Expert commentary on the Chenqimogou Qijia Culture Burial Site in Lintan County, Gansu Province
Expert commentary by : Wang Renxiang, Research Fellow and Director of the Institute of Archaeology's Research Centre for Frontier Archaeology, CASS.
Research Fellow Wang Renxiang remarked that the discovery of the Chenqimogou Qijia culture tombs in Lintan County, Gansu Province, were a refreshing and important discovery.
It is widely accepted that the Qijia culture was one of the western region's most important archaeological cultures and was an integral part of ancient Chinese civilization. Many important discoveries have already been made at Qijia culture sites, mostly burial sites such as those found at Huangniangniangtai, Qinweijia and Lajia. Yet most of the burials in those cemeteries are vertical earthen pit burials, however, simple in structure, small in size and poor in burial offerings.
But the Chenqimogou site is different and exhibits many complex phenomena which need to be studied and accounted for as the site is a rich source of information for the study of Qijia culture. The site is located near a region known for its ethnic minorities. Looking at the site from the perspective of ethnoarchaeology, Chenqimogou is an excellent case study for understanding ethnic migration and the relationships between the various ancient peoples of these western regions.
Two different and separate sets of artefacts were unearthed from the same tomb, a matter which demands some explanation. We are still not sure if the items are new evidence of the Qijia culture or signs of an integrated foreign culture. For that reason, one should still be careful when seeking out the origins of Qijia culture. The unearthing of two different sets of artefacts from the same tomb could indicate that the tomb had been re-used for a later occupant. At the same time, the arrangement of the burial ground, the repeated use of the burial chambers and shared tombs are an excellent source of data for researching the social structures of that era. Furthermore, careful consideration should be given to a proposal for conducting such a large-scale excavation or exploring the site's settlements. Our research could be greatly enhanced if we were to consider the ethnic background of the western regions when conducting archaeological excavations there. Attention should be drawn to the exchange, conflict and compromise between nomadic and agricultural cultures as this is considered an important factor in the development and course of ancient Chinese civilization.
Participants discussed the presence and absence of markings on the tombs, the arrangement of the three Siwa tombs and Qijia tombs, the age and gender of the skeleton buried in the side chambered tombs, the form of social organisation reflected by the tombs, and the relative age of the burial ground.???
Translated by Kelly McGuire