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Zhengzhou Shang City Site

The Shang City Site is located in Zhengzhou City and its suburbs, Henan Province.

As an ancient city with a history of over 3,000 years, Zhengzhou City is abundant in cultural relics. Among countless relics underground, the site of Zhengzhou Shang City is one of the important excavations in Chinese archaeological history. Discovered by Henan cultural work team in 1950, the site is of great significance to the cultural study of the Shang Dynasty (17th- 11th century BC). Excavated data proved that the existing period of the Shang City is earlier than that of Yin Ruin in Anyang, the site of the capital city of the late Shang Dynasty.

The site occupies an area of 25 square kilometers, with the grand-scale city in the center. Shaped in a near-perfect rectangle, the city was encircled with tall rampart on four sides. The city site has a perimeter of 7 kilometers and its remained wall is 5 meters at the highest with a base of 32 meters at the widest. A number of construction foundations, large or small, were discovered in the 400,000-square-meter open area at the northeast part of the city site, with the largest one over 2,000 square meters and smallest one about 100 square meters. Most of those foundations are in the shape of rectangle with orderly arranged holes and some have base stones. Here is probably a group of palaces, for ornaments such as bronze pipe, jade pipe and pieces of jade have been excavated near the foundations. In this palace site, an entrenchment, about 1.4 meters long and 0.9 meters deep, stretches from south to north. In the 15-long excavated entrenchment, over 100 skulls have been discovered, most of which were cut into half. On the hillock in the northeast palace area, 8 sacrificial pits for dogs have been excavated. Some of these pits have people and dogs buried together, which ought to be the sites of sacrificial rites.

Handicraft workshops, residential quarters, and burial ground are located outside the city. Handicraft workshops comprise copper-smelting works, pottery making area, and workshop for making bone objects. Outside the western wall and in the southeast city are two cellars are stored with a large number of bronze vessels for the imperial family. All of these bronze relics are elaborate works, such as the Duling Tripod of 1 meter high and 86.4 kilograms in weight, which is the largest piece of bronze ware relic of the early Shang found in the world.

Numerous cultural relics excavated in the vast Shang City Site, especially the discovery of city walls and palace area, proved that here is the capital city site of Shang. Some scholars believe that the city was the Ao Capital set up by King Zhong Ding of the mid Shang period, while others deem that it is the Bo Capital established by King Cheng Tang of the early Shang. Although the controversy has not been settled, the city site is anyhow an important basis for research into Shang culture and provides concrete data on the formation and development of the slave society of Shang and the Chinese ancient city as well.  

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