Finds Confirm China's Ancient Trade Route Port

Chinese archaeologists say they have found more evidence to prove Hepu, at Beihai City in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was the oldest departure point on the country's ancient maritime trading route.

When excavating Hepu city ruins dating from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), the archaeologists found city walls and a moat around the old city, as well as discovering tombs close to the city ruins and numerous pottery pieces from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).

"The gentle slope between the moat and the city walls means such works were not meant for defense, but served as a symbol and for trading convenience," said Xiong Zhaoming, an associate research fellow and head of the excavation team.

Historical records say Hepu was known for producing pearls. It was declared a county in 111 BC during Emperor Wudi's reign in the Western Han Dynasty, and Lianzhou Town at Hepu became a three-tierl ocal government seat.

A large number of tombs and cultural relics have been discovered from a protected zone covering over 60 square kilometers. Funerary objects excavated include imported jewelry and utensils fashioned from such materials as colored glazed pottery, amber, agate and crystal. These in turn confirm Hepu's position in ancient China as a prosperous port for the maritime trading route.

Xiong said the archaeologists would next search for the ruins of the ancient Hepu port near the western gate of Hepu County.



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