A group of kilns dating from the New Stone Age, the largest find of its kind in China so far, have been unearthed in a hillside orchard of Hutoupu of Mianyuan Village, Guangtai Town, Puning City of Guangdong Province. After being buried for about 4,000 years, the discovery of the kilns has enabled archeologists to determine for the first time how people of the Chaoshan area were able to carry out specialized pottery production in remote antiquity.
The discovery was actually made early this year, but details of the site were released as part of a group of important new archeological discoveries announced at the Fifth Chao Studies International Seminar held in Jieyang, Guangdong Province, on November 10.
Reporters from the Information Times visited the ancient relics together with famous domestic and foreign experts participating in the seminar.
The hillside where the group of kilns is located is very quiet with a murmuring stream flowing gently in front, and dominated by the lush green trees in the orchard. The first discovery of the Hutoupu relics dates back to the 1980s, and Wu Xuebin, deputy director of the Bureau of Culture of Puning City who made the initial finds, gave a vivid account of the process.
"It was in 1982, when China conducted a nationwide cultural relics survey. One day I was introducing the provenance of a kind of stamped pottery to some visitors when someone said: 'It's nothing rare. There are a lot of objects like that in our village.'" The man whose remarks shocked everybody was from the working committee of the Puning area. In October that year an archaeological team was sent to the Hutoupu relics site for excavation and found the kilns site.
Qiu Licheng, director of the Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute of Guangdong Province, said that the discovery of the Hutoupu site has created two wonders: the largest group of kilns of New Stone Age discovered in China so far and the earliest kiln site discovered in Guangdong Province. The site covers nearly 10,000 square meters and dates back to about 4,000 years.
The unearthed cultural relics include pottery jars and household wares and stone axes. There are at least eight different patterns on the pottery, including round and vein shapes. Li Boqian, director from the Zhendan Ancient Civilization Research Center of the Peking University in charge of the research topic of pre-Qin Dynasty (770-221 BC) and Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) of Jieyang (Rongjiang) said that, the area covering Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region used to be listed as a barbarous and remote area.
The archaeological finds show the area has a long history and creates a need to reassess the historical view.
(China.org.cn translated by Li Jingrong, November 12, 2003)