One Of The Largest Pyramids On Earth And a Lost City Have Been Unearthed In China.
A sensational discovery has been made in China. Archeologists have unearthed a 4,500-year-old city which is home to a step pyramid that is around 70 meters high and spans staggering 60 acres at its base.
The discovery has been reported in the Journal Antiquity.
The Pyramid, say, experts, was decorated with a number of curious symbols; it featured eye symbols as well as “anthropomorphic,” or part-human, part-animal faces. Furthermore, the figurines “may have endowed the stepped pyramid with special religious power and further strengthened the general visual impression on its large audience,” explained archaeologists in the Journal Antiquity.
The pyramid is located in the center of what experts are referring to as Shimao, a vast archaeological whose original, ancient name remains a mystery to experts.
Despite the fact that the existence of Shimao has been known for some time, it has taken years of excavations to finally unravel some of its mysteries.
Archaeologists also unearthed Sword blades and knives near the pyramid.
Every new discovery seems to raise even more questions about a civilization that flourished at ‘Shimao’ more than 4,300 years ago, long before the Great Wall was built, whose first foundations date back 2,700 years.
Impressively, at its peak, this ancient city is believed to have encompassed an area of 988 acres (400 hectares), making it one of the largest in the world, the archaeologists wrote.
The Pyramid of this ‘lost ancient city’ happens to be one of the largest pyramids on the surface of the planet. However, unlike its Mexican or Egyptian counterparts, the Pyramid of Shimao was not used as a temple or a tomb, but as a full-fledged citadel.
The Pyramid was home to 11 massive terraces which were occupied by all kinds of adobe buildings that most likely served to accommodate the upper classes, priests, military as well as wealthy merchants.
A Jade artifact recovered from the walls of Shimao. Image Credit: Siyuwj CC BY SA 4.0
Th researchers wrote in their study that on the topmost step of the pyramid, there “were extensive palaces built of rammed earth, with wooden pillars and roofing tiles, a gigantic water reservoir, and domestic remains related to daily life.”
“Evidence so far suggests that the stepped pyramid complex functioned not only as a residential space for ruling Shimao elites but also as a space for artisanal or industrial craft production,” archaeologists wrote in the study.
The walls of this majestic pyramid helped archaeologists understand a lot about the ancient city. Researchers explain that several stone walls with ramparts and gates were raised around the pyramid and the city.
Archeologists say that “at the entrance to the stepped pyramid were sophisticated bulwarks [defensive walls] whose design suggests that they were intended to provide both defense and highly restricted access.”
But in addition to unearthing one of the most incredible, and massive pyramids on the planet, experts also came across a number of human sacrificial pits.
A sacrificial pit of human skulls discovered at Shimao. Image Credit: Zhouyong Sun and Jing Shao
“In the outer gateway of the eastern gate on the outer rampart alone, six pits containing decapitated human heads have been found,” the archaeologists wrote.
Morphological analysis of the human remains suggests that the victims may have been related to the residents of Zhukaigou, which could further suggest that they were taken to Shimao as captives during the expansion of the Shimao polity,” the study explained.