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Story of Nantong (Volume I) – Qingdun Ruins

Updated: Nov 29, 2022 en.nantong.gov.cn Print
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Nantong is located on the north side of the mouth of the Yangtze River in Southeast Jiangsu province in China and is known as the "gateway to the Yangtze River and the Yellow Sea."

The city is known nationwide for its textiles, architecture, education, and sports.

It is famed for its residents' longevity, its many museums, and its high level of safety.

Moreover, it is the largest source of new overseas Chinese immigrants across the world.

The river- and sea-facing Nantong connects North and South China as one of the first places in East China to witness the rising sun.

The city boasts a long history and beautiful landscapes and is a leading modern Chinese city.

It attaches great importance to business and industrial development, and its booming economy is a testament to its continued glory as one of the birthplaces of China's modern industry.

Let's take a closer look at Nantong through illustrations in this book.

Hopefully, they will offer an opportunity for people within and outside China to appreciate the city's extraordinary beauty.

Qingdun Ruins

The history of Nantong dates back to the Neolithic Age.

The Hai'an and Rugao areas were among the first in Nantong to see the formation of land.

Located in northwestern Hai'an is an archaeological site well-known in the Chinese archaeological community: the Nanmo Town Qingdun Village Neolithic Age Archaeological Site discovered in the 1970s, also known as the Qingdun Ruins.

The Qingdun Ruins, covering an area of more than 20,000 square meters, are the largest, most well-preserved Neolithic archaeological site with the richest cultural remains in eastern Jianghuai Region.

Using Carbon-14 to test the charcoal excavated from the middle layer of the Qingdun Ruins, archaeologists determined that the site is 5,015 (± 85) years old (and the corrected value based on dendrochronology is 6,525 ± 110 years).

The excavation of the Qingdun Ruins has shown that the land in Hai'an took shape at least 5,000 years ago, and that the area has since became home to many people.

It also shows that the origin of Nantong's history can be traced back to Qingdun.

The discovery of the Qingdun Ruins pushed the date of origin of the Nantong area back 3,000 years earlier than before.

The Qingdun Ruins are among the sixth batch of sites to be listed by the State Council as Major Historical and Cultural Sites Protected at the National Level.

Archaeologists consider the following cultural relics the first of their kind:

1) A pottery axe with a pierced handle, the only axe of its kind from burial excavations throughout China.

It is considered "the first axe of China" because it helped the archaeological community solve the mystery of how to fit handles to stone axes.

2) The decorative patterns on the round handle of a pottery stemmed cup, the first example of dividing a circle into five equal parts in early times in China.

It is an example of the "level of advancement of mathematics and geometry" at the time.

3) Carved elk antlers, also known as "the first hexagrams of the East" and considered the preliminary symbols of I Ching hexagrams.

4) Antler boomerangs, which were first created and used as hunting tools in the Asia-Pacific region but were discovered in China for the first time.

5) Pile-dwelling architecture, located on the north bank of the Yangtze River and dating back more than 5,000 years.

It was discovered in China for the first time.

6) Charred rice, indicating that the Qingdun people started growing rice as early as 5,000 years ago during the time of the Liangzhu and Hemudu cultures in Zhejiang.

An even more precious discovery is that of drinking vessels unearthed from the Qingdun Ruins.

Based on the archaeological findings of the Qingdun Ruins, archaeologists concluded that the ruins date back to the late Neolithic Age, when societies were organized around patrilineal kinship.

The agricultural society established by the Qingdun people is the source of Jianghuai culture.

Archaeological discoveries revealed that the climate was humid and the soil was fertile in western Hai'an, which revolved around Qingdun at the time.

The Qingdun people were mainly engaged in slash-and-burn agriculture, fishing, and hunting.

At the time, the primitive handicraft industry, which centered on pottery, textiles, and preliminary architecture, had emerged and exchange of goods had begun.

Also discovered in the excavation were elk antlers, bones, and bone hairpins, which archaeologists identified as preliminary textual symbols that may be used for divination.

About 4,000 years ago, an abrupt change in global climate led to rising sea levels. As a result, the Lixiahe sedimentary plain sank and Qingdun culture disappeared into history.

However, the torch of civilization in Nantong, which originated from Qingdun, continues to this day.

Editor-in-chief: Yu Lei

Editor: Wang Yun

Photo by Gu Yao

Translated by Wang Haifei from Shanghai Waiyuan Translation Agency

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