China is the area with the earliest civilization， more than 3000 years ago history. There are many developed cities in Chinese history， Cities as Xi’an, Luoyang, Beijing, etc. There were some controversies about the beginnings and the origins of Chinese civilization. However, once you see the archaeological evidence in Liangzhu Ancient City with your eyes, you would be in no doubt about this long history.
What is the oldest city in China?
Liangzhu Ancient City in the Yangtze River Delta region in eastern China is the oldest city in China. Neolithic peoples inhabited the area between 5300 and 4300 years ago, making this an important archaeological site.
It is generally agreed that Liangzhu Ancient City was the first Neolithic city site discovered along the Yangtze River’s lower reaches. One of the most significant archaeological discoveries in China’s history was made in the 1930s, when the city was uncovered.
During the late Neolithic period, the city served as a focal point for the Liangzhu culture, which flourished in the area around the Yangtze River. The Liangzhu culture is well-known for its complex ceramics, exquisite jade carvings, and groundbreaking water conservation initiatives like the world’s first dam.
Due to its central location and proximity to a network of water conservancy projects, the city served as an agricultural and commercial hub in ancient China. There were also walls and gates built around the city to keep out invaders.
The ancient city of Liangzhu is now a popular tourist destination for those interested in learning about China’s long and illustrious past thanks to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are remnants of the city’s walls, gates, and water conservancy projects, as well as a museum housing artifacts and exhibits related to the Liangzhu culture.
Where did China’s earliest cities develop?
Located in the Yangtze River Basin on the south-eastern coast of the country, the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu (about 3,300-2,300 BCE) reveal an early regional state with a unified belief system based on rice cultivation in Late Neolithic China. The property is composed of four areas – the Area of Yaoshan Site, the Area of High-dam at the Mouth of the Valley, the Area of Low-dam on the Plain and the Area of City Site. These ruins are an outstanding example of early urban civilization expressed in earthen monuments, urban planning, a water conservation system and a social hierarchy expressed in differentiated burials in cemeteries within the property.
how about liangzhu ancient city china?
The Liangzhu Ancient City Site is located in the hilly area of the western Zhejiang Province and the Hangjiahu Plain border zone. The terrain is high in the west and low in the east. The south and north are the branches of the Tianmu Mountain. The Dongshao River and the Liangzhu Port respectively flow eastward from the north and south sides of the city. The two natural hills of Fengshan and Zhishan were respectively utilized to the southwest and northeast corners of the city wall.
Appearance and size
Liangzhu Ancient City is slightly rounded and rectangular, in the north-south direction, 1500-1700 meters from east to west, 1800-1900 meters from north to south, with a total area of more than 2.9 million square meters. The bottom of the city wall is made of paving stones as the foundation, with a width of 40-60 meters. The foundation is built with relatively pure loess, and more than 4 meters high wall remains on the surface of some sections. A total of six water gates were found.
The ordinary residents of Liangzhu Ancient City lived on the outskirts of the city, and the nobles lived on the 300,000-square-meter Mojiaoshan Mountain soil platform in the center of the city. In addition to the giant site of Mojiao Mountain, the central part of Liangzhu Ancient City also has the highest-grade tomb in the end of the Neolithic Age in China– the Fanshan cemetery.
Both the Mojiao Mountain soil platform and the Fanshan Cemetery were discovered by archaeology in the 1980s. It is a famous Yaoshan cemetery five kilometers east of the city, where has unearthed a large number of rituals such as the high-grade Liangzhu culture jade and jade wall. Some people judge from the perspective of field archaeology that the “capital” of Liangzhu ancient state should be here.
On March 15, 2016, the experts confirmed that the water conservancy system around the Liangzhu Ancient City in Hangzhou is the earliest large-scale water conservancy project in China, and the earliest dam system in the world (not the earliest dam), dating back 4,700 to 5,100 years. On May 16th, the investigation and excavation of large-scale water conservancy projects around the Liangzhu Ancient City were rated as the top ten new archaeological discoveries in 2015.
The peripheral water conservancy system is located in the northwest and north of Liangzhu Ancient City, consisting of natural mountain bodies. At present, there are 11 dam sites, which are mainly built at the mouth of the valley between the two mountains. They are divided into two groups of dams in the south and north, namely the low dam group in the south and the high dam group in the north respectively, forming the front and rear protection systems. The southern low dam group is composed of Tangshan, Shizishan, Liyushan, Guanshan, Wutongnong, etc., while the northern high dam group consists of Ganggongling, Tiger Hill, Zhoujiafan, Qiuwu, Shiwu and Bee Nong.
The unearthed relics of the Liangzhu Ancient City site include jade wares, pot wares, stone wares, lacquerwares, bamboo wares, and bone wares, totaling more than 10,000 pieces. Among them, jade wares are mainly used as funerary objects to be excavated in graded cemeteries, with a total of not less than 7,000 pieces. The materials are mainly tremolite, and the types include Jade Cong, Jade Axe, Jade Disc, trigeminal ware, jade Huang, semi-circular ornament, cylindrical ware, jade bracelet, jade weaving, jade spinning wheel, etc., as well as circular carved birds, turtles, fish, dragonflies and other animal-shaped jade.