4,200-year-old Chinese pyramid reveals its secrets in latest archaeological dig

(ORDO NEWS) — The unknown civilization that built the ancient pyramid has vanished without a trace. A recent find at the foot of the pyramid may help archaeologists establish its origin.

The ancient city has preserved huge fortifications and complex infrastructure, thousands of luxurious artifacts and a 70-meter -high step pyramid.

While excavating the 4,300-year -old Shimao Pyramid in Shenmu, China‘s northwestern province of Shaanxi, archaeologists unearthed what appears to be a stone-cut portrait of a king.

The archaeological site of Shimao is located in the northern part of the Loess Plateau, in the southern part of the Ordos Desert.

The site dates back to around 2000 BC and covers an area of ​​about 400 hectares. It was originally thought to be part of the Great Wall of China, but after jade pieces were discovered at the site, the Shimao walls were found to be Neolithic .

The pyramid is more than 70 meters high, almost two times lower than the pyramids of Giza. Unlike other ancient pyramids, Shimao was built for a practical purpose: at the top was a palace that covered an area of ​​almost ten football fields, or 80,000 square meters .

Several buildings have been found in the palace, as well as a crocodile pond in the garden. Above the palace rose a walled city 50 times the size of the palace, with stone courtyards, passageways and public squares.

According to DNA studies, most of the inhabitants of this city were Chinese. Despite this, the identity of its ruling elite remains unknown, as the ancient civilization disappeared 3,800 years ago , leaving no historical record of itself.

Deputy chief archaeologist of the Simao excavations, Professor Shao Jing, said they had just discovered some of the largest statues at the site, one of which could be a portrait of a king, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In total, there are three faces on the two-meter stone statue, two of which have been completely excavated. According to Shao, they are adorned with earrings, their faces are solemn, their eyes are bulging, and their mouths are wide with visible teeth.

The face on the western side is approximately 80 cm long and 50 cm high, and has a crown on top. The report describes it as the largest image ever carved on a Shimao stone.

According to Shao, it is another portrait, with arcuate patterns on the outer side of the eyes, that depicts the king. There seems to be an oriental face at the center of the entire group, “perhaps representing the ancestral monarch Shimao,” says Shao of the Shaanxi Archaeological Academy.

“The oriental face that was found is at the center of the whole group – perhaps it is the image of the ancestral king Shimao,” Shao told Xinhua News Agency.

At the base of the pyramid are over 70 stone carvings, including human faces, animals and legendary creatures.

Many early Chinese emperors and empresses and their relatives were buried in Chinese pyramids, which differed in design from their Egyptian counterparts. In Shaanxi province, there are many pyramids in the vicinity of Xi’an.

It is believed that the ancient city in which the step pyramid was located was built about 4,300 years ago . For unknown reasons, it was abandoned about 300 years later during the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BC), which was the first dynasty in China to be recorded in historical records.

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