The Wangchenggang Site: Where Is the Capital City of the Xia Dynasty?

Source: | 2021-10-07 19:47

Driving westwards along a busy road in Bafang village of Gaocheng town, Dengfeng city (a county-level city of Zhengzhou city, Henan province), we were attracted by not only the crops growing very well by the roadsides, but also a particularly eye-catchingempty field surrounded by green barriers on a high slope. Right there is the ongoing new round of excavation of the Wangchenggang Site.

According to historical documents and legends, Yangcheng (阳城), a capital city of the Xia Dynasty or where Yu (who built the Xia Dynasty) was living, is located near Gaocheng town. In 1959, Xu Xusheng, a famous archaeologist, discovered the Wangchenggang Site when he was investigating the sites between Gaocheng town and Bafang village. He pointed out that the Wangchenggang Site is probably related to the capital of the Xia Dynasty. From 1976 to 1981 and from 2002 to 2005, two rounds of excavations were carried out. The Wangchenggang Site has become an epitome of the exploration of the Xia Dynasty since every new discovery could attract the attention of the whole archaeological sector and promote the relevant studies.

Luckily, a large number of discoveries were made during the two rounds of excavations, including 2 small city ruins (one in the east while the other in the west) of the late Longshan Culture (around 2500 BC-2000 BC) and a 348,000-square-meter large city ruin of the same period. All of them were built and used in the late Longshan Culture or the early Xia Dynasty. The large one is the largest city ruin of the late Longshan Culture discovered in the Central Plains, whose carbon-14 testing results are basically consistent with the first year of the Xia Dynasty presumed in thearchaeological documents. Besides, the late Longshan Culture is also known as the third stage of the Wangwan Culture (after 2400 BC or so), a main source of the Erlitou Culture (around 1735 BC-1530 BC).

In the 1980s, pottery wares carved with the characters ofYangcheng (阳城) orWares of Yangcheng (阳城仓器) were discovered at a city ruin of the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC) located to the northwest of the large city ruin, thus proving the existence of a city named Yangcheng around the Wangchenggang Site as late as the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC-256 BC). (Text: Henan Daily App Photo provided to Henan Daily App)