Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

【Culture】Time:2024-05-20      Source:travel china guide      Views:37

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of downtown Beijing, was a natural habitat of human ancestors about 700,000 years ago. Here multiplied descendents, from age to age, created the splendid Paleolithic Age. To some extent, this is the cradle of Chinese civilization. In this charming and mystical land, Peking man left their footprints. Today, the remains and site provide a good opportunity for tourists to explore the primitive life of our human ancestors.

Zhoukoudian Site of Peking Man is situated on the Dragon Bone Hill. Since 1921, eight sites of ancient human remains have been discovered. 27 localities where high concentrations of fossils were found have been excavated. 118 kinds of animal fossils and over 100,000 stone wares have been unearthed. These fossils and remains serve as evidence of the existence of humanoid species 500,000 years ago in Zhoukoudian Cave.

Peking Man Site

Three representative remains include the Peking Man Site, the Upper Cave Man Site and the New Cave Man Site. In 1921, a cave was discovered at Zhoukoudian. Archaeologists confirmed it as the habitat of Peking Man. Today, it is called Locality One or Apeman Cave. In 1929, the discovery of a complete skull fossil by a Chinese Paleontologist, Pei Wenzhong, caused excitement around the world. The skull fossil could be traced back 500,000-700,000 years ago, proving the existence of Sinanthropus .This discovery serves as reliable and convincing evidence for the theory of evolution. Since then, Zhoukoudian has become known as the 'Home of Apeman'. Decades of scientific work and excavation revealed many skeletal fossils of the ancient Peking Man, stone and bone implements and ash residues.

Upper Cave Man Site

The Upper Cave Man Site was discovered in 1930 and was excavated in 1933. It is located above the Apeman Cave near the peak of the Dragon Bone Hill. The cave is about 13 feet (4 meters) high and 16 feet (5 meters) wide. Three complete skull fossils and many other fossils were discovered here. Around the skeletons red hematite powder was also discovered. Other finds include bone needles, animal teeth and the remains of necklaces that were used as ornaments. These remains prove the utilization of animal furs to make clothes and to dress themselves to keep warm. According to scientific research, the Upper Cave Man lived about 18,000 years ago with their physical character being quite similar to that of modern man.

New Cave Man Site

In 1973, the New Cave Man Site was found in Locality Four, 328 feet (100 meters) south to the Apeman Cave. The New Cave Man lived 100,000 years ago. The discovery of this site bridges the gap between Peking Man and Upper Cave Man, and the succession of Peking Man's evolution. One tooth, fossils of amniotes and other animal fossils were unearthed here.

Gezitang Hall

In September 2005, over 100 animal fossils were discovered in Gezitang Hall. Gezitang Hall is located at the entrance of Apeman Cave. Archeologists have confirmed that the fossils discovered are the remains of several species of ancient deer that lived in the Middle Pleistocene Period. Three teeth fossils, several antler and upper jawbones of ancient deer were found.

These cultural relics are very valuable in the study of the origin and evolution of human species. In 1987, the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. A park is built on the basis of Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site in recent years. Visitors can learn about the long history of human beings as they climb the mountain. The game house in the site park is a great place for children to experience hunting and collecting activities, providing them an opportunity to learn about our ancestors.

Zhoukoudian Site Museum

Standing on the hill you will see a grand modern building. That is Zhoukoudian Site Museum, about ten minutes’ walk from the site park. It was opened to the public in 2014. Upon entering, you will see a tall ‘Peking Man’ statue with prey on his shoulder and a stick in his right hand. Behind it is a long scroll painting that vividly shows the life of Peking Man. The museum exhibits over 1,600 pieces of relics across three floors. Those exhibitions mainly include fossils of the Peking Man and other animal bones, demonstrating the origin of creatures in prehistory and the transition from ape to human. Among those relics, the no. 3 skull model is especially eye-catching. It is the model of the first skull of Peking Man discovered in Zhoukoudian in 1929.

The museum also houses a 4D movie theater, where films about primitive life of our ancestors are shown. With an interactive zone, the museum is instructive and entertaining. Stand before an interactive device and wave your hands as it guides you, you will see a primitive counterpart. Besides, in front of every exhibition hall, there is a touch screen which gives detailed information about the relics.