The archaeological site of Yin Xu is situated on the banks of Huanhe River, to the northwest of the historic city of Anyang in the larger Henan Province of Central China. This location is about 500 kilometers from Beijing. It is an outstanding testament to the quality of life for the Chinese in the Chinese Bronze Age. The culture, crafts and science shows prosperity.
Among the things that have been unearthed at the site include:
- Royal Tombs and palaces and Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area – This covers a total area of 414 hectares with a surrounding buffer zone of 720 hectares. The royal tombs were by far the most fascinating. Among the things excavated from them are bronze ritual vessels, ceramics, jade and bone carvings, and sacrificial pits that still had human remains. The remains are thought to have been part of the sacrifice.
- The Tomb of Fu Hao – This was a royal tomb
- Over 80 foundations of buildings - Most of the houses found here were made from rammed earth and timber. The ancestral shrines and altars were enclosed by a defensive ditch which doubled up as a flood control element
- Inscriptions on Oracle Bones – This brings in invaluable evidence to the development of one of the oldest writing systems in the world
The history of the Yin Xu starts when the 12th king of the Shang Dynasty, Pang Geng, decided to move his capital from Yin to Yan (the present day Anyang) in 1300BC. For 255 years, this capital would serve 12 kings and 8 generation of Chinese well as evidenced by the history, art and science relics collected from the site.
Anyang was one of the earliest capitals of China and its planning and layout had a lot of influence on the cities built thereafter. The Royal Tomb of Yin Xin was the earliest large-scale royal graveyard and thus the tradition of building royal mausoleum continued in successive empires until 1911 when the Ming Dynasty collapsed. The development of the city, and the writing system used had a major influence on the ancient Chinese hunger for knowledge. In fact, the first calendar system known to man was developed during the Shang Dynasty.
If not for anything else, grace this archaeological site for its inscriptions on oracle bones. This will inspire you to work harder in whatever you are doing – perhaps in 1,000 years, the ‘Future People’ would study your works and get insights in how we live today.
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