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Traces of time: The rich prehistoric legacy of Inner Mongolia

The Neolithic Age: Hongshan Culture

Updated: Dec 30, 2021 govt.chinadaily.com.cn Print
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The Neolithic Age

During the Neolithic Age, areas near major mountains, rivers and lakes in Inner Mongolia were inhabited. More than 100 sites from that period have been discovered there so far, indicating that different cultures from several areas interacted with each other.

The second half of the 6th millennium BC witnessed the beginning of a primitive agricultural economy in eastern Inner Mongolia, nurturing several primitive cultures that mainly developed through blood ties. Differing from these cultures in terms of its agriculture and architecture, the Neolithic civilization in the central and southern areas was mostly made up of migrants from the Central Plain.

Hongshan Culture

Hongshan Culture jade dragon, unearthed from the Ongniud Banner in Chifeng, from the collection of the National Museum of China [Photo/cfp.cn]

Having lived longest during the Neolithic Age in Inner Mongolia, the Hongshan Culture spanned from 5th to 3rd centur BC. It was named after the Rear Hongshan Site, which was discovered in Chifeng in 1935. Mainly distributed in southeastern Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Hebei provinces, the Hongshan people are distinguished by their square dwellings and ditch-surrounded settlements, a transitional form of construction from prehistoric circular settlements to the square castles of the early Bronze Age. Altars, temples and tombs were the highest architectural achievements of the Hongshan Culture. The people are also known for crafting jade wares, particularly jade dragons, that showed advanced craftsmanship.

Hongshan Culture stone frotton, from the collection of the Chifeng Museum [Photo/cfp.cn]
An artist’s depiction of ancient people at the Hongshan Site [Photo/IC]

 

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