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"Banpo - an ancient civilization: Part 2" Top 5 Page for this destination Banpo Neolithic Village Tip by mke1963

Banpo Neolithic Village, Xi'an: 15 reviews and 18 photos

Banpo shows an incredible level of social organisation, and the village was divided into specific areas for living, pottery manufacture and burial. This and the fairly sophisticated tools and painted pottery suggest that there may yet be older cultures yet to be found in unsegregated, probably temporary settlements elsewhere.
The earlier houses were like tepees, with angled wooden posts supporting a thatched roof, over a sunken circular living space. Later houses were built at ground level and were rectangular.
The pottery is absolutely fascinating, and shows a variety of objects. The exhibition rooms at Banpo, and in other museums in China, have many different kinds of objects - many of them beautifully decorated. The museum shows how the Yangshao used and developed a fish motif on their pottery which is quite incredibly fresh and even contemporary, thousands of years after it was applied to a bowl by a potter. The fish and other designs of human faces and deer were seemingly reserved for the more imposing, special objects, while everyday items were either unpainted or used a basketweave or cord pattern.
Other designs, presumably earlier, involved pricking the wet clay with fingernails to give a scaly appearance, possibly imitating the scales of a fish.
Perhaps the most intriguing design element is that of the famous Banpo letters. Archaeologists have discovered many shards with what appear to be Roman letters. I know absolutely nothing about the development of written scripts, but is it possible that these primitive letters somehow moved from Asia to the Middle East to Europe. Some letters are very clear: T, K, and E. Others (X and I) are so universal that they can hardly be described as Asian or European-looking. Currently, the archaeologists suggest that these were used only to identify animals or goods, as there is only ever one letter found on a shard, never more.

Directions: Bus #105 stops near the museum
Phone: +86 29 8351 2375

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 12, 2004
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