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China finds ancient large casting workshop

By Li Jianbin (Guangming Daily)

13:41, December 15, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Another great discovery was recently made in the 2011 expedition of the Yungang Grottoes, which has been followed closely by the archaeological field at home and abroad.

This finding not only confirms the presence of metallurgical casting bases in the eras of Song, Liao and Jin described in "Heavenly Creations," China's encyclopedia in the 17th century, but also mirrors the different construction styles and prosperity of Yungang grottoes in the Northern Wei, Liao and Jin periods.

In the Buddhist monastery site during the Northern Wei and Liao Jin dynasties discovered earlier, archaeologists found ruins of a large casting workshop, which included a crypt casting well bay and 30 blast furnaces and wells.

The Yungang Joint Archaeological Team leader and Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology researcher Zhang Qingjie said that the newly found Liao and Jin casting workshop was on the tops of the fifth and sixth grottoes of Yungang.

Unearthed objects also include tower bases, stone column bases, potteries, bowls and eaves tiles in design of animal faces in addition to casting well bays, blast furnaces and wells. These are currently the Song, Liao and Jin casting ruins found most close to those recorded in Heavenly Creations.

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