Water system from early Shang Dynasty discovered in C China
A water system from more than 3,600 years ago has been discovered in Central China's Henan province. This find will improve people's understanding of the city layout back then.
Three ditch sections were found in the ruins of a city from the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan. Together these sections form the largest water system from the early period of the Shang Dynasty to be discovered thus far.
According to local archaeologists, one of the sections was built on a natural river channel, while the remaining two were entirely artificial. About 540 meters of ditches were unearthed, with a width of about 12 meters at the widest point, and a depth of roughly four meters at its deepest point.
"Based on our study of spatial positions and cultural relics recovered from the ditches, we believe that they were interconnected and belonged to a large water system, which demonstrated the grandeur of a Shang capital," said Yang Wensheng, vice director of the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology.
Ruins of the city covered about 25 square kilometers, and it is believed to be a former Shang capital built by Emperor Tang, the first emperor of the Shang Dynasty.
In one of the ditch sections, archaeologists found artificial open channels and stone facilities for water diversion, indicating that in the early Shang Dynasty, there had already been complex functional design of the water system. Remains of handicraft workshops for copper casting and making bone objects were also found.
The ditches were connected with ponds and gardens in the northern parts of the city, which means that water in the system supplied not only production and life in the city, but was also used for landscaping of the city.
"Discovery of this water system enhanced our understanding of the layout of the ancient city, which is of significance for in-depth study of city planning and functional zones division in the early Shang Dynasty capital," said Yang Shugang of the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology.