Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City

N30 23 44 E119 59 27
Date of Inscription: 2019
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Property : 1,433.66 ha
Buffer zone: 9,980.29 ha
Ref: 1592
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Located in the Yangtze River Basin on the south-eastern coast of the country, the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu (about 3,300-2,300 BCE) reveal an early regional state with a unified belief system based on rice cultivation in Late Neolithic China. The property is composed of four areas – the Area of Yaoshan Site, the Area of High-dam at the Mouth of the Valley, the Area of Low-dam on the Plain and the Area of City Site. These ruins are an outstanding example of early urban civilization expressed in earthen monuments, urban planning, a water conservation system and a social hierarchy expressed in differentiated burials in cemeteries within the property.

The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City was the centre of power and belief of an early regional state in the Circum-Taihu Lake Area. It is located on a plain criss-crossed by river networks in the eastern foothills of the Tianmu Mountains in the Yangtze River Basin on the southeast coast of China.

The property is composed of four areas: Area of Yaoshan Site; Area of High-dam at the Mouth of the Valley; Area of Low-dam on the Plain – Causeway in Front of the Mountains; and Area of City Site.

The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City reveals an early regional state with rice-cultivating agriculture as its economic base, and social differentiation and a unified belief system, which existed in the Late Neolithic period in China. With a series of sites, including the City Site built during ca. 3300-2300 BCE, the Peripheral Water Conservancy System with complex functions and socially-graded cemeteries (including an altar), and the excavated objects represented by series of jade artefacts symbolizing the belief system, as well as its early age, the property represents the remarkable contributions made by the Yangtze River Basin to the origins of Chinese civilization. In addition, the pattern and functional zoning of the capital, together with the characteristics of the settlements of the Liangzhu culture and of the Outer City with the terraces, support strongly the value of the property.

Criterion (iii): The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, as the centre of power and belief of Liangzhu culture, is an outstanding testimony of an early regional state with rice-cultivating agriculture as its economic base, and social differentiation and a unified belief system, which existed in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in the Late Neolithic period of China. It provides unparalleled evidence for concepts of cultural identity, social and political organization, and the development of society and culture in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age in China and the region.

Criterion (iv): The Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu illustrates the transition from small-scale Neolithic societies to a large integrated political unit with hierarchy, rituals and crafts. It includes outstanding examples of early urbanization expressed in earthen monuments, city and landscape planning, social hierarchy expressed in burial differentiations in cemeteries within the property, socio-cultural strategies for organization of space, and materialization of power. It represents the great achievement of prehistoric rice-cultivating civilization of China over 5000 years ago, and as an outstanding example of early urban civilization.

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