Wells at ancient Beijing settlement a welcome find

Updated 2017-11-02 14:31:57 Global Times

Archaeologists have discovered dozens of ancient wells and homes built partially underground at a Beijing settlement dating back 2,000 years, offering a rare window into the lives of people in ancient China, media reported Wednesday.

The more than 40 wells in the capital's eastern Tongzhou district are located near a recently-discovered town from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), said authorities with the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage (BMACH).

Sun Meng, who is heading the excavation, estimates the wells were used by hundreds of people from the communities around Lucheng, the administrative center of the Han Dynasty's Lu county.

"Some are lined with wood planks to provide support and prevent erosion," Sun told reporters. "Some even were used to filter out sand and sediment."

Experts are trying to correlate the scattered and various shaped wells to what they know about the local crafts production at the time.

The structures surrounding the wells are what archaeologists have identified as homes with portions built underground, shedding light on architectural styles of northern China during the Han Dynasty.

"When building a house, they would dig down and surround the hole with walls on the surface," said Meng.

The site also hints at another history of migration. A tomb discovered nearby from the later Liao Dynasty (907-1125) tells where former residents of the area had moved, explained Sun.

The Lu county sit was listed among China's top 10 archaeological discoveries in 2016.

Authorities have since rerouted planned highways and railways for the area, and plan to develop the site into a heritage park.

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