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Banpo Neolithic Village
This was the first place we visited as part of more Eastern Tour which I booked from my hostel. This archaeological site was first discovered in 1953 and is located in the Yellow River Valley just east of Xian. It contains the remains of several well organised Neolithic settlements dating from approximately 4500 BC. It is a large area of 5-6 hectares and surrounded by a ditch, probably a defensive moat, five or six meters wide. The houses were circular, built of mud and wood with overhanging thatched roofs. They sat on low foundations. There appears to be communal burial areas as you can see plenty of skeletal remains. There is also a reconstruction model of how the site once looked.
Open: 8:30am-5pm. Admission: RMB35.
- Historical Travel
A 6000 year old village
Considering that this place was found when excavation for a power station, we are very lucky to have found it.
Its well worth a visit as it is a fascinating insight into life in that era.
Many things have been discovered about the era from this site. When excavating, they found the cemetery, but they also found some pots buried near the foundations f the houses containing children's bones. After some research and carbon dating etc, it was concluded that in those times, a child was deemed to become an adult at age 14 (or thereabouts) and that apparently only adults could be buried in the cemetery. Children younger than 14 were buried in pottery jars near the foundations of the home.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Life in prehistoric China
The Xi'an environment is very fertile, as the ground consists of loess (clay and sand deposit form the ice-age). So no wonder there were neolithical people living here. This museum shows the on the site excavations of a village: houses, parts of a moat, a cemetary etc. The exhibition has English texs and there is an interactive computer display with details (including the famous Chinese who visisted this place ;-)). We found the museum very interesting, altough not as spectacular as the terracota army. So first visit this - as we did - and then go to the terracotta army.
Ok for a fleeting visit-Banpo Neolithic Village.
This is located on the east bank of the Chanbe River of Xi’an. This is a museum on the site of village remains of a matriarchal clan community of Neolithic age that existed 6,000 years ago in the Yellow river Valley. It covers an area of 50,000 m and is divided into residential, pottery making and burial sections. We found this museum a bit touristy but the video demonstration which showed the building of various houses excellent (English as well as Chinese footage).
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
To Miss or Not To Miss
Banpo Neolithic Village is undergoing renovation. Nothing much left to view. Only the musuem exhibition is open and features a few patched up broken pots and pans.
Not to waste your money on it. Word of caution: the egg shaped "musical flute" sells only 3RMB compared to the original asking price of 38RMB in the shop outside the museum. The shop keeper asked for 38RMB, I offered 3RMB and didn't intended to buy anyway and started walking off. He beckon me back and accepted 3RMB.
But if you miss it, you probably would not discover ChangLe XiLu Wholesale Market, which is between the City and Banpo.
There's also cheap hot pot meals at ChangLe XiLu.
To miss or not is your calling.
BanPo Neolithic Village
The BanPo Neolithic Village (banpo yizhi)is six kilometers east of Xi'an. This excavated site of a village dates back to 4500 BC and was discovered in 1953. The village during this period was called Yangshao and 45 houses, 6 pottery kilns, 200 storage pits, 250 adult's tombs and children's burial jars, 10,000 tools and utensils were unearthed. The distinct culture of these villagers was known as Yangshao culture. The most interesting aspect of this is that Yangshao culture was very matrifocal. There are more female tombs and graves here than male, and the women's graves contain more objects and valuables than their male counterparts do.
Within the vicinity of the Terracotta Warrior Museum is the site of a Neolithic village dating back to around 6000 B.C. It shows outlines of houses, along with pottery and tools. A replica of a house gives a good idea of a home from this era.
- Family Travel
Really not that interesting
This neolithic village is an open air museum with remainings of the neolithic age.
Unfortunately the most interesting part of the park is in renovation, so you have only the option to see the exhibition rooms with some pottery, paitings, some of the history of the place and some technical details on the excavations and archology work.
