Remains from Neolithic to Han-Jin-Yuan periods discovered at Helou site in Dingtao, Shandong

2019-7-10 10:44| Editor: 武子| view: 431| comment: 0|Author: Translator:Ma huanhuan|Source: IA CASS

Summaryuuuuuu: Helou site is located in Fangshan Town, Dingtao District, Heze City, Shandong Province. An archaeological team of Helou site was consists of members from History School of Capital Normal University, Shandong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Arc

Helou site is located in Fangshan Town, Dingtao District, Heze City, Shandong Province. An archaeological team of Helou site was consists of members from History School of Capital Normal University, Shandong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Heze Municipal Institute of History and Archaeology . From May to July and October to November in 2018, two seasons of scientific excavations of the site have been conducted. Excavating area covers more than 600 square meters. Rich cultural remains from Neolithic to Han-Jin-Yuan Dynasties are uncovered.

The aerial photo of excavation unit

Neolithic cultural remains mainly belong to the early period of Dawenkou Culture. Although cultural remains from the late period have been heavily destroyed, there are still relatively abundant features and artifacts being found from excavations.

9 trash pits have been unearthed. They have an oval or circular plane and are in the shape of pan bottom. Filling soil in the pits is rather tough, gray and brown. There are relatively much burned-earth grains among them. Artifacts uncovered from the pits contain pottery, stone artifacts and bone artifacts. Potteries with recognizable shape are bo-bowls, ding-cauldrons, pen-basins and so on.

There are also ditches. Most of them are in the shape of long strip. Rich burned-earth blocks are found in the ditches, which is quite rare.

2 tombs have been discovered. Skeletons inside them are rather in disorder. This indicates that they are probably secondary burials. No funeral gifts have been unearthed.

Only wall bases and some post holes are found. Most of the post holes are in a round shape.

clay pot

Potteries are mainly daily-used utensils. Red clay pottery are the main steam, following by a certain number of gray clay pottery, red-brown sand-tempered or shell-tempered pottery, gray shell-tempered pottery and black clay pottery. Their surfaces are mainly plain or polished. Decorations on them have string-patterns, additional decorations and etc. No painted potteries have been discovered at all. Main shapes of potteries contain jar-shaped ding-cauldrons, fu-shaped ding-cauldrons, fu-cauldrons, stands, bo-bowls, bo-bowls with a broad red strip in the rim, pen-basins with round belly and etc. Among them, bo-bowls take the largest part.

Stone artifacts are mainly tools of production. Only a few stone artifacts have been discovered. All of them are ground stone tools. Main types range from stone chisels, stone axes, stone rollers, millstones and so on.

There are relatively large amount of bone and antler artifacts. Most of them are tools of production. Primary types contain awls, needles, hairpins, arrowheads, boot-shaped tools, bi-daggers and so on. Among them, there is a bone artifact which might be a handle of a knife. The whole body of a bone artifact is carved with patterns, which is quite special.

bone artifact which might be a handle of a knife

Cultural relics from Han Dynasty are all tombs. More than 60 tombs are intensively distributed and there are very complex stratigraphic successions. These tombs can divide into two categories. Ones are secondary tombs. Almost no human skeletons and burial goods are unearthed at all. Mounds on the ground and tomb chambers of most tombs have already destroyed. Graves are usually rectangular in plane with a vertical shaft earthen-pit. Within the tomb, filling soil is rammed layer by layer. The others are first burials in relatively well preservation state. Most of them have a mound on the ground. Layers of rammed earth and traces left by ramming are obvious inside the tombs. In the lower part and bottom of tomb chambers, there are grey-bricks being paved.

Burial goods conclude bronze artifacts, iron artifacts, silver artifacts, potteries and so on. Bronze artifacts are relatively few, including bronze mirrors, bronze mou-cooking vessels and bronze coins and so on. Iron artifacts have swords. Silver artifacts conclude covers on the top of a cover umbrella of a carriage. Potteries are the mainstream, including jars and pots and so on.

Han Dynasty Tomb M6

There are 12 hearths from Jin-Yuan Periods. The hearths have simple forms, most of which are round or oval in plane. They haven’t been used for a very long time and might be temporary facilities. Rich artifacts have been discovered, most of which are porcelain jars and porcelain bowls and etc.

Academic significance

Cultural remains in the early period of Dawenkou Culture uncovered from Helou site are abundant. Some potteries like bo-bowls with a broad red strip on the top of the rim, gang-jars with open mouth, have similarities with those from the first period of Hougang Culture, Yangshao Cultural remains at Xishuipo site in Puyang. As the first scientific excavation of cultural remains from early period of Dawenkou Culture in Heze area, it greatly enhances the understanding of evolution of archaeological cultural patterns in this region. There are rich pottery production features from Neolithic period being discovered. Meanwhile, relatively many well-made bone artifacts are unearthed from the site. The discoveries provide vital important materials for research on handicraft archaeology in southwest area of Shandong Province and also give precious scientific evidences for better understanding and recoveries of pottery-production and bone tools-production technologies.

Kitchen range

Forms and structures of tombs from Han Dynasty are rather special, like very long and narrow layout, very rare in other regions, which could be unique funeral practice in Heze area. Thus, the finds of the tombs are of important value to understand burial practice and rituals in Heze area in Han Dynasty.

According to results of excavations, Helou site belongs to typical mound site, or regarded as “Hill site”. “Hill sites” are largely distributed in east of Henan Province and west of Shandong Province. Thorough study on Helou site will help to understand changes of natural environments and living ways of local people in this area.(Translator:Ma huanhuan)






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