34 Years of Archaeological Work on Sanxingdui Ruins Leads to Incredible Discoveries

34 Years of Archaeological Work on Sanxingdui Ruins Leads to Incredible Discoveries

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Sichuan,China: (World View Media, CCTV Reuters)

The finding of six new sacrificial pits at the Sanxingdui Ruins should be attributed to 34 years of archaeological work dedicated to the legendary ruins site research, an expert said.

The six new sacrificial pits, with more than 500 items dating back about 3,000 years unearthed at the Sanxingdui Ruins, shed light on the unified, diverse origin of the Chinese civilization.

Located in the city of Guanghan, southwest China’ Sichuan Province, around 60 km from Chengdu, the ruins covering an area of 12 square km are believed to be the remnants of the Shu Kingdom, dating back some 4,800 years and lasting over 2,000 years.

In 1986, a large number of unique relics were unearthed from the No. 1 and No. 2 pits, arousing global interest. It then took 34 years for the Chinese archeologists to find No. 3-6 pits, which demonstrated long years of hard work dedicated to the ruins site research, said Wang Wei, chairman of the Institute of Archeology and a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

“No. 3-6 pits were not discovered until 2019. When No. 1 and No. 2 pits were unearthed in 1986, a platform was built for their display and protection, which has unfortunately buried the remaining pits underneath. It was not until 2019 when the area was fully excavated for further investigation that No. 3-6 pits were finally discovered. Actually, the past 34 years has not passed without achievements at the ruins site. Since the beginning of the new century, the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute has been working on the Sanxingdui Ruins site, which has led to the discovery of large city sites, high-grade buildings or palaces, and so on. These were all key projects of the exploration project for ‘search of the origin of Chinese civilization’ carried out from 2001 to 2008,” said Wang.

As archeologists unearthed many giant masks at the new sacrificial pits, one bronze mask with protruding eyes has become a focal point of interest for the public, with many believed it could be originated from some mysterious alien civilization.

Though the bronze mask with protruding eyes raises some suspicions over its origins, Wang Wei debunked the myth and explained the historical and cultural reasons behind the unique shape.

“The protruding eyes are indeed unusual and exaggerated. It was regarded as a god, so it was not really what people looked like at that time,” said Wang.

According to historical documents, Cancong, who is believed to be the first king of the Shu Kingdom and also an expert on silkworm breeding, was described as having protruding eyes, a feature that is found in many unearthed artifacts of Sanxingdui.

The Sanxingdui Ruins are dubbed as one of the world’s greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century.

In 1988, the Sanxingdui Ruins site was put under national-level protection.

In October 2019, a new large-scale excavation project at Sanxingdui was launched. To date, more than 50,000 artifacts have been unearthed from the ruins site.

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