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Journeys in Time 2010-08-06 Ancient history in the Hetao Area Part 4- Ancient tombs

08-06-2010 16:53 BJT


Hetao is a region in the north of China, bordering the Yellow River as it passes through Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Shanxi. It’s a fertile area where, for more than two thousand years, China’s Han people have been living side-by-side with other ethnic groups. An extensive group of Han Dynasty tombs has been found there; the tombs themselves and the treasures recovered from them give an indication of just how developed the Hetao area was in the ancient past. Some of the burial objects indicate that agriculture was highly developed. More surprising is the evidence that the skills of wine-making were relatively advanced, way back two thousand years ago.

Evidently, then, people in the area enjoyed a relatively high standard of living at the time. But the discovery of the millet in the owl-shaped containers told only part of the story. For the archaeologists, the real surprise came when they found evidence of wine-making.

Marco Polo, in his account of his travels, described Bayannur as a thriving, prosperous area. He also mentioned a city in it, called Tiandejun (天德军)where, he said, the people drank a pleasant wine made of rice and spices. However, what he failed to mention was where Tiandejun was located. Where Marco Polo failed, modern archaeologists have succeeded. The original site of Tiandejun has been located – with the aid of a memorial tablet found in an ancient tomb.

From dinosaur fossils to rock paintings, from bronze ware to pottery, and from millet to wine; these finds, with their variety and quantity, provide a remarkable insight into what Hetao was like, before and after the arrival of humans. The overriding impression we are left with, is of how advanced the culture of the area was, in ancient times.


Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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