Skip to comments.Zheng He's Tomb Found in Nanjing
Posted on 06/26/2010 11:45:40 AM PDT by Palter
A recently excavated tomb in Nanjing has been confirmed to be the grave of Zheng He, a eunuch from the early Ming Dynasty who led historic voyages to Southeast Asia and eastern Africa. The tomb was discovered accidentally on June 18th by workers at a construction site near Zutang Mountain that also holds the tombs of many other Ming Dynasty eunuchs, the Yangtse Evening News reported.
The tomb was 8.5 meters long and 4 meters wide and was built with blue bricks, which archaeologists said were only used in structures belonging to dignitaries during the time of Zheng He.
But experts believed his remains were not placed in the tomb because of the long distance between Nanjing and India, where he died during a visit in 1433.
Born in 1371, Zheng He was an excellent navigator and diplomat in the Ming Dynasty. He led the royal fleet to southwest Asia and east Africa on seven occasions from 1405 to 1433, nearly a century before Christopher Columbus discovered the American continent in 1492.
A worker clean soil at the entrance to the tomb.
What a bummer if he spent all that time and labor but never got to use it.
I’ll keep the tiny ship and my stones, thanks.
I enjoy this type of reading. Interesting.....
Oh, wait, who’s on first. He’s on second.
but they shrugged and went home and didn’t bother to colonize did they? same with the Vikings or the Polynesians.
It should be: Zheng. His Tomb Found in Nanjing.
Third person, possessive... :0)
Really? Then there will no doubt be fascinating artifacts in his tomb which will be traced back to the New World.
Hu He was his smarter brother...
According to one ancient legend, a Chinese official named Wan-Hoo attempted a flight to the moon using a large wicker chair to which were fastened 47 large rockets. Forty seven assistants, each armed with torches, rushed forward to light the fuses. In a moment there was a tremendous roar accompanied by billowing clouds of smoke. When the smoke cleared, the flying chair and Wan-Hu were gone.
Just because the Communists like pinyin doesn't mean we have to use it.
Aside from all the jesting and stupid comments -— I find this interesting.
Zheng He is an interesting individual from Chinese history. If the point of Menzies book is true, then the course of this country’s history would be changed.
Who knows where that age of exploration would have led if China hadn’t withdrawn into itself.
Thanks GeronL, blam, and BenLurkin.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· Archaeology · The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
They’d have built the railroads fifty years sooner?
But seriously, Zheng He didn’t make it to America, even though IMHO Columbus was by no means the first to sail over.
:’) That will be a good test.
‘Earliest Writing’ Found In China
BBC | 4-17-2003 | Paul Rincon
Posted on 04/18/2003 9:35:03 AM PDT by blam
Prehistoric Oriental ‘Venus’ Carved On Cliff Discovered In Ningxia
Peoples Daily | 12-23-2003
Posted on 12/23/2003 5:43:09 PM EST by blam
China: Archeologists shake up history
(Jinsha Ruins, Sanxingdui Culture)
Taipei Times | 07/13/05
Posted on 07/13/2005 7:21:21 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
‘Earliest Chinese Characters’ Unearthed
Xinhua News | 10-19-2006
Posted on 10/20/2006 1:51:02 PM EDT by blam
Cliff carvings may rewrite history of Chinese characters
Xinhua News Agency | 5-18-07 | unknown
Posted on 05/18/2007 10:33:37 AM PDT by Renfield
Chinese writing ‘8,000 years old’
BBC | Friday, May 18, 2007
Posted on 05/18/2007 11:54:50 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu
-also of interest-
Central Asia’s Lost Civilization
Discover Magazine | November 2006 | Andrew Lawler
Posted on 11/01/2006 11:47:33 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Unknown Writing System Uncovered On Ancient Olmec Tablet
scienceagogo | 15 September 2006 | by Kate Melville
Posted on 07/30/2008 6:58:45 PM PDT by Fred Nerks
The Ming Voyages
“China, the West, and World History in Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China” by Robert Finlay, in Journal of World History (Fall 2000), Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2840 Kolowalu St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.
Thanks to British scholar Joseph Needham’s monumental Science and Civilisation in China (1954-98), westerners have a whole new appreciation of China’s richly inventive past. Especially compelling was his account of 15th-century Chinese expeditions to Southeast Asia and, through the Indian Ocean, to India, Arabia, and Africa. Renowned now as voyages of discovery, they show up in many notable treatments of world history. Needham drew a sharp contrast between those peaceful Ming dynasty expeditions (1405-33) of Zheng He, whom he portrays as China’s answer to Vasco da Gama, and the early-16th-century Portuguese voyages of conquest. But Needham’s portrait of the Ming expeditions is “seriously skewed,” argues Finlay, a historian at the University of Arkansas.
