Ancient copper smelting remains unearthed in north China's Shanxi
TAIYUAN, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Archaeologists have excavated a part of a copper smelting site dating from the late Xia Dynasty to the early Shang Dynasty in northern China's Shanxi Province, which is the first excavation of copper smelting remains near the heart of Xia and Shang dynasties.
The site covers about 700,000 square meters, of which 100,000 square meters is the centralized area of copper smelting. The archaeologists have unearthed large amounts of copper slag and broken furnace walls in an excavation area of about 1,800 square meters over the past two years.
The National Museum of China announced its latest findings that a group of charcoal kilns of the late Xia Dynasty and two incomplete copper furnaces of the early Shang Dynasty were unearthed. Under one of the furnaces, a human skeleton was buried in the sacrificial pit.
Dai Xiangming, a researcher with the museum, speculated that the ancient people used charcoal to smelt copper, and the tradition of sacrifice had long existed in the Chinese handicraft industry.
He said the scientific tests showed that the main products at this site were made from pure copper. The discoveries, which indicate large-scale and specialized copper smelting workshops, are significant for the research into ancient copper smelting technology and the rise of the Xia and Shang Dynasties.