The Archaeological chronicle of the South Gate of The Site of the Beiting City in 2016

2016-8-5 17:55| Editor: 武子| view: 701| comment: 0|Author: Translated by Xiao Qian|Source: IA CASS

Summaryuuuuuu: In the fourteenth year of the Tang Zhenguan period (640 A.D.), Emperor Tai Zong of the Tang Dynasty instituted the “Tingzhou Prefecture” in the North Slope of the East Tianshan Mountains where the Site of Beiting City used to locate.

The Archaeological chronicle of the South Gate of The Site of the Beiting City in 2016

In the fourteenth year of the Tang Zhenguan period (640 A.D.), Emperor Tai Zong of the Tang Dynasty instituted the “Tingzhou Prefecture” in the North Slope of the East Tianshan Mountains where the Site of Beiting City used to locate. In the second year of Chang’an period (702 A.D.) when the Empress Wu Zetian was reigning, the “Tingzhou Prefecture” was changed into “Protectorate General to Pacify Beiting” to govern the northern grassland areas to Tianshan Mountains. During this period, the area was in a great bustle of putting up installations and buildings. The city was expanded and new Buddhist temples were built such as “Ying Yun Tai Ning Temple”, “Gao Tai Temple” and “Long Xing Temple”. The Site of the Beiting City and the “Xi Da Temple”, No. 5 temple and No. 6 temple among it are probably the remains of the buildings in this period.

The fifth year of the Kaicheng period (840 A.D.) when Wen Zong of the Tang Dynasty was reigning, the Uyghur people migrated from Orkhon river basin to the west, therefore a part of them settled in the Beiting area, and they used the old city walls and moat to protect themselves. When the Uyghur people were in Mobei, they believed in Manichean, but in the seventh year of Xiantong (866 A.D.) after the Qocho Uyghur Regime’s establishment, they began to convert to Buddhist. Nowadays, people can still see the portraits of “Idiqut (the king of Qocho)”, “Zhangshi” and “princess” in Xi Da Temple. In the sixth year of Zhizheng (1346 A.D.) when Hui Zong of Yuan Dynasty was on the throne, the son of Tuheilutiemu'erhan was enthroned and became Chagatai Khan. During the rule of Chagatai Khan, he launched the “holy wars” in Beshbaliq and Qocho areas: wars and moat were ruined, the Buddhist temples were destroyed, the Buddhist monks and nuns were killed and the citizens were forced to serve Allah—the god of Islam. Beiting City became a wasteland at that time.

The Beiting City was constituted by two cities—the inner city and the outer city. The city walls are both rammed, and look similar. Each city has its own watchtowers and turrets: in the outer city, there are twisted barbicans, and in the north located some “Yang Ma Cheng” which is similar to the city walls as a barrier to defend the enemies. Outside the city walls meanders through the moat. The layout and constructions of the city can be considered as the model of the spreading of constructing skills of the Central Plain in the western region of China. The greatness, carefulness and rigour of the layout and construction match the status of the city as a centre of central Asia grassland region and also an important city for politics and military perfectly. From the end of the 19th century to the latter half of the 20th century, explorers and archaeological workers, in and out of China had and excavated and done archaeological surveys to the ancient city for many times, and different plans ,in details or general, have been drafted since then.

Picture 1. The map of the Site of Beiting by Xinjiang Team of the archaeology department of Chinese Academy of Social Science, only the city walls can be recognized, other buildings are no longer existed.
 
  According to the archaeology data, the Beiting City are consisted of two cities. The outer city is like an Irregular rectangle of which the north-south direction line is longer. The perimeter of the outer city is about 4596 metres, and there is a corn tower in each corner of the city wall. Outside the city wall are some watchtowers, and on each side of the city, there is a city gate. By the north side of the city wall lays a rectangle-like Yang Ma Cheng (170*117 metres) --a kind of outer city wall; the inner city located in the middle-northeast of the outer city and it’s about 3003 metres in perimeter. Each city has its own ditch around the city.

Picture 2. The aerial photo of the Site of Beiting City, 1985.

    
  On July 16, 2016, Xinjiang Team of the archaeology department of Chinese Academy of Social Science entered the Site of Beiting City and started their work again, and this time, their workplace is the site of the south city gate and the city walls around it. The purpose of this work is to clarify the time and methods of the construction and also to find out whether these parts had been repaired or expanded.

The South City Gate is in the centre of the south city wall, but now, there is no longer the gate but a huge hole in the wall and the gate has become a part of a road. On each side of the road is a little platform, the distance between them is about 15 metres. According to the ditch around the city wall, it can be inferred that there was a barbican around the south city gate, and these two platforms are the remaining of the barbican.


 
Picture 3. The location of the South City Gate and the current situation of the city (aerial photo South-north).

 
Picture 4. The area of the archaeological excavation (aerial photo, East-west)
 

Picture 5. The platforms on the west side of the south gate—the remaining of the barbican (East-west)

 
       Picture 6. Archaeologist Jiang Zhongyi is deducting the map of the Beiting City

 
  During the work, a trial trench has been discovered, it’s about 0.6-1.5 in depth, starting from a watchtower, this trial trench goes along the watchtower and leads to the ditch around the city. The profile of this trial trench shows a formation line of the watchtower and city wall. Above the formation line is the layer filled with rammed earth, the depth of stratum is about 6-10 centimetres, and the colour of the earth is mostly yellow, some is gray or taupe (the reason is the production area of the earth). From the continuity of the earth, the building is supposed to be built in one time; the solum below the layer is gray and mostly thick, the content of the soil is varied, and there are some ceramic debris, chunk of the bricks and some crushed bones of the animals. Also, a coin of Kaiyuan Tongbao is discovered somewhere under the gray soil. From these signs, it can be inferred that the city wall was not built on the origin earth according to some surveys but on the soil of the Tang Dynasty.

