Interview: New discoveries at Sanxingdui Ruins highlight magnificence of Chinese civilization, says Egyptian archeologist
The new archeological discoveries recently announced at Sanxingdui Ruins site in southwest China highlighted the magnificence of the Chinese civilization, renowned Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"I believe that the discovery made in that city is of utmost importance for many reasons, the most important of which is that it shows the greatness of the Chinese civilization," Hawass said.
Chinese archaeologists announced in March the finding of six new sacrificial pits and more than 500 items dating back to around 3,000 years at the Sanxingdui Ruins in Sichuan Province, according to the National Cultural Heritage Administration.
The Sanxingdui ruins, located in the city of Guanghan, about 60 km away from Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, belonged to the Shu Kingdom that existed at least 4,800 years ago and lasted more than 2,000 years.
In four of the six pits, they found gold masks, gold foil, bronze masks, bronze trees, miniature ivory sculptures and carbonized rice and seeds. The rest of the newly discovered pits are still under excavation.
Hawass, who once served as Egypt's minister of antiquities, described the discoveries as "a treasure consisting of 500 pieces," adding that it could lead to more archaeological treasures of the Chinese ancient Shu Kingdom, to which the discovered objects are believed to have belonged.
"Those 500 pieces discovered by archaeologists in China can be studied and tell us a great deal of information about that ancient city, including the religious life back then, how they thought of the afterlife, and what the cultural life of the people who lived there was like," said the Egyptologist.
"It was contemporary to the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt, in which there were great kings like Ramses II, Amenhotep III and Thutmose III," he pointed out.
Hawass said that when Chinese artifacts are displayed in museums in the world, they wow visitors, like the antiquities of the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. "If the Pharaohs have their own charm and magnificence, the ancient Chinese (antiquities) equally have their own charm and magnificence."
"I saw Chinese antiquities in a museum in the United States and I was very impressed with this civilization," he added.
Hawass revealed that he had two wishes regarding archeological cooperation with China, the first of which came true through the first Egyptian-Chinese archeological mission that has been working seasonally at the Karnak Temple Complex of Egypt's monument-rich city of Luxor since late 2018.
His second wish is to visit China and excavate there.
"I haven't been there before. So, I wish to visit China and excavate in China, because this is a great civilization with great value," Hawass said.
He emphasized that there is some closeness between the Egyptian and the Chinese civilizations.
"I believe that the world now looks at the Chinese civilization profoundly, knowing that this civilization provided science, art, religion and belief more than 3,000 years ago," Hawass added.
He looks forward to seeing more Chinese archaeological discoveries, hoping that the coming excavations will include written items to provide more information about that region in China.
"I congratulate the Chinese archaeologists on this great discovery because the excavations were done so professionally and scientifically," said the chief Egyptian archeologist.
"We are waiting for future excavations to know more about this great city or the Shu Kingdom," Hawass added, stressing that these discoveries "will undoubtedly rewrite the history of this region." Enditem