BEIJING, Aug 15 (Xinhua) -- Massive archaeological excavation works have been carried out along the Beijing section of the Grand Canal for the comprehensive protection of cultural sites along the world's longest artificial waterway.
Chen Mingjie, director of the Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Bureau, said at the 2022 Beijing (International) Canal Cultural Festival earlier this month that a series of new archaeological discoveries have enriched the Grand Canal culture.
Since 2021, the bureau has initiated 102 archaeological excavation projects along the Beijing section of the Grand Canal, covering an area of about 100,000 square meters, in order to clarify its spatial distribution and status.
"The archaeological work at the ancient city of Luxian dating back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220) has clarified the status of its south gate, where archaeologists have found wooden and bamboo slips from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), representing the first of such discoveries in Beijing", Chen said.
Over the past year, a total of 126 cultural relics protection projects have been carried out in seven districts along the Beijing section of the Grand Canal, Chen added.
A public park will be opened at the Grand Canal source in October, where cultural restoration, protection, digitization and archive management have been carried out to better protect the cultural relics.
Relocation of inhabitants in the planned park area has been completed, Chen said, adding that the archaeological work has helped verify 88 ancient bridges with traffic functions along the Beijing section of the canal.
With a history of more than 2,500 years, the Grand Canal connects Beijing and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang province. It served as a significant transportation artery in ancient China. A stretch of over 1,000 km of the canal was declared a world heritage site in 2014.
Beijing's Tongzhou District serves as the north end of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, from where grain was shipped to China's imperial capital in ancient times.
In June 2021, the Beijing section of the Grand Canal and its Langfang section in Hebei were opened for tourism at the same time. This was the first time that Beijing launched an inter-provincial waterway and inter-provincial water transport for tourism.