Large Archaeological Site of Ancient Venice-Like Water City Found in East China’s Jiangsu

Wujiabang Ruins in Jiangsu Province. Photo: Xinhua News Agency

The ruins of a large ancient water town dating back about 2,500 years have been discovered in east China’s Jiangsu Province, the Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

The Wujiabang Ruins were located just 10 kilometers from one of China’s largest freshwater areas, Taihu Lake, according to archaeologists’ report, and since rivers and streams connected every corner of the city, experts believe that “the waterways were the main waterway for the citizens”. means of transportation instead of solid roads.

“It’s supposed to be a water town,” said Li Guangri, deputy director of the Wuxi Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology.

“Rivers crisscrossed the city at the time, making the waterways a common mode of transportation for residents. When they got out of the house, they went on a boat,” Li added.
Experts have dated the city as belonging to the Springs and Autumns period (770BC-476BC).

Covering an area of ​​800,000 square meters (0.8 square kilometer) in total, the Wujiabang Ruins consisted of a city center, an outer city, and an outskirts. The city center, covering an area of ​​83,000 square meters, was protected by walls on the western and southern sides, and was protected by moats on the eastern and northern sides.

One notable thing is that archaeologists found 99 wells in the city center, suggesting “a considerable amount of population at the time in Wujiabang”, Li added.

However, as each well only had an average depth of 5 meters, “these wells were not the ordinary deep wells that we see in everyday life given their shallow depth. And how ancient people actually used them also needs further study,” Professor Li Xiaojie of Fudan University’s Center for Historical Geography told the Global Times on Sunday.

“However, at another ruin site located in the middle of the Yellow River, archaeologists found that each household had its own well as the basic source of life, so it cannot be excluded that the Wujiabang ruin site may have a similar arrangement,” he added.

The discovery of the ruins of Wujiangbang was accidental.

In late 2019, local farmers found scattered pottery relics while digging a ditch. The Wuxi Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology conducted a massive excavation the following year and found the remains of the city walls, pottery cooking utensils and porcelains.

In a corner that archaeologists believed to be the living area, there were traces of ash, an empty hollow that appeared to be a pillar supporting the house and two wells.

Besides the ashes, archaeologists also found pottery and porcelain cooking utensils.

The archaeological team told Xinhua that with excavations still ongoing, two other “high-level architecture” remains have yet to be revealed.

Next to the noble tombs
The ruins are located inside the Hongshan Ruins Archaeological Park in Wuxi, Jiangsu, which once amazed the archaeological world with its hundreds of tombs belonging to high-ranking nobles.

However, the identity of the owners of the tombs remains unknown.

The Hongshan Ruins were among the first to be listed as one of the National Archaeological Parks. The site consists of large-scale ruins in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and is mainly known for discovering more than 140 tombs belonging to the Spring and Autumn period.

In 2002, the ruins of Hongshan were discovered during an urban renewal project.

As the local government halted the ongoing construction project, salvage excavations were conducted at the same time and archaeologists found 2,300 cultural relics along with the graves.

Unearthed celadon musical instruments have also provided rich information for studies of ancient art in the Wuyue region (lower Yangtze delta culture).

“The discovery of Wujiabang ruins not only provides us with more clues to investigate the source of Wuyue culture, but also may give additional clues about the owners of these noble tombs,” noted Liu Baoshan, director of the Wuxi Institute of Archeology. .