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China's top archaeological discoveries in 2014

2015-01-22 16:13 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Where did China's ancients, with their infatuation for jade, mine the precious stone?

How did people live in the Erhai region - in today's southwest Yunnan Province - during the Bronze Age some 2,000 years ago?

What kind of civilization did the Zhang Zhung Kingdom - in today's Tibet - have about 1,800 years ago?

What kind of spiritual world is reflected in the mural paintings of a 1,400-year-old tomb?

Where did the Mongol nationality originate?

How did the system of appointing hereditary headmen in the ethnic groups of southwest China develop more than 500 years ago?

Chinese archaeologists unearthed clues to these secrets in 2014.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has selected the six greatest archaeological discoveries in China in 2014: jade mine ruins in Gansu Province; Bronze Age tombs in Yunnan Province; Zhang Zhung Kingdom tombs in Tibet; mural paintings in Shanxi Province; and ancient tombs in Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region and in Guizhou Province

The jade mine ruins, discovered in the Mazong Mountain, in northwest China's Gansu, date back to more than 2,000 years ago.

"It's the oldest jade mine ever discovered in China, offering an important clue to the sourcing of the raw material for jade wares in ancient China," says Chen Guoliao, a researcher with the archeological institute of Gansu Province.

Xin Lixiang, a researcher with the National Museum of China, says this is a very important discovery as jade ware has played an important role in the origin and development of Chinese civilization and as the carrier of Chinese culture.

"The jade mine was found along the Silk Road, showing there was a 'Jade Road' long before the so-called Silk Road," Xin says.

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