Baijinbao Site：A Bronze Site in Lower reaches of Nengjiang River
Baijinbao site, located in Zhaoyuan County, Heilongjiang Province, covered 180000 Square meters. In 1974 and 1980，it had been excavated. In June to September of 1986, it was excavated by Department of Archaeology of Jilin University and Heilongjiang Provincial archaeological Institute in order to learn more about the deposit situation, the cultural attributes and cultural affiliation of the remains of the site and deepen the study of bronze archeological cultures in the Plain between Songhuajiang River and Nengjiang River. The third season of collaborate excavation unearthed an area of 1053.6 square meters, discovered 54 house remains, 324 pits, 3 ditches, 3 pieces of underguound tunnels, completed pots and recovered pots over 400, as well as stone, bone, shell and copper artifacts. By stratigraphic evidence and comparison among the remains from the typical features such as house and pits, the remains from the site can be divided into 4 stages:
The remains of earliest stage, in the lowest levels, are new type of remains distinguished by its stratigraphic and characteristic, which is similar with remains from Xiaolaha Site nearby. So the earliest remains of Baijinbao and remains from Xiaolaha site can form an new archaeological culture called “Xiaolaha Culture”. This earliest remains from Baijinbao site can be sub-divided into 3 phrases without intermit, date from Xia to early Shang Dynasties, which is the earliest bronze culture found in the Plain between Songhuajiang River and Nengjiang River.
The second stage of the site dates late Shang dynasty. Both second and first stages of Baijinbao site belong to the same cultural system, but different stages. Li-vessels(tri-pot) with high collar and applied-roller design on the rim appeared. This shape of Li-vessels was spread over a large area along the Great Wall during the end of the Shang dynasty and beginning of the Zhou dynasty, and it was the ancestor of Li-vessels of Baijinbao Culture. So the second-stage remains of the site was like a bridge to connect between Xiaolaha Culture and Baijinbao Culture. So the second stage remains is very important, and we called them as “Baijinbao II Culture”, considered that there were rich remains discovered in the named site. The composition of the second stage of Baijinbao represented the attributes of the cultures of Late Shang in the Plain betweenSonhuajiang River and Nengjiang River.
The third stage of the site belongs to the culture known as “Baijinbao Culture”, with rich discoveries. The remains can be sub-divided into 5 phrases without obvious intermit according to their stratigraphic and seriation. 5 samples of carbon 14 dates by accurate calibration covered early to late Western Zhou dynasty.
The fourth stage of the site changed a lot in main elements, although there showed some similarities with the third stage. They belongs to “Hanshu II” Culture dating no later than the Warring States.
The third season excavation of Baijinbao site in 1986 is the excavation in the largest scale thus far. The main discoveres are as follows:
1. The discovering and distinguishing two new cultures, the first and second stages of the site, is an important achievement in the study of early cultures of the Plain between Shonghuajiang River and Nengjiang River where there were seldom archaeological works, These two new cultures founded the important links between local Neolithic cultures to local Bronze cultures.
2 .In the report, the remains of the site were divided into 4 stages, and the whole season of excavation were introduced completely by characters, figures, plates and charts. After analyzing and studying, we know that the second stage was inherited from the first stage, but there were gaps between the second and third as well as the third and fourth stages. The chronology of the four stages of the site represented the evolution of bronze cultures corresponding with Xia dynasty to the Warring States in the Plain between Sonhuajiang River and Nengjiang River.
3. The deposit in Baijinbao site is thick and lasted a long period, full of remains and features. The house remains arranged in lines and pits distributed densely. From all levels a large amount of fish bones, animal bones and shell were discovered, as well as all kinds of tools and pressed designs of animals on the pottery, which suggests complicated fishing and hunting subsistence. The study of origin and process of civilization in the past have concerned only agriculture civilization. So the remains in Baijinbao site rise an important scholar issue that if there was a hunting and fishing civilization in the history? If so, how did it developed into civilization? The hunting and fishing subsistence displayed in Baijinbao site put forward a new question in China for the study of origin of civilization and formation of the state, and a new enlighten for multi-civilization processes, which is important in practice and theory.
Baijinbao Site：A Bronze Site in Lower reaches of Nengjiang River has been published by the Science Press, May, 2009