses of the third stage are disorderly and moredensely arranged with still smaller areas, indicating the considerable prosperity of the tribes of Xinglongwa.

The graves of Xinglongwa relics are an essential component of Xinglongwa Culture, and the number and location of these graves suggest that they are related to the sacrificial activities of the people of that time. In one of the graves, we can find that the dead was buried side by side with two pigs, one male and the other female, which leads to our assumption that due to his social status and extraordinary cause of death, the dead was taken by his fellow tribesmen as the object of worship and sacrificial rites so that they could be blessed by certain kind of supernatural power. The pigs buried alongside the dead indicate that the offering of sacrifices to ancestors was combined with those to the preys, and the offering of sacrifice by the inhabitants of Xinglongwa to the spirit of pigis considered to be of the significance of totem worship. The large numbers of bones of deer, pigs and other animals unearthedat the ruins of houses and among the funerary subjects is another proof to the fact that hunting economy was in the dominant position in people's life at that time.

The dozens of jade articles unearthedatXinglongwa site shows that the people of Xinglongwa were aware of the selection of materials-most of the artifacts were made from pale green, yellowish green, milky white or light whitematerials, and that they had gained knowledge of polishing and boring. As the earliest genuine jade articles known to us in China so far, the artifacts unearthed at Xinglongwa site have marked the completion of the division of labor of the society, shifted the time of the use of ground genuine jade articles in Chinato the middle of Neolithic Age as far away as 8,000 years ago, and provided a direct origin for the jade articles of HongshanCulture.

The potteries unearthed at Xinglongwa are without exception sand-mixed ones, most of which are of loose quality, heavy roughcast andinadequate degree of forging, with grayish brown or yellowishbrownexteriors and dark gray interiors. The decorative stripes outside are mostly pressed ones in the patterns of horizontal "^", "Z", woven mats and grids. All the potteries are manually made.

The stonewarefound in the relics of Xinglongwa consists typically of chipped stone hoes and axe-shaped implements.

Kernels of juglans mandshurica, an arbor usually found in mixed forests of deciduous broadleaftrees andconiferous trees, which are typical in temperate zones, were unearthed at the earlier relics of Xinglongwa, indicating the warmand humid climate that is in sharp contrast to the arid climate of grassland and desert.

Xinglongwa Culture is one of the three major cultural systems of northern China, the discovery of whichdemonstrates that the culture of Neolithic Age in Inner Mongolia is ofa long history. As the origin of Hongshan Culture, XinglongwaCulture plays a significant role in revealing the characteristic aboriginality and continuity of the Neolithic culturesatthe eastern part of the Great Wall and helps determine the historic position of the culture in interacting with the Neolithic cultures inthe Huanghe River valley and in promoting the progress of theculture of the whole northeastern China.

Close ]   source: Inner Mongolia News   editor: 于海娟
 
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