Origins of ancient Chinese civilization under reconsideration

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Washington, August 21 (ANI): Recent archaeological discoveries from far-flung corners of China are forcing scientists to reconsider the origins of ancient Chinese civilization.

A group of articles by Science news writer Andrew Lawler have explored how, over several millennia, China evolved from a much wider array of peoples and cultures than once imagined.

Lawler crisscrossed China recently for three weeks, traveling from the country's steamy southeastern plains to the rugged westernmost province of Xinjiang, interviewing dozens of archaeologists at a host of sites.

This special news package puts a spotlight on how the various archaeological findings of the past decade are challenging what the Chinese people once thought about their country and themselves.

The wealth of these recent archaeological discoveries demands a re-write of some history books - and young scholars are even now questioning the existence of a legendary Chinese dynasty, the Xia.

Less willing to take ancient texts at face value than their predecessors, this new generation of Chinese researchers is relying on physical data - and more "Western" methods - in their attempts to accurately retrace Chinese history.

"The exciting discoveries made recently across China, coupled with the country's fast-paced development, make this an opportune time to dig into new questions about China's origins, the state of its threatened ancient sites, and the increasing expertise of its archaeologists," said Lawler, author of the Science news package.

Lawler's special news package on Chinese archaeology covers the accidental discovery and later excavation of Jinsha, an ancient site located near downtown Chengdu in Sichuan, and about 600 miles (1000 kilometers) from the traditional center of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River.

Long assumed to have been a cultural backwater, researchers have only recently gleaned the real history of Sichuan's surprisingly ancient and rich culture, which is thousands of years older than they had once believed.

These recent discoveries have led Chinese researchers to acknowledge significant outside influence on their ancient culture, breaking an old taboo put in place when China was largely closed to the outside world. (ANI)

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