Archaeologists unearth rare 7,000-year-old bottle in China's Henan

(Xinhua) 13:49, December 21, 2023

ZHENGZHOU, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- A rare type of bottle dating back over 7,000 years has been unearthed at the Peiligang site in the city of Xinzheng, central China's Henan Province, providing archaeologists with the earliest dated artifact of its kind in China.

Bottles with this unusual shape, featuring a small mouth and pointed bottom, are among the representative artifacts of the Yangshao culture and have been unearthed in house sites, ash pits and burial sites. There are various opinions regarding their function, including being considered a water-fetching vessel, brewing container or burial item.

According to Li Yongqiang, associate researcher at the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a preliminary estimate of the newly discovered bottle's age puts it as approximately 7,700 years old. It is over 10 centimeters long, very compact and much smaller than the commonly seen small-mouthed, pointed-bottomed bottles from the Yangshao culture period.

The Yangshao culture, dating back 5,000 to 7,000 years, was a Neolithic culture that originated along the middle reaches of the Yellow River.

"This discovery provides fresh and crucial material evidence for exploring the origin and development relationship between the Peiligang culture and Yangshao culture," said Li.

Li said that in combination with the prior discovery that the settlers of the Peiligang site had already learned how to use red yeast mold for fermentation and brewing wine, the newly discovered bottle could possibly have been a container used by the ancestors for making yeast.

In addition, archaeologists have discovered a large number of late Paleolithic stone artifacts, fragments of ostrich eggshells, pieces of red iron ore, and other items at the Peiligang site. This finding provides new material for the study of major topics such as the late Paleolithic social landscape in the Central Plains region and the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic.

The Peiligang site, dating back approximately 7,600 to 8,000 years, is a typical agricultural settlement site with an area of 50,000 to 60,000 square meters. It is renowned as one of the birthplaces of Chinese agricultural civilization.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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