On Jan. 11, the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology released the 2016 achievements of the Haojing archaeological site. Included in the discoveries were 12 samples of crocodile lamellae, or thin layers of bone, CCTV news reported. Experts speculated that the discovery could constitute evidence of crocodiles’ existence in ancient Xi’an.
The Haojing site, situated in Xi'an's northwestern Chang'an district, was also home to the capital of the Western Zhou Dynasty （lasting from the 11th century BC to 771 BC). Excavation began in the 1930s. The dark brown lamellae are square and round in shape, with cavities on their surface.
“Most crocodiles live in rivers, lakes and swamps in tropical and subtropical areas; based on that, we can speculate that there were large expanses of water or lakes in the southeastern part of Haojing during the Western Zhou Dynasty,” said Yue Lianjian, team leader of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology. Yue added that many clamshells and fishing equipment have been found in the area, offering evidence of a moist climate and developed fishing culture.
Yue said the discovery of the lamellae gave a strong impetus for research into the ecological distribution of crocodiles in the Western Zhou Dynasty. It also revealed how greatly the climate in the area has changed since ancient times.