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Researchers to Seek Origin of Ancient Chinese Civilization
BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhuanet) ^ | 2001.03.29 22:15:00 | Editorial Staff

Posted on 07/21/2002 1:23:15 PM PDT by vannrox

Researchers to Seek Origin of Ancient Chinese Civilization


2001.03.29 22:15:00



BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhuanet) -- A grand archaeological project will be launched in China in the coming five years, aiming to seek the origin of ancient Chinese civilization, the world's only ancient civilization that has been developing for 5,000 years without interruption.


Researchers will try to find answers to such questions as whether Huangdi and Yandi, two legendary ancestors of the Chinese nation, really existed in history, and whether there were any Chinese characters even older than the inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells discovered in the famous Yin Ruins, which date back to over 3,000 years.


"Why Chinese civilization can last for 5,000 years, while other ancient civilizations in the world fell into oblivion no matter how brilliant they had been in history? The origin, development process, context and mechanism of ancient Chinese civilization are the most important subjects that archaeology should explain," said Li Xueqin, director of the Institute of History under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).


A research center for ancient civilizations has recently been set up under the CASS, inviting more than 200 researchers in this field from China, the United States, Britain, Germany, France and other countries.


In order to study the origin and development process of the Chinese nation, archaeologists will extract genes from the remains of ancients, found in the areas which, according to historical documents and legends, were occupied by Huangdi and Yandi tribes 4, 000 to 5,000 years ago.


The 5,000-year-old genes will be compared with genes extracted from people's remains of Qin and Han dynasties (about 1,000 years ago), and from people today in various regions of China.


Wang Wei, deputy director of the newly founded research center, and one of Chinese leading researchers in ancient civilization, said the project will be focused on the period from 3,000 B.C. to 221 B.C.


The primarily selected subjects of the project include: culture and society of the period of Huangdi and Yandi, origin of Chinese characters, ancient environmental change of the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties (from 2070 B.C. to 220 B.C.), origin of agriculture and animal husbandry, and development of the handicraft industry.


Origin of city, relationship between wars and civilization, origin of religious beliefs, and comparison between ancient Chinese civilization and other ancient civilizations will also be covered in the project, according to Wang.


Some related subjects are ancient music, painting, sculpture, astronomy, calendar, mathematics and metal mining and smelting from the prehistoric period to Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties.


The grand project will involve researchers from over 20 branches of learning including archaeology, philology, anthropology, history of art, linguistics, religious study, astronomy, genetics, remote sensing and radar detection.


The origin of Chinese civilization has long been a complicated and confusing problem in China's academic circles. In the early 20 century, some scholars in Western countries argued that Chinese civilization originated from the West.


This theory was later refuted by a series of world famous archaeological discoveries in China, which all suggest that Chinese civilization originated in the Chinese mainland, said Zhu Naicheng, a researcher of the Institute of Archaeology under the CASS.


Last year, Chinese scientists and researchers completed a key national scientific and technological research program after five years of hard work. They published a 1,200-year chronological list of China's ancient dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou, solving a number of major historical problems that remained unsolved for thousands of years.


Experts say the new archaeological discoveries, dating back 4, 000 to 5,000 years, at the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers and in north China, as well as previous studies, have provided a solid basis for the research into ancient Chinese civilization.


Enditem


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancient; anthropology; archaeology; china; civilization; data; discovery; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; lasting; mystery; origin; past; study; writing
I aplaud their efforts.
1 posted on 07/21/2002 1:23:15 PM PDT by vannrox
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To: vannrox
And then, I'd love them to explain the presence of Red-haired euro-looking mummies found in the desert there :0)
2 posted on 07/21/2002 1:43:32 PM PDT by Chad Fairbanks
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To: vannrox
bttt
3 posted on 07/21/2002 1:49:56 PM PDT by Don Myers
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To: vannrox
What do they mean by "civilization?" I thought that there were several periods over the last 5000 years where China had descended into complete chaos, been conquered by Mongols and red haird Irishmen, and so on. I'll believe that there's been someone living there for 5000 years, but that's true of a lot of places, including Iraq/Persia, Egypt, India, and probably portions of the Sahara now covered by sand.
4 posted on 07/21/2002 1:59:49 PM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
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To: FateAmenableToChange
""What do they mean by "civilization?" ""

They mean the essential elements of the culture. Language, Religion, folk beliefs, food, clothing, legends and stories, etc. All of these and many other elements of the Chinese culture have varied from time to time, but are largely the same as 3,000 years ago.