Banpo Neilithic Village
Banpo is included in the East City Tour conducted by CITS along with the Wild Goose Pagoda, the Hot Springs and the Warriors.
Banpo is frankly not worth visiting. It was the oldest on site museum in China (the exhibiyion hall was built over the excavations). Unfortunately it was porrly maintained following its construction in the 50's and so, during heavy rains a couple of years ago, the main buildings flooded and have had to be destroyed. New buildings are being constructed in 2004, but at the moment all you can see is a couple of rrom s containing neolithic pottery - not very thrilling
- Budget Travel
Banpo - an ancient civilization: Part 2
Banpo shows an incredible level of social organisation, and the village was divided into specific areas for living, pottery manufacture and burial. This and the fairly sophisticated tools and painted pottery suggest that there may yet be older cultures yet to be found in unsegregated, probably temporary settlements elsewhere.
The earlier houses were like tepees, with angled wooden posts supporting a thatched roof, over a sunken circular living space. Later houses were built at ground level and were rectangular.
The pottery is absolutely fascinating, and shows a variety of objects. The exhibition rooms at Banpo, and in other museums in China, have many different kinds of objects - many of them beautifully decorated. The museum shows how the Yangshao used and developed a fish motif on their pottery which is quite incredibly fresh and even contemporary, thousands of years after it was applied to a bowl by a potter. The fish and other designs of human faces and deer were seemingly reserved for the more imposing, special objects, while everyday items were either unpainted or used a basketweave or cord pattern.
Other designs, presumably earlier, involved pricking the wet clay with fingernails to give a scaly appearance, possibly imitating the scales of a fish.
Perhaps the most intriguing design element is that of the famous Banpo letters. Archaeologists have discovered many shards with what appear to be Roman letters. I know absolutely nothing about the development of written scripts, but is it possible that these primitive letters somehow moved from Asia to the Middle East to Europe. Some letters are very clear: T, K, and E. Others (X and I) are so universal that they can hardly be described as Asian or European-looking. Currently, the archaeologists suggest that these were used only to identify animals or goods, as there is only ever one letter found on a shard, never more.
Banpo - an ancient civilization: Part 4
Today Banpo sits among smoky factories, white-tiled apartment blocks and busy roads, and it requires some imagination to picture these primitive farmers using their tools to plant crops and fashion pots. Ongoing studies at Banpo and other early Yellow River civilisation sites will yield more discoveries over time. It is certainly a strange experience to close your eyes at Banpo and just feel that you are standing where civilisation all began. It is also a pity that after such a glorious start, China?s pottery industry now seems to focus on producing white rectangular tiles or the most appalling, tacky objects for tourists.
Nearby, a modern day re-creation of the village has been developed to show Chinese tourists what those days were like. Judging by the scathing comments in English language guide books, it is unlikely that many Westerners visit it now. Having said that, the man at the entrance said that I was the first foreign tourist he had seen in some days, so maybe Western tourists are skipping Banpo entirely.
I was impressed by Banpo. Considering the standards of most Chinese museums, this one looked loved and well tended: a museum curator volunteered to show me around the exhibition room and pointed out some of the less obvious points of some of the artefacts. A small stand has a surprisingly wide collection of books and brochures in English, along with the usual collection of cheap souvenirs. Elsewhere in the gardens, several other shops sell Shaanxi farmers primitive paintings (I must admit that I bought two because I quite like them) and another that was crammed full of the most awful silk clothing and other junk.
The Lonely Planet suggests that the "general consensus is that it is tacky and boring, but the occasional traveller comes away singing its praises". But just as Basil Fawlty exclaimed "What do you expect to see out of the window of a hotel bedroom in Torquay?", what do you expect to see at a museum that explains the history of one of the world's first human settlements?
