Archaeologists in China’s Sichuan Province are racing against time to save remains in an ancient settlement before it will be buried forever under 60 feet of water from a new reservoir.
The 4,000-year-old Maiping archaeological site is situated in Hanyuan County in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, in the middle Dadu River valley.
Maiping is part of a 100,000-square-meter complex that includes three other sites; however, Maiping is considered the most important one as it sheds light on the way of life of the ancient Sichuan inhabitants and differs from other sites in Sichuan.
The area is bounded on the north by the Chengdu Plain and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, on the west by the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and on the east by the Yangtse River and the Central Plains.
Archeologists of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Sichuan have carried out eight large-scale excavations at the Maiping site within the past five years. They have unearthed a large number of cultural relics that date back to the Shang and Zhou dynasties (between 2,500 to 4,500 years ago).
People in the area have been interested in the excavation of the ancient village and curious about the mysteries it might reveal about life long ago near the Dadu River, the Huaxi Metropolitan News reported on April 1.
Many people are shocked and saddened that the site will soon be flooded, and the ancient village and its mysteries will once again be buried.
According to official plans, the Maiping site was supposed to be covered by the new reservoir in November 2009, but after hard negotiations with relevant parties, archaeologists were able to buy some additional time to continue their excavations. The area will be flooded this June.