China's largest ancient nomadic campsite unearthed
The campsite, found in Qian'an county in north-east China's Jilin province, served as an administrative centre during the reign of the nomadic Khitans, although the regime's capital city was in inner Mongolia.
Feng Enxue, an archaeologist and professor with Jilin University, told Xinhua Wednesday that emperors of the Liao dynasty usually had four campsites where they lived during the four seasons. In spring and summer, when it was warmer, they moved to the north while in autumn and winter they settled in the south.
The ruins, once the spring campsite, were first found in 2009 and have undergone excavation since August this year. Situated on a vast grassland, the campsite is next to a small lake. Tradition dictates that a Khitan emperor would give the first wild goose he hunted and the first fish caught as offerings for prosperity every year.
Overall it consists of four parts. The biggest, three kilometres wide, is about one-third the size of the entire campsite, containing as many as 900 bases for camping.
While archaeologists have yet to disclose the overall size of the campsite, it is believed to be the largest ever found in China.
During the past two months, archaeologists unearthed more than 100 cultural relics, including tiles, pottery, porcelain, copper coins and Buddha statues.
Site workers also discovered pottery shards, coal cinder and pieces of broken iron-ware, which proved the Khitans dwelled there for short periods.
Jin Xudong, head of the Jilin Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage, told Xinhua that they were considering applying to the World Heritage list.