Banpo - an ancient civilization: Part 3
Just to give an idea of the sophistication of the Banpo and Yangshao potters, many of the objects have ears and handles, many are polished, many are painted different colours with brushes, and the pre-painted surfaces were lightened to a whiter or redder shade. They were able to manufacture all kinds of bowls, jugs, steamers, eating and drinking vessels, and an amazing amphora-type jar that tilts when placed in water so allowing the water to flow in. This jar also had a very narrow neck to prevent the water splashing out when being carried.
The development of pottery meant that foodstuffs could be stored for consumption later, and so there was no need to follow the animals for hunting as they migrated. Good pottery created human settlements: it is sobering to think that the humble pottery plate, cup, amphora and storage urn made it possible for homo sapiens to stop hunting and start building a place to live.
Although much knowledge of the settlement social structures is conjecture (and challenged by many experts), archaeologists create a very convincing picture of life at Banpo. The clan seems to have been matriarchal, judging by the pattern of burying females with more treasures and objects, and because of the curious practice of reburying people around or in the grave of certain women who died later, with that woman placed at the centre. The first evidence of a patriarchal civilisation doesn?t appear for almost another thousand years.
The graves are interesting, with the bodies arranged facing south and usually with some funereal bowls and jewellery. Some children were buried inside large urns, and in graves within the residential area. Adults were buried outside the defensive trench.
Chinese archaeologists are keen to demonstrate that these were also primitive collective settlements, as storage areas and cellar complexes are clearly communal. Bai Shouyi?s book 'An Outline History of China' proudly states "Collective labour and the public character of the ownership of the means of production....". Yes, quite.
Banpo - an ancient civilization: Part 1
One of the oldest human settlements on the planet ? around 6,000 years old ? can be found on the eastern outskirts of Xi?an. The actual excavation site is closed for renovations until October 2004, although several of the exhibition rooms remain open.
In 1953 excavations for a factory uncovered the remains of an old village on a sloping site. The village covers some 5 hectares, and is believed to be typical of the early Yangshao settlements which existed then in a region which extended along the Huanghe and Weihe, from modern-day central Shaanxi through to north-western Henan and southern Shanxi provinces. In fact, microlithic communities are known to have extended from Gansu and Nei Mongol through central China to the Shandong peninsular. The southern and eastern culture is known as the Yangshao (named after a discovered settlement east of Luoyang, Henan) and the more western culture is named after Majiayao village in Gansu province.
These people used stone and bone tools to break the ground, plant grains and vegetables, and harvest them. They fished using reverse barb hooks still used today by fishermen everywhere, and kept dogs and pigs in animal enclosures. They even used hard stone discs to grind the grains and seeds, and stored the food for use in winter months. It is known that they grew cabbage, mustard, hemp and fox-tail millet. Despite the fragile sustenance agriculture of the field crops, the Yangshao people still relied heavily on hunting and gathering of berries and nuts.
Banpo Neolithic Village
Over 6,000 years old, it's an archeological site of great significance and interesting to see how the ancient Chinese lived. Despite the crowds that get here, it can be quite serene - until the kids at the college next door start playing soccer, that is. Still, that's what village life is all about, I guess.
Visit the Neolithic village...
Visit the Neolithic village Banpo on the outskirts of Xian.
This museum is built on the site where the remains of a Yangshao village was discovered and it was opened in 1958. The village, in the Huanghe (Yellow River) valley, dates back to about 6,000 years ago and was discovered in 1953. There are three areas to the site – a residential quarter, a pottery- making ground and a graveyard. Between 1954 and 1957 10,000 square metres were excavated and among the finds were 45 huts, more than 200 cellars, 6 pottery kilns and 250 tombs. These tombs included 73 urns containing the remains of children. More than 10,000 tools and household utensils were also found. There were also large amounts of animal bones, fruit stones and millet. There are two types of huts on show in the main hall – the semi-subterranean one built at the early stages and the wooden-structured ones from the larger stage of development in the settlement. The pottery-making grounds lay to the east of the residential area and are one of the oldest sites of pottery making in China.
It is really well preserved, this urn contains the remains of a baby.
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