Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New discovery at the Huangsipu site, Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province

From: Chinese Archaeology Writer:  Date:2012-7-26 8:21:00

The Huangsipu site is situated in the junction area of the Qing’an village, Yangshe town and the Tanli village, Tangqiao town, Zhangjiagang. It is about 14 km south away from the Yangzi River and about 3 km away from Zhangjiagang downtown. From 2008 to 2010, two salvage archaeological excavations and coring were carried out at the site. As a result, an important discovery was achieved, revealing that the Huangsipu site was used to be an important market in the south bank of the Yangzi River estuary during the Tang and Song dynasties due to a large number of ceramics, pottery and iron daily wares unearthed from the site, particularly the ceramics which were produced in the various kilns nationwide.

In order to further know the cultural connotation of the Huangsipu site, the joint archaeology team combined with the Nanjing Museum and the Zhangjiagang Museum carried out another salvage excavation at the site during April to December, 2011. The excavation area was in the east district of the site and covered about 3000 square meter. As a result, some important cultural features were found, including house ruins, storehouses, wells, roads, etc. dating to the Tang and Song dynasties. Moreover, a large number of ceramics and a few bronzes, iron daily wares were also unearthed, particularly the ceramics which was produced in various types and kilns. The discovery supplied significant materials for further understanding the characters of the Huangsipu site as a port market and its frequent cultural exchange activities.

The excavation in 2011 was carried out at the west side of the Huangsipu river course, dissecting the river course dating to the Tang dynasty found in 2009. Its result showed that houses ruins, well preserved brick paved roads, parts of drainage, stone plinths and a pile of pottery tiles dating to the Song dynasty and so on were discovered above the abandoned Tang dynasty river course. The pile of pottery tiles were the plate tiles for roofs. They were intensively laid out and arranged in order. Moreover, on the south of the Tang river course, many building foundations dating to the Tang dynasty were found, including long row house ruins with porches, near square house ruins with one bay, rectangle house ruins, etc. These house ruins had foundation trenches, in which lots of broken bricks and tiles were filled in order to consolidate the foundation of the walls. And there was a large circular plinth in the corners of some house ruins. In addition, on the west of these house ruins, a Tang dynasty storehouse was found. The cultural remains are briefly introduced below:

F18 is a long row house with porches, facing south and arranging in east-west. It was combined with at least 5 houses and a south porch, covering 112.5 square meter in all. The 5 houses were basically similar because all of them had foundation trenches and circular column pits. The house with one single room was about 4.5 meters long in east-east and about 5 meters wide in south-north, covering about 22.5 square meters; the porch was about 23 meter long and 2 meters wide. In the inner side of the porch foundation trench, there was a square plinth with round corners on the points corresponding to the corners of the one-bay house ruin and several layers of pure grey yellow earth rammed inside. Moreover, a large number of broken bricks and tiles were found at the top of the house ruins, and some cultural relics, such as many ceramic bowls plate-bottom shards and coins inscribed with “Kaiyuantongbao”, were discovered.

F20 is a near rectangle house ruin with foundation trench remained. It was about 6.4 meters long in south-north and about 7.2 meters wide in east-west. There were many bricks and tiles filled in the foundation trench. A part of wall foundation was remained in the east part of the foundation trench and was paved with two rows of small grey bricks along the foundation trench.

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