Country for PR: China
Contributor: Xinhua News Agency
Wednesday, July 10 2019 - 18:49
AsiaNet
Hangzhou's Liangzhu Archaeological Site joins UNESCO World Heritage Site club
HANGZHOU, China, July 10, 2019 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/--

China's Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, located in the eastern Chinese 
city of Hangzhou, was put on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and 
Cultural Organization's World Heritage List as a cultural site on July 6, 
according to Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Site Administrative District 
Management Committee.

The decision to add the Chinese cultural site was supported by the World 
Heritage Committee members at its ongoing 43rd session in the Azerbaijani 
capital of Baku, as the site bears testimony to the over 5,000-year-long 
Chinese civilization and stands as an authentic and intact heritage.

With this new inscription, the World Heritage List now includes 55 properties 
across China. It's also the third world cultural heritage site in Hangzhou 
after the West Lake and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.

The property testifies to the existence of a regional state with a unified 
belief system and supported economically by rice-cultivating agriculture in 
late Neolithic China, as well as the outstanding contribution to the Chinese 
civilization origin by the Yangze River region, according to the World Heritage 
Committee.

Located in the eastern foothills of the Tianmu Mountains in a plain 
crisscrossed by a network of rivers, the Liangzhu ruins were once the center of 
power and belief of an early regional state around the Taihu Lake.

In 1936, Shi Xingeng, a researcher with the West Lake Museum, carried out 
extensive surveys and excavations in Liangzhu on the outskirts of Hangzhou, 
capital of Zhejiang, where he discovered many prehistoric sites. The Liangzhu 
Culture was officially named in 1959.

Since the 1970s, the Liangzhu ruins have been excavated, researched and 
conserved through various archaeological efforts in Jiangsu, Shanghai and 
Zhejiang, enriching the Liangzhu Culture in terms of material life, settlement 
form, organizational structure, hierarchical differentiation, spiritual belief, 
etiquette system and civilization process. With the discovery of the Liangzhu 
City, a prehistoric ancient city  that had remained missing for over 4,000 
years surfaced in 2007.

In 2015, the discovery of a water project in Liangzhu that includes 11 dikes 
was announced. It is the oldest large water system ever found in China and one 
of the world's oldest dam systems. 

The Liangzhu ruins with Liangzhu City as the core are the center of the 
Liangzhu civilization. The types of remains are rich and the site structure is 
complete, revealing the basic characteristics of the origin of the Chinese 
civilization and providing the most complete and important archaeological 
evidence for the over 5,000-year-long Chinese civilization. In particular, the 
Liangzhu City, which was built in the same period as ancient Egypt and Sumerian 
civilizations, is extremely rare in the world's similar sites in terms of scale 
and content, and is fair to be called "the first Chinese city".

"The importance of findings from the Neolithic Age in China has been greatly 
underestimated. Cong and bi unearthed from the Liangzhu historical site 
represent a unity of values in the region. The complexity of society in 
Liangzhu was on par with that of a country," according to Colin Renfrew, a 
retired professor of archaeology at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of 
the British Academy.

The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City is presenting the far underestimated 
Neolithic Age in China to the world, telling about the civilization over 5,000 
years ago and rewriting both the Chinese and global history. 

Source: Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Site Administrative District 
Management Committee

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