Archaeologists have unearthed three high-temperature ceramic kilns dating back about 2,000 years in a North China village, which shows North China was also the cradle of porcelain, against the conception that porcelain only originates from south China.
The archaeologists from the Hebei provincial cultural relic research institute drew the conclusion on the basis that analysis on wares in the kilns suggests they were made at more than 1,100 Celsius degree, exceeding the temperature of 800-900 Celsius degree required for pottery-making.
Although built during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24), the kilns in Duting village, Tangxian County of Hebei Province are in good conditions. They were named Duting Kilns after the place where it was excavated according to the convention in archeology.
"Many kilns during the Western Han Dynasty have been found before. However, they are not as well-kept as these ones that contain all the information we want," said Meng Fanfeng, head of the excavation team and researcher with the Hebei institute.
The academic circle used to believe chinaware originates from South China, especially Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces because of many ancient kilns unearthed there.
Archaeologists had believed there was no porcelain clay in North China, which has been proved to be wrong.
Some Chinese archaeologists argued in the 1960s that North China is also the cradle of porcelain. However, their idea lacked the support of material evidences and was not widely recognized.
Before the Duting kilns, the earliest pottery site ever found in Northern China dates back to Northern Dynasties(386 A.D.-581 A.D.).
"The excavation of Duting Kilns became a strong support for the idea that North China is one of the cradles of pottery," said Meng.
The Duting kiln site comprising three high-temperature and one low-temperature kilns were discovered amid the efforts to excavate cultural relics along the channels of China's ambitious south-to-north water diversion project, which diverts water from the Yangtze River to water-shortage northern areas.
The site covers a total area of 10,000 square meters and one third of it has been excavated.