Over 2,200-yrs-old ancestral temple complex found in NW China

(Xinhua) 16:29, March 22, 2024

LANZHOU, March 22 (Xinhua) -- A magnificent ancestral temple complex used for royal worship and rituals, dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), has been discovered in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Located in Lixian County, Longnan City of Gansu, the Sijiaoping site is a large-scale ritual building complex designed with a symmetrical layout.

The rammed earth platform at the center of the site features a square, semi-crypt space in the middle, which is paved with floor and wall tiles and connected to a drainage pipe made of clay.

The semi-crypt space is believed to be an open patio with some water catchment and drainage functions, which is the very first of its kind to be unraveled in ancient ritual buildings, said Pei Jianlong, a researcher from the provincial institute of cultural relics and archaeology.

The overall building complex was designed and constructed under strict and scientific planning with systematic and large-scale component manufacturing specifications, said Hou Hongwei, another researcher from the same institute.

It is likely to be the remains of the ancestral temple prepared for the first emperor of Qin when he unified China and returned to his hometown to hold sacrificial activities for the Heaven and his ancestors, according to Hou.

The discovery indicates a new architectural pattern for ancestral temples, which helps enrich the development history of China's state sacrificial buildings and illustrates the style and spiritual essence during the early period of the formation of a unified country in ancient China, Hou added.

The site is among China's top 10 archaeological findings of 2023.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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