Ancient site stands the test of time

Liangzhu ruins in Hangzhou inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

Every Chinese child is taught at school that the country’s civilization is 5,000 years old, but proving this beyond doubt has been a problem.

Now, a jade artifact dubbed “King of Cong”, found in the Liangzhu city ruins near Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, has provided an answer.

According to radiocarbon dating, the 6.5-kilogram object, boasting exquisite decorative patterns and sacred emblems, is 5,300 years old.

It is clear how the item acquired its nickname. It is one of the largest and most complicated ornaments among all cong-a type of jade piece that forms a tube with a circular inner section and a square outer section-from Liangzhu.

The piece has now won greater global recognition, as the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on Saturday during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is the 55th Chinese entry on the list.

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However, the site features far more than just jade items. The core area, spread over 14.3 square kilometers in Hangzhou’s Yuhang district, includes not only a city’s ruins but 11 dams and several cemeteries, all about 5,000 years old. Archaeological evidence shows that Liangzhu was inhabited for about 1,000 years.

“The archaeological ruins of Liangzhu (3300 to 2300 BC) reveal an early regional state with a unified belief system based on rice cultivation in Late Neolithic China,” the UNESCO World Heritage Committee said.

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