Villager refuses bonuses for discovered pottery

08:42, November 05, 2010      

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The discovery site of those Western Zhou dynasty potteries. (Photo by Zhao Jinyang/Wang Hongguang)

A Shandong villager unearthed 36 pieces of ancient pottery and gave them all to a local state-run museum and refused bonus the museum offered him. He said: "Cultural relics belong to our country, and not even one single cent belongs to me."

The villager, named Zheng Bo, was digging earth for a brick factory with other villagers in his village at Longkou City of Shandong Province one day in last April. Suddenly, they found lots of pottery and fragments from earth. After seeing other people take lots of pottery, Zheng also put more than 200 of them on his truck and drove home.

Although, Zheng did not know what the pottery was, but he did know it was worth something. Zheng pondered whether to hand them over to the government or to keep them himself to make some money. Zhen hesitated for some time but finally decided to give them all to the local museum.

After research and inspection, Liang Zhong, a researcher from the Archaeology Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claimed the pottery belonged to the middle period of Western Zhou and dated back more than 2,500 years.

"Pottery was a daily necessity of people in the Western Zhou period, and usually people would like to use them as funeral objects. Also since much ancient pottery was unearthed at Longkou City, so that pottery is not worth a lot of money, but it does have a very high archaeological significance," Ma Zhimin, the director of Longkou Museum, said so.

Recalling then situation, Liu Yutao, the vice director of Longkou Museum, said he doubted the credibility when he received a call and was told ancient pottery was found at Zheng Bo's village. However, when he went to Zheng's house and saw more than 200 pieces of ancient pottery were placed in the yard, he was really shocked. At last, he picked up 36 complete pieces of pottery from them and brought them back to the museum.

Recently, Longkou Museum gave a certificate and 200 yuan to Zheng as a bonus for his handing over those potteries. However, Zheng accepted the certificate happily but not the money. He said "Cultural relics belong to our country, and not even one single cent belongs to me."

Zheng also told reporters that some cultural relic dealers went to his home and wanted to buy the potter. They would prefer to offer him 100 yuan for the complete pottery and 50 or 60 for the broken ones. However, Zheng thought the pottery belongs to the whole country and he could not sell them for money to support himself although he is living on a meager income himself.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online


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