Shuyuanjie cemetery site: Revealing the ritual system of Shang Dynasty in Henan

Updated: Mar 28, 2024 Print
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Pottery unearthed from the Shuyuanjie cemetery site [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The Shuyuanjie cemetery in Zhengzhou, Henan province, encompassing trenches, tunnels, tombs and sacrificial remains and more, is a structurally and functionally intact cemetery of the high-ranking nobility of the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC).

The trench area of the cemetery is the earliest standardized trench area discovered in China to date, and covers over 30,000 square meters. Rich artifacts from 20 tombs have been unearthed from the site, including bronzeware, goldware, jade ware, turquoise, seashells and sets of sacrificial vessels.

The site provides insight into the standardized funeral rituals of the early Shang Dynasty nobles, revealing innovative ritualistic systems and filling in gaps in our knowledge of related cultures such as the Shang Dynasty bronze and gold cultures.

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