The Archaeological Team of Shandong University Made a Major Discovery at the Ancient Capital City Site of Zhu, Shandong


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JINAN, China, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The capital city site of Zhu, located in Jining, Shandong Province, China, is the site of the capital city of Zhu during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty and the county office of Zou County during the Qin and Han Dynasty. Recently, Shandong University, Zoucheng Cultural Relics Protection Center and other units carried out systematic archaeological investigation and excavation of the capital city site of Zhu, and achieved important results.

The total area of the capital city site of Zhu is about 6 square kilometers. The plan of the city site is slightly rectangular. The central part of the city is the palace of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty and the Government office area of Qinhan Zou County (commonly known as “Huangtai”), covering an area of about 167,000 square meters; the north is the burial area of the nobles of the Zhu State; the south is the residential living area; and the southwest is the bronze weapons workshop, iron smelting, coins, pottery and other workshop areas. Outside the western part of the city are residential areas and cemeteries.

Since 2015, the archaeological team of Shandong University has successively excavated the storage area, city wall, royal grave and casting area. From June 2022 to September 2023, a large-scale rammed earth building site that was built in the middle and late Warring States period and used in the Qin, Han and Xin Dynasty (Wang Mang Interregnum) was revealed in the northeast of “Huangtai”, with a complete structure and clear layout; More than 800 pieces were unearthed in the accumulation of building abandonment, mainly “Zou Cheng Zhi Yin” and “Zou Ting Jian Tian Zai“, including a number of Canton Seal and Treasury seal under the county, and more than ten neighboring counties of county governor seals, including the Qin, Western Han and Xin Dynasty Clay seal inscriptions.

It shows that the foundation site of this group of buildings is the only county office found in China in the Qin Dynasty, Western Han Dynasty and Xin Dynasty, which provides the only example for the study of the regulation of County offices in the Qin, Han and Xin Dynasties.

It provides rich historical materials for the study of the local grassroots governance system and administrative management system of these dynasties.

A large number of buildings and daily pottery excavated together provide a yardstick for refining the periodization of the archaeological culture of the Warring States Qin and Han dynasties (especially the Qin dynasty of Shandong and the Xin dynasty relics). What is particularly rare is that a set of well-preserved Bronze Casting Remains in the middle Warring States period was revealed below the ground of the courtyard, including furnace, baking pit, casting pit, sand storage pit, post-casting finishing surface, waste accumulation site, etc., which provides important materials and important value for the study of the smelting and casting technology, the official system, and the organization and management methods of the Zhu state.

The city is a large-scale settlement formed in the process of the development of human society and an important symbol of the origin and development of civilization. Located in the core area of Zoulu culture, the capital city site of Zhu lasted for 1170 years and was in the crucial period in the history of the Zhou, Qin and Han dynasties, which moved from the stage of feudal statehood to the era of centralized unified state. During this period of great historical transition, local and regional societies may have undergone different evolutionary trajectories.

In-depth and systematic research on urban archaeology and urban civilization at the capital city site of Zhu is of great academic value and practical significance for studying the civilization of Qin Han and Eastern Zhou Dynasty, the archaeology of the ancient city of the ancient country, and the early urban civilization in Shandong, exploring the urban changes in the process from the capital of the princely state to the county under the unified empire of the Qin and Han dynasties, preserving the historical and cultural memory of the city.