Though Needham (1900-95) acknowledged that the motives behind the seven expeditions by Zheng HeÃs 300-odd junks were mixed, he claimed that the chief purpose, growing stronger with each expedition, was “proto-scientific” — the scholarly gathering of rare materials and knowledge. Trade, though extensive, was incidental, he maintained, and the peaceful fleet’s 26,000 troops had “primarily ceremonial” duties since they were part of “a navy paying friendly visits to foreign ports.” Far more important than merchants and military men, according to Needham, were the fleet’s astronomers, geomancers, physicians, and naturalists.
The reality was quite different, Finlay argues. The eunuch admiral Zheng He “did not, as Needham asserts, inspire the Ming voyages, and there is no significant sense in which he can be regarded as an explorer. He commanded the maritime expeditions as a military agent of the Yongle emperor, a ruler who had no interest in voyages of discovery. . . . Aggressive and ruthless, Yongle was one of the most militaristic rulers in Chinese history.” He had come to power in a bloody civil war, personally commanded campaigns against the Mongols, and, starting in 1406 — the year after Zheng He’s fleet first sailed to Southeast Asia — sent an army of more than 200,000 men to invade Vietnam. “Yet the emperor does not figure in Needham’s analysis,” Finlay observes.
The 26,000 troops on the Chinese junks were not “a ceremonial cortege for diplomatic occasions” (being much too numerous and expensive for that), Finlay says, but rather “an expeditionary force for executing the emperor’s will, whether that meant militarizing the tribute system, suppressing piracy in Southeast Asia, bringing overseas Chinese ports under control, or even making Siam and Java vassal states of the empire.” And the many “experienced, heavily armed” troops, not the “’calm and pacific’” nature of the Chinese, were the reason that the voyages were generally tranquil. Nor was trade merely incidental, “for Yongle evidently intended to harness the force (and profits) of seaborne commerce to serve the purposes of imperial hegemony in Southeast Asia.”
Needham, a former biochemist who subscribed to an idiosyncratic blend of Marxism and Christianity, was determined, says Finlay, “to present the Ming expeditions as embodying the virtues of China in contrast to the vices of the West.” Science and Civilisation in China is an encyclopedic survey of Chinese accomplishments in science and technology. But, “as with the voyages of Zheng He,” Finlay says, Needham’s account of those accomplishments “ignores social, political, and economic contexts.” Needham’s claims about the impact of Chinese inventions on Europe are also suspect, Finlay thinks. Yet, despite its flaws, he says, the late scholarÃs masterwork “remains an extraordinary achievement.”
Reprinted from the Spring 2001 Wilson Quarterly
Chinatown, 1000 B.C.Mike Xu, a linguist at Texas Christian University... has spent years analyzing jade, stone, and pottery relics from the Olmec, an ancient people that inhabited the American Southwest and Central America 3,000 years ago. He was struck by how closely the symbols on the artifacts resembled Chinese inscriptions from the Shang dynasty in China. "There are hundreds of these symbols that occur again and again, throughout the entire Olmec territory," Xu says. The Shang writings date from 1600 to 1100 b.c. Traces of the Olmec civilization abruptly appear during this span, around 1200 to 1100 B.C. Olmec and Shang artistic styles look much alike, and the two cultures followed related religious practices. For instance, both used cinnabar, a red pigment, to decorate ceremonial objects, and both put jade beads in the mouths of the dead to ward off evil. "The similarities are just too striking to be a coincidence," he says.
by Jocelyn SelimThe Olmec and the ShangLast year, in a book entitled Origin of the Olmec Civilization, Professor Mike Xu, a Chinese who teaches in the foreign languages department at the University of Central Oklahoma, proposed a hypothesis which aroused a storm of controversy in archeological circles. In Xu's view, the first complex culture in Mesoamerica may have come into existence with the help of a group of Chinese who fled across the seas as refugees at the end of the Shang dynasty. The Olmec civilization arose around 1200 BC, which coincides with the time when King Wu of Zhou attacked and defeated King Zhou, the last Shang ruler, bringing his dynasty to a close.
by Claire Liu
tr. by Robert TaylorA tale of two culturesThe Smithsonian's Meggers says that Chen's analysis of the colors "makes sense. But his reading of the text is the clincher. Writing systems are too arbitrary and complex. They cannot be independently reinvented."
