Wucheng Site in China


The Site of the Shang Dynasty (17th century – 11th century BC)

Geographical Location: Qingjiang County, Jiangxi Province

Period: 15th century – 11th century BC

Excavated in 1973

Significance: It has played a significant role in understanding the origin and development of local bronze civilization in the Yangtze River valley.

Introuction of the Wucheng Site

Wucheng(吴城Wύchéng)Site, which in Qingjiang county of Jiangxi Province is the first comparatively large Shang-era site discovered well south of the Yangtze valley, covering an area of 4 square kilometers. In the site we can still see the ruins of kiln districts, smelting workshops, residential areas, graveyards and sacrificial altars. Several thousands of cultural relics like pottery, copper and stonewares were unearthed, among which the refined primitive bronze ware indicates that Wucheng Site is one of the cradles of bronze.

Wucheng is notable for the large number of written characters discovered there, a total of 66 examples on 38 pieces of pottery, bronzes, and bronze moulds. Characters grouped into relatively long combinations were found here, seldom seen in other sites. While many of these characters are found at the Central Plain sites on Shang materials, others appear to be unique. The frequent occurrence of these characters at the site suggests a well-developed language substantially independent of the cultures.

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