Finding a magical piece of China’s long history in my husband's backyard | Speaking of China

12 Responses

  1. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary April 14, 2014 at 10:11 am | | Reply

    Wow! What a wonderful and unique find! You never know what awesome discovery you will find each day – and this one is pretty significant, historical, and special!!

  2. Nicki
    Nicki April 14, 2014 at 11:20 am | | Reply

    I’d take a shovel out there and try digging something up 😀

  3. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody April 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm | | Reply

    That’s a really cool find.

    However, I am skeptical of this “we Chinese have 5,000 years of culture” idea. (I also REALLY REALLY HATE IT when people try to act all superior to foreigners by saying ‘you don’t understand our 5,000 years of culture’, but that’s a tangent and I am sure your husband doesn’t do that).

    Yes, something you could call “Chinese culture” has a history that dates back thousands of years and is remarkably well-recorded, and that’s cool. But when you really look at it, the first few thousand years of those “5,000 years” are full of dubious, unverified history without contemporaneous recording – that tablet is not 5,000 years old because not even the oracle bones date back that far. It would be impossible for it to have been written, let alone for it to be readable today. It would have been placed there much later by people who said that that was what was on that ridge (although the pottery shards etc. could well be the real deal, which may be why they were unearthed and taken away and the tablet was not).

    The first verified history we have of Chinese civilization is more like 3500-4000 years old, and even then it was fragmented, it evolved, it mingled, it fractured. It evolved some more. The Chinese culture that existed then was probably not that similar, although it was the evolutionary root of, the Chinese culture that exists today, or exists before the Cultural Revolution.

    And on top of that, if you are going to accept that a fractured, commingled and ever-evolving “cultural history” counts as a “continuous culture”, then you get to apply that to any culture. You don’t get to dismiss other ones because they were static. You can date proto-Indo-European language and culture back that far, to Hellenic and Anatolian roots (and Egyptian goes back farther, but that’s a side note here).

    That means that if you apply the same standards to Western culture that you apply to Chinese culture to get that “5,000” number, **Western culture is just as ancient**. There is not much that is special about the antiquity of Chinese culture. It’s one ancient culture with a vague ancient history…just like a number of other cultures.

    And if you only date it back to when writing, archaeology and contemporaneous historical accounts start to line up, you can only date Chinese culture back about 3500 years, which is about as far back as you can date the same thing in Western culture.

    So, it’s great to take pride in your culture and your roots, but really it’s not such a big thing as many Chinese imagine.

    1. Athen
      Athen April 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm | | Reply

      wow, you know Cultural Revolution. It seems you know much about China. It was indeed a disaster to China’s culture and its people.

  4. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody April 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm | | Reply

    *sorry, “because they weren’t static”, not were.

  5. Sveta
    Sveta April 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm | | Reply

    Amazing is all I’ll say 🙂 How do you guys know its from that far ago?

  6. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 April 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    Amazing find. 🙂

  7. Lina
    Lina April 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm | | Reply

    Wow, something I wouldn’t expect – probably no one from ‘outside’ would 🙂

  8. Marta
    Marta April 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm | | Reply

    Maybe you can find a piece of pottery or some other artifact if you look carefully 😀

  9. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian April 14, 2014 at 8:43 pm | | Reply

    Wow! Is it possible to do some digging of your own without offending the law? You should do some more searches and see where it may lead you to. Fascinating! Who knows what you may find? And even if you don’t find anything, it is still some interesting project to occupy oneself with. Never mind about the argument as to whether Chinese culture or history is that long or continuous anyway.

  10. lenore look
    lenore look April 15, 2014 at 5:17 am | | Reply

    Amazing! I’m with Nicki and others who have suggested digging around yourself. Heheheh. That’s how the terra cotta soldiers in Xian were found — a farmer was digging in his field . . . . In any case, thanks very much for sharing another very interesting day!

  11. namenotgiven
    namenotgiven April 16, 2014 at 3:53 am | | Reply

    The continent of Africa. New discoveries every day. Where I am I have found ancient fossil stones, and many times farmers find ancient arrow heads in their fields. Vendors wire wrap them or sell them as is. There are a number of mound sites, and some areas of the city/state are known to have been areas where Native people lived. Outside of ancient sites, the majority of place names are Native American. I did stumble on a large ancient fish fossil near a river once, I decided to leave well enough alone, later a couple of kids from the local college “discovered” it and managed to lug it back to the university. Some professor took credit for the find.

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