by Charles Fenyvesi2,500 Years Before Columbus[W]hen the last Shang king was defeated and killed by rivals in 1122 B.C., his loyalists were forced to flee to the "East Ocean" or Pacific, notes Xu in his new book, Origin of the Olmec Civilization (University of Central Oklahoma Press, 1996)... Numerous notable Chinese scholars have confirmed Xu's readings of the Olmec inscriptions, including Han Ping Chen, a scholar of ancient Chinese from the Historical Research Institute at the China Social Science Academy. After examining 146 characters and symbols from the Olmec culture, Chen reported: "These symbols, if found or excavated in China (except rock art and carving), would certainly be regarded as prehistoric Chinese characters or symbols. Of 146 symbols, many are 100 percent identical to ancient Chinese characters. Some, I am afraid, can be easily recognized by Chinese first graders in elementary schools..." ...William Boltz of the University of Washington and Robert Bagley of Princeton dismissed as "rubbish" the notion that the characters could be Chinese. The criticism infuriates Xu -- and rightly so, we might add. "Most experts in Olmec studies do not have any idea about ancient Chinese writings and Asian cultures or tradition," says Xu, who was educated in both China and the United States. "How on Earth could they comment on top Chinese scholars reading Chinese as 'rubbish'?"
by Patrick HuygheAmerica's earliest written language uncoveredCarvings believed to be the earliest form of written language in the Americas have been found in Mexico. Symbols dating back to 650BC were found by archaeologists in the San Andreas region of Tabasco state, near the Gulf of Mexico. They were found on chips from a stone plaque and on a cylinder stone used for printing that were unearthed in a dig at the site of an ancient Olmec city near La Venta. The symbols are 350 years older than the oldest previously discovered American writings... The carvings were interpreted to mean "king" and "3 Ajaw", which researchers believe was the name of a ruler. The Olmec's system of carvings for dates and names was adopted by the Mayas, who then developed it into a highly sophisticated language over the next 1,000 years.
Friday 6th December 2002'Earliest writing' found in ChinaSigns carved into 8,600-year-old tortoise shells found in China may be the earliest written words, say archaeologists... They predate the earliest recorded writings from Mesopotamia - in what is now Iraq - by more than 2,000 years. The archaeologists say they bear similarities to written characters used thousands of years later during the Shang dynasty, which lasted from 1700-1100 BC... The archaeologists have identified 11 separate symbols inscribed on the tortoise shells. The shells were found buried with human remains in 24 Neolithic graves unearthed at Jiahu in Henan province, western China. The site has been radiocarbon dated to between 6,600 and 6,200 BC. The research was carried out by Dr Garman Harbottle, of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, US, and a team of archaeologists at the University of Science and Technology of China, in Anhui province... Dr Harbottle points to the persistence of sign use at different sites along the Yellow River throughout the Neolithic and up to the Shang period, when a complex writing system appears. He emphasised that he was not suggesting the Neolithic symbols had the same meanings as Shang characters they resembled... The shells come from graves where, in 1999, the researchers unearthed ancient bone flutes. These flutes are the earliest musical instruments known to date.
by Paul RinconSites of Shang and Zhou Dynasties unearthed at construction site in JiangxiRecently, reporters learned from Pengze County, Jiangxi that a construction unit of the Pengze-Hukou Expressway recently unearthed a large number of stoneware including stone axes, stone chisels and net sinkers, and ceramic ware such as kettles, pots, dings, spinning wheels and wrist straps, as well as a few cultural relics in the form of bronze spears while working in Mashan Village in Langxi Town of Pengze County.
People's Daily Online
December 12, 2008
To date, archeologists have already excavated over 80 square trial pits each covering an area of 25 square meters, with the total excavation area exceeding 2,000 square meters. According to excavation findings and verification by archeologists, this site was in existence during the late Shang Dynasty and early Zhou Dynasty, and is identified as the "Taimashan Site."
During the excavation, the archeologists discovered for the first time large-sized highland habitation sites of ancient humans, which prove that whole tribes existed around the Pengze basin in the south of the Yangtze River during the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.Ancient ruins of salt-making from Shang and Zhou Dynasties found in ShouguangRecently, archeologists from the China Academy of Social Sciences and School of Archaeology and Museology from Peking University and Shandong Province visited and inspected archeological sites of salt-making at the Shuangwangcheng reservoir in Shouguang, Shandong Province. All the experts agree that the relics can be dated back to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, and preliminarily examinations conclude that these are important ancient ruins connected to the salt industry.
People's Daily Online
December 15, 2008
With over 80 sites covering 30 square kilometers the discovery of such densely distributed ancient ruins connected to salt-making is the first of its kind in China's archaeological history.
The ancient ruins found in this archaeological exploration are relatively intact and the cultural relics unearthed have been mainly helmet-shaped potteries, with most of them belonging to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.
The excavation has provided important information for the study of the ancient salt industry and ancient social life.
Well, accoding to the VERY controversial book 1421, they did, in fact, colonize. Supposedly some tribes in South and North America spoke Chinese.
Of course, this isn’t particularly well documented...
they may own the west coast and hawaii soon anyways.