China’s Majiabang Culture 6,000 Years Ago

Majiabang Culture (马家浜文化) existed during the so-called Neolithic Age at the mouth of the Yangtze River, primarily around Lake Tai, in the area between Changzhou in southern Jiangsu and Hangzhou in northern Zhejiang, centred with Jiaxing, 100 km from Shanghai.

Its existence was previously unknown until 1959 during a government-organised archaeological study at village Majiabang in Jiaxing.

The unearthed items from various archaeological sites so far include stone axes with holes, ploughs made of animal bones, wooden shovels and ceramic pestles. The further study confirms people in that area by then had already grown two kinds of rice commonly consumed by Chinese today.

Apart from agriculture, Chinese in the Neolithic Age also worked on a large scale of fishing, with pottery fishing net holders, bone fishing darts, bone/stone arrowhead excavated from the sites.

The archaeological evidence further show they also began to domesticate dogs, pigs and buffaloes.

There are a number of building remains from that period have been discovered, which include wooden columns and the walls made of weaved reeds and painted with soil between the columns, roofs formed by reeds, bamboos and dry grasses, and the floor constructed made with compact earth, mixed with gravel and shells.

It suggests the traditional Chinese timber frame structure with tusk tenon joints had already been developed 7,000 years ago and widely used in the Majiabang cultural sphere.

Most interestingly, there were even drainage ditches around some of the building sites found.

Carbon-14 dating method has been involved in determining the age of the sites and artefacts.

Following are some items unearthed from the excavation.

7,000-Year-Old Rice

The carbonised rice was unearthed from the site in Jiaxing (嘉兴).

A 7,000-Year-Old Spinning Wheel

The spinning wheel for loom was unearthed from Wu County in Suzhou.

Fabrics during that period excavated from Wu County were found to be weaved with woody climbing vines, the quality of which is even better than most plain linen.

A 7,000-Year-Old Ceramic Water Jar

The jar was excavated from Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province.

A 7,000-Year-Old Ceramic Plate

The plate was unearthed from Jiaxing between Shanghai and Hangzhou.

A 7,000-Year-Old Ceramic Jar

The jar with decorative patterns all over and in the shape of a bird was unearthed from Jiaxing.

7,000-Year-Old Jade Ornaments

These jade artefacts were recently unearthed from Liyang, of city Changzhou, in Jiangsu Province, not far from Suzhou.

A 7,000-Year-Old Jade Earring

The earring was unearthed from Jiaxing.

A 7,000-Year-Old Jade Pendant

The patient was unearthed from Jiaxing.

COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS

Nono Castro:
Does anyone know what this symbol means in Chinese culture and if it has a meaning beyond decorative? Thank you.

All Things Chinese:
A pendant was used to hang from the waistband, both for ornamental purposes and as a status symbol. It is made into such shape because it’s easy to make and to use.

Chi W:
this is Bi disk which might be found on the front body of rich for identity at the burial site. It is interesting to know date back to 7000 years ago Neolithic period, people have invented a tool to sharpen and polish hardest stone jade.

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