Important archaeological sites discovered along Silk Road provides insight into the past

Updated 2017-05-11 11:31:08 Global Times
A gilt copper Asoka pagoda unearthed from the terrestrial palace of Longping Temple at the ancient Qinglong Township ruins is seen in Shanghai, east China, Dec. 8, 2016. Shanghai Museum on Thursday introduced the latest discovery since the excavation of the ruins in 2010. The Qinglong Township ruins is located in today's Baihe Township of Qingpu District in Shanghai, and documents recorded it as an important trade port in Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) Dynasties. In recent years, more than 6,000 restorable porcelain works and tens of thousands of broken porcelain pieces from nearby provinces were found in the ruins, which offers new evidence that Qinglong Township was an important port along the Maritime Silk Road. Besides, the discovery of the Longping temple, pagoda and its terrestrial palace in 2015 and 2016 helped the researchers to study the layout of the township as well as the history of China's ancient buildings and Buddhism. (Xinhua/Ren Long)

December 8, 2016 was an exciting day in Shanghai as experts announced that the discovery of the Qinglong Town archaeological site proved for the first time that Shanghai was another major port along the ancient Maritime Silk Road. Due to its importance in filling in a gap in history, the site was later named on April 12 one of China's Top 10 New Archaeological Discoveries of 2016.[Special coverage]

According to experts, the discovery at the Qinglong Town site of more than 6,000 ancient ceramic wares originating from kilns across southern China has served as evidence that the site was once an important port on the Maritime Silk Road, a vital trade route that took form during the late Western Han (206BC-AD25) and later boasted a booming trade in Chinese-made commodities such as silk and porcelain during the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties.

"The fact that we found a large number of porcelain wares at the site that are very similar to those discovered in places in Japan and the Korean Peninsula tells us these porcelain wares may have been transported from kilns in southern China to Qinglong town and then shipped overseas to countries such as Japan and the ancient Korean kingdom of Goryeo," Chen Jie, the Qinglong Town project leader and also head of the Shanghai Museum's Institute of Archaeology, told the Xinhua News Agency in December 2016.

Major underwater evidence

Moreover, the wreck of the Nanhai No.1, a Song Dynasty merchant ship, is another piece of solid evidence of the frequent maritime trade taking place between China and the rest of the world during that time.

A gilt copper Asoka pagoda unearthed from the terrestrial palace of Longping Temple at the ancient Qinglong Township ruins is seen in Shanghai, east China, Dec. 8, 2016. (Xinhua/Ren Long)

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