Chinese archaeologists have discovered an ancient pottery kiln, dating back about 3,500 years, in Chifeng, a city in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
"This is the first time a pottery kiln belonging to the Lower Xiajiadian Culture has been found in China," said Prof. Zhu Hong, director of the Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology of Jilin University in northeast China's Jilin Province.
The kiln, located in a stone city site of the Lower Xiajiadian Culture, is 1.37 meters in diameter and 0.56 meters high. The fire pit is 2.32 meters long, 0.5 meters wide, and 0.38 meters high.
Archaeologists have found a lot of clods, ashes and pottery chips inside the fire pit, said Prof. Chen Guoqing, head of the excavation project at the Research Center.
The discovery of the kiln shows that the Lower Xiajiadian Culture in north China had been influenced by the culture from the central plain area in China. Canister-shaped pots, the most representative containers which had been used in the region before, were replaced by three-legged containers such as Ding and Li tripods, which were traditional containers in the central plain, Chen said.
The Lower Xiajiadian Culture, a branch of the northern bronze culture during the Xia and Shang dynasties, dates back to 3,500-4,000 years ago, between the late Neolithic Age and Bronze Age.
The discovery is of great significance in researching the formation and development of pottery kilns in Liaoxi district (which includes the western Liaoning Province and Chifeng in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region) in the pre-historical times, Zhu said.
The earliest pottery kiln spotted in China belongs to the Hongshan Culture, dating back 5,000 years. Two pottery kilns of the Hongshan Culture have been unearthed at the same site where the one belonging to the Lower Xiajiadian Culture was discovered. Both kilns were about 1,000 years older than the one belonging to the Xiajiadian Culture.