Before that it gets a lot murkier, but Chinese characters have been found that are nearly 5,000 years old, and are recognizable and readable and clearly the predecessors of todays characters.

Somehow, with all of the invasions and war, the culture has not drifted far from its roots. As far as we can tell.

There is an ancient tradition in China that the Han Chinese, which is the predominant tribe, came into central China from the west, from or through the desert areas of today.
5 posted on 07/21/2002 2:24:50 PM PDT by jimtorr
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To: vannrox
After their relatively recent devolution into communism, they should be trying to find their current civilization.
6 posted on 07/21/2002 7:42:39 PM PDT by SpinyNorman
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To: vannrox
Al Gore invented the ancient Chinese civilization--just ask him.
7 posted on 07/21/2002 7:48:45 PM PDT by rabidralph
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To: vannrox
....the world's only ancient civilization that has been developing for 5,000 years without interruption.

Would that be 5762 years to be more precise?

8 posted on 07/21/2002 7:57:39 PM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: Chad Fairbanks
"I'd love them to explain the presence of Red-haired euro-looking mummies found in the desert there"

You mean these folks?

Cherchen Man

9 posted on 07/21/2002 8:07:35 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Yes... fascinating topic, no? :0)
10 posted on 07/21/2002 9:14:30 PM PDT by Chad Fairbanks
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To: Chad Fairbanks
"Yes... fascinating topic, no? :0)"

Yes. I have read a number of books about them. The best two are: Tarim Mummies, Victor Mair and The Munmmies Of Urumchi, Elizabeth Barber.

11 posted on 07/21/2002 9:20:28 PM PDT by blam
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To: Victoria Delsoul; blam; callisto; Ernest_at_the_Beach; LostTribe; RightWhale; Rutabega; ...
((((((growl)))))



12 posted on 07/21/2002 9:26:56 PM PDT by Sabertooth
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To: Chad Fairbanks
Very fascinating. 6'7"--I was under the impression that avg. height had generally increased over time. Was this guy a beef, or did he come from a line of beefs? And what was he doing crossing that forsaken desert?
13 posted on 07/21/2002 9:33:29 PM PDT by Pistias
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To: Chad Fairbanks
Phoenicians? (Word means red headed or red hair. And they were very tall, and fair.)
14 posted on 07/21/2002 9:53:19 PM PDT by LostTribe
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To: vannrox
some scholars in Western countries argued that Chinese civilization originated from the West.

gee imagine that.

15 posted on 07/21/2002 10:18:55 PM PDT by staytrue
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To: Sabertooth
Bump for later (much later) read. :-)
16 posted on 07/21/2002 11:27:56 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Pistias
"And what was he doing crossing that forsaken desert?"

They weren't 'crossing,' they lived there. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of these mummies out there. This region, in which the mummies were found, is twice the size of Texas.

17 posted on 07/22/2002 7:21:47 AM PDT by blam
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To: vannrox
the world's only ancient civilization that has been developing for 5,000 years without interruption.

Total nonsense. Their claim to fame is that some of them stayed home.

18 posted on 07/22/2002 9:30:51 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: blam
Certainly had an odd choice in real estate, though I suppose things were probably far different back then...here's a random thought: what if most deserts are like the ones in the Fertile Crescent, resulting from prolonged agriculture?
19 posted on 07/22/2002 12:14:43 PM PDT by Pistias
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To: Pistias
The Curse Of The Redheaded Mummy
20 posted on 07/22/2002 3:06:42 PM PDT by blam
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To: jimtorr
I thought the earliest Chinese characters known were those on the Shang oracle bones, from about 1500 BC. I would appreciate information on earlier writings.
21 posted on 07/22/2002 3:10:49 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
"" inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells discovered in the famous Yin Ruins, which date back to over 3,000 years.""

Hmmm, you may be right. On re-reading the relevant section of the article, I noticed that I mis-read the sentence above. I was thinking 3,000 BC, not 3,000 years ago.
22 posted on 07/22/2002 7:12:59 PM PDT by jimtorr
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To: *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; vannrox
Just adding this to the GGG homepage, not sending a general distribution.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.

23 posted on 07/20/2004 10:49:15 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

24 posted on 02/21/2006 8:47:17 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books. (Longfellow))
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