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Banpo Village Remains

 

In 1953, when workers were laying the foundations for a factory at Banpo -to the east of Xian city, they found the remains of an ancient settlement - the Banpo Village Remains. Dating from approximately 5000 to 4000 B.C., it is an authentic matriarchal clan Community of the Yangshao Culture discovered on the Central Shaanxi Plain in the Yellow River Valley and the most complete example of an agricultural Neolithic settlement in the world.

Standing on the eastern bank of the Chanhe River, the site covers an area of about 50,000 square meters in an irregular round shape. Over 40 house ruins, 200 storage pots, a collection of pottery and tools, a pottery-making center and a graveyard with more than 250 graves have been excavated. From the implements and utensils discovered, archaeologists have learned a great deal about the daily life of Banpo. It was a typical Yangshao Culture Community - the prosperous period of the matrilineal clan society.

The tools used by the residents at Banpo were mainly crude stone implements including axes, hoes, spades, chisels, bowls and spinning wheels, some of which were bored with holes. The most elegant of the many bone implements were bone needles and fish hooks, which seem identical with today's metal equivalents.

Villagers fired and painted extraordinarily beautiful clay pots with elegant, colorful designs, for which mineral pigments were usually employed. The earlier decorations on these vessels portrayed fish with mouths open, fishing-nets and deer on the run - subjects reflecting the main preoccupations of Banpo's inhabitants which were later replaced by geometric patterns.

Houses built by the Banpo residents 60 centuries ago include those built partly below ground and wooden structures above ground -- some round, some square -- with doors facing south. A cooking pit in the center was built with clay and wood.

In the communal burial ground found to the north of the site, men and women were buried separately, usually by themselves, Women were generally interred with a greater number of funeral objects than men. Chinese archaeologists believe that the people of Banpo lived in a primitive communist matriarchal clan Community.

In 1958, the Banpo Museum, the first on-the-spot museum in China was set up, on the basis of the archaeological excavation. The main hall, in the rear, was built over the excavation site. Two smaller exhibition halls by the entrance display unearthed items, drawings and explanatory notes in both Chinese and English.

The matriarchal clan Community

The matriarchal clan Community shows the first signs of primitive communes after advancing from the primitive tribes, and came to an end not long before patriarchy society was established. This happened in approximately the period spanning the late Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. This stage can be divided into two periods: an early period and a developmental period. During the first period, women were engaged in collecting wild fruits while men were occupied with fishing and hunting. As a result of the intertribal communal marriages, children were closely associated with their mothers from morning to night. Fathers were relative strangers to them. Children followed their mothers in the family pedigree. Women took up farming, and managed the tribal affairs and the economic life as well. Husbands lived in their wives homes and family records show that they were listed after the wives in the family pedigree.

Admission: 20 (RMB)
Opening Time: 9:00 - 17:30

 

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