Chinese archaeologists have unearthed a chime stone, believed to be the largest of its kind ever found in the country, in northwest China.
The chime stone is 91 cm long and 61 cm wide, with a thickness of four cm. It was found in the Lajia Ruins in Minhe County, Qinghai Province.
The ruins were listed as one of the 10 major archaeological finds in China in 2000.
The rectangular chime stone was made in imitation of an ancientstone knife. Small holes were drilled in it so that it could be suspended from a frame.
As parts of special musical instruments used for imperial rituals, similar chime stones have been discovered at the imperialtombs of the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th centuries B.C.).
The latest discovery shows that the Lajia site, belonging to the Qijia culture, enjoyed high social and political status, said Wang Guodao, deputy director of the Qinghai Archaeological Research Institute.
Records show that the Qijia Culture flourished in the transition period from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze Age, some 3,500 to 4,000 years ago.
The Lajia Ruins are located on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, covering an area of 200,000 square meters. Last year, archaeologists unearthed three houses and 14 human skeletons as well as some pieces of pottery and jade, and bronze containers there.