Picture 7. The trial trench under discovery (South-north)

 

Picture 8. The rural labourers have mastered the skills of identifying the soil and looking for the spot of tampering under the guidance of the archaeological team.

 

Picture 9. The northern part of the trial trench (North-south)

 

Picture 10. The earth layer of the Ma Mian (watchtower) on the trial trench

 

Picture 11. Tampered field and tampered spot

 

Picture 12. Ceramic debris discovered in the earth under Ma Mian

 

Picture 13. Ceramic debris discovered in the earth layer of Tang Dynasty under Ma Mian

 

Picture 14. The remaining of the stone mill discovered in the earth layer of Tang Dynasty under Ma Mian

 

Picture 15. Kiayuan Tongbao discovered in the earth layer of Tang Dynasty under the city wall

 

Picture 16. The relics of Jun porcelain discovered in the earth layer of Song Dynasty

 
  Outside the city is a ditch goes around the city, between the city wall, Ma Mian and the ditch, there is the sloping bench. The profile of the trial trench shows that from the top to the bottom, there is the modern cumulose soil, modern road bed soil, and the soil from Tang Dynasty. The soil under the sloping bench and the edges of the ditch is cumulose soil, and under this layer is the mixed gray soil of which some part is hard, and the texture of the soil is well organized, some relics of jun porcelain spreading there. Below this layer is the gray soil with the Ceramic debris of Tang Dynasty. Jiang Zhongyi, the 78 archaeologists from the archaeology department of Chinese Academy of Social Science, thinks these stratums are very meaningful, according to him, the soil with the Jun porcelain is the road from Song Dynasty, it overlies the sloughed formation stratums of Tang Dynasty. So it can be concluded that the buildings are built before Song Dynasty, it’s more likely the construction of Tang Dynasty.

This conclusion clarifies the year when the Beiting City was built which means, it proofs directly that the constructions in the city are from Tang Dynasty. The profile of the trial trench also shows that there was a road outside the city in Tang Dynasty, and the road laid on the sloping bench ; when it came to Song Dynasty, the road was moved to the edge of the ditch.

   

Picture 17. Part of the stratum of the city wall to the ditch

 
                    

Picture 18. Expert Jiang Zhongyi is observing the stratum

 
     

Picture 19. Jiang Zhongyi is drawing the draft of the profile of the trial trench

    
  The latest research shows that the south city gate of Beiting City and the city wall were built firstly in Tang Dynasty, and the specific peirod of construction can be inferred after the study of the discovered materials and specimens. According to the layout of the stratum, it can be referred that when the Uyghur of the Song Dynasty took control of the city, the city was in a good condition, and they didn’t expand the city a lot, they just discarded the sloping bench and built another road outside the city.

The results of other researches also indicate that “Ren Mu” was used to build the watchtowers, and the layouts of these constructions are popular in Tang Dynasty. The layout and constructions of the city reflects the spreading of constructing skills of the Central Plain in the western region of China. The greatness, carefulness and rigour of the layout and construction match the status of the city as a centre of central Asia grassland region and also an important city for politics and military perfectly.

In a word, the Beiting City was a grand city of the western region of China, and the layout and constructing skills of the city are all from the central plain. It doesn’t only show the relationship between the city and the central authority, but also shows the greatness of Tang Dynasty, and its scale shows the importance of this city. The researches which have been done till now provides great conditions for the following works: on one hand it shows how to protect the remaining and relics; on the other hand, it makes it more possible to reproduce the image of the grand city in Tang Dynasty.

Though this is the beginning of the exploring, yet it has already answered some of the questions which have been confusing the world, such as: whether the whole Beiting City was built in the same period (some believe that the inner city was built during the Qocho Uyghur Regime, and the outer city and other remaining are built in the Uyghur of the Song Dynasty.). So far, it can be sure that the Site of Beiting City was built in Tang Dynasty. The Site is the relic of the great city which rules the grand grass region and the centre of the politics, military, economy and culture, also the key joint of the Silk Road. This is only the tip of the iceberg, there will be more information and materials discovered in the future as the research goes on.

  

Picture 20. The county leadership is inspecting the workplace of the archaeology.

 

Picture 21. The county leadership is listening to the archaeological introducing

    
  Thanks for the hard work of the archaeological team and the support of the Jimusa’er county. The county party secretary Mr. Hao coordinated the work for the team and went to the work place for many times. He cared about the archaeological team a lot. Also, the journalists from Guangming Daily and Yaxin website Xinjiang arrived to the archaeological site the first time around and did the interviews immediately, thanks for their work. (Xinjiang Team of the archaeology department of Chinese Academy of Social Science)


Picture 22. Wang Se—the reporter from Guangming Daily is interviewing in the archaeological site. (North-south)

 


Leader: Wu Xinhua

Writer: Wu Xinhua, Tan Dahai


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