The Yin Ruins, home to China's earliest writing--the oracle bone inscriptions, is under review for inclusion into the World Heritage List during the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee in Lithuania.
"We have expected for Yin Ruins's listing for long," says Tang Jigen, an archaeologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). "Whatever the result (of the voting) is, the value of Yin Ruins is eternal, and we shall study and protect her forever."
Located in Anyang, central China's Henan Province, the Yin Ruins is the earliest remains of an ancient capital city in China, which can be dated back to some 3300 years ago in the Shang Dynasty (1600BC-1100 BC), also known as the Yin Dynasty.
Liu Qingzhu, director of the Archaeology Research Institute of CASS calls the Yin Ruins "cradle of Chinese Archaeology". Since its excavation in late 19th century, over 150,000 tortoise shells and animal bones bearing inscriptions that recorded harvest, astronomical phenomena, worship rituals and wars have been unearthed.
"The oracle is the origin of Chinese characters, which are now used by a quarter of the world population," says Professor Li Boqian, an archaeologist with Beijing University. "These pictographs are the sole ancient characters that passed on until today."
The Yin Ruins witnessed the prime of China's Bronze Age. They are home to the biggest bronze ware ever discovered in the world--the Simuwu Ding, an 875-kilogram four-legged boiler.
Professor Li notes that some unique Chinese traditions also originated from the Yin Ruins, like the axisymmetric style in city layout, which has been followed by most Chinese cities for over 3,000 years, including Beijing.
A state-level cultural heritage, the Yin Ruins was written into the list of special preservation in 1961.
To preserve the 30-square kilometer ruins, local governments has relocated residents within or close to the area, and built a relic park in 2001.
China began to seek inclusion of the ruins into the World Heritage List in 1999.