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HomeNewsNew discoveries
The Confirmation of the Kunming Pond drainage system from the Han to the Tang dynasties
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2017-05-09
From the autumn of 2012 to the summer of 2016, the E’panggong and Shanglinyuan archaeological team, formed by IA CASS (Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) and Xi’an Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, had conducted a series of consecutive archaeological exploration. For the past five years, they had explored about an area of 10.28 square kilometers, discovered 113 tombs, 3 paths, 40 wells, 111 ash pits, 74 other pits, 8 pottery kilns, 9 ditches and 2 rammed pond bank of the Kunming Pond.   


In addition, from 2012 to 2014, the archeological team also did explorations around the projects of the infrastructure of Doumen reservoir, with an area of about 258000 square meters, discovering 39 tombs, 2 wells, 8 ash pits, 1 kiln, 4 ditches and 16 other pits. 

In 2013, the team, in total, had laid 95 excavation units or trenches, achieved a new understanding of that using the drainage system of the Kunming Pond from the Han and the Tang dynasties as the center, shortly and completely.

Kunming Pond was a large scaled and firstly dug pond in Shanglinyuan ( Shanglin Imperial Park ) , and the dredging work was continuously made until the Tang dynasty. It was the largest pond body in the capital area, but it was becoming to the farmland from the Song dynasty.  

The confirmation of the bank location and depth of the pond

From the results of the exploration, the north bank was located at the highland of the south of Fenghao village (now), with about 20 to 40 meters wide left at the top, while 80-110 meters at the bottom, and about 5-8 meters’ thick. The west bank was located at the place from the southeast of Shangquan village to Doumen County (at the south) to the north of Shixiakou village. The south bank was from Shixiakou village to the east and the west point of which was the water inlet of Kunming Pond. The east bank was located from the northeast of Shixiakou village to the north, via the west of Wan village. An outlet ditch in the east direction was found along the east bank, which drawing the water into the eastern trench. According to the trial excavation, the north part of the east bank was used in two periods, the earlier one and the later one. The earlier period, was from the Western Han dynasty to the Tang dynasty, with an area of about 14.2 square kilometers; while in the later period, the bank was formed after the enlargement in the Tang dynasty, with an area of 15.4 square kilometers. No islet was found in the pond, and the depth was about 3.3 meters.


The finding and confirmation of the inlet area, the outlet area and the drainage canal from the Han to the Tang dynasty

From the exploration, the water of the Kunming Pond was from Shibianyu of Qinling Mountains, running to the west of Shixiakou village (to the north), via the west of Xiganhe village (to the west), finally ran into the inflow zone with an area of about 11,500 square meters. Through several raw soil areas, under the control of the amount and the speed, the water was drawn into the pond and canal, while the rest was drained away through the western ditch. At the south of the south bank, a large-scale ditch was found, the water was drawn from the east of the inlet area, and ran to the east, via the northwest of Puyang village, and Xiadian village, and then accepted the water drained from the east of Kunming Pond. From the trial excavation, the trench was from the Han to the Tang dynasty, the direction and the date were basically identical to the document, which was estimated to be the canal.


Accidently, the settlement with ditch of the Xia and Shang period was found

During the process of exploring the east bank of Kunming Pond, at the east of the pond, along Taiping village, Wan village and Liuqi village, a 200,000 square meters remains, measured 780 meters’ long and 340 meters’ wide, with a 15 to 25 meters wide outside ditch was found. Later, a large number of ash pits and cultural accumulation was found inside the area of 950 meters’ long and 350 meters’ wide, indicating that the settlement area was larger than the area inside the ditch. According to the radiocarbon dating result, the period of the settlement was from 2040 BC to 1400 BC, it was confirmed to be the early period of from the Xia to the Shang dynasty.


The confirmation of Hao water and the east and south boundary of Haojing Ruins

From the exploration of the starting area of the Doumen reservoir, in the sludge at the bottom of Kunming Pond, a southwest-northeast direction ditch, which was more than 4200 meters’ long, was found at the east and south of the Haojing ruins. From the trail excavation, the ditch was dug from the Western Zhou dynasty, used until the Warring States period, and was finally filled after the dig of Kunming Pond. It was confirmed that, at the west of the ditch, ash pits, tombs, horse-carriage pits and other remains were densely distributed, but no remain at the same period was found at the east and south, indicating the ditch would be the east and south boundary of Haojing Ruins. According to the document, the ditch might be Hao water.

Thanks to the archaeological exploration and trail excavation to Kunming Pond from 2012 to 2016, for the first time, the inlet and outlet water system and the bank of the pond was confirmed, basically identical to the document; also for the first time, the canal head and canal line was confirmed archaeologically, which concerned much of the grain security and social stability of the capital of the Han and the Tang dynasties; forming the largest scale of Han and Tang water conservancy project, so far; clearly reveled the grand feature of the strongest water conservancy project. At the same time, for the first time, confirmed the location of Hao water, the east boundary of Fenghao ruins in the Zhou dynasty, archaeologically; becoming a breakthrough archaeological result of the capital of Zhou dynasty, in the past decades.  (Translator: Wang Jue)


 
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