Origin of Amur River Valley Civilization Explored
A Sino-Russian archaeological team announced on earlier this month that the original settlements on both banks of the Heilongjiang (Amur) River were very similar and the region may have been an important route for humans migrating from Asia to America.
This is the first time China and Russia have jointly studied the original settlements along their border river.
The Heilongjiang River is located in the central area of northeast Asia, close to Bering Strait which connects Asia to North America. Therefore the original river settlements have attracted wide attention from China, Russia, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Zhang Wei, head of the joint archaeological team told Xinhua that their explorations started in July 2001. So far more than 300 stoneware and earthenware pieces produced between 1,300-9,000 years ago in the early period of the Neolithic Age have been unearthed in the suburb of Habarovsk, a city near the river.
Yu Huili, a member of the joint archaeological team, said that among hunting tools found such as stone spearheads and stone swords, a stone pendant used to weigh down a fishing net in the river was the first discovery of a fishing tool in the Heilongjiang River Valley. It demonstrated that both hunting and fishing were commonly practiced in the Heilongjiang Valley as early as the beginning of the Neolithic Age.
Archaeologists have also found from their study that the ancient people selected materials very carefully before producing stoneware. And that stoneware includes both chipped stone implements and ground stone implements, which demonstrates again that as early as during the transitional period between the Paleolithic Age and the Neolithic Age, human beings were already living in the Heilongjiang River valley.
Chinese and Russian archaeologists also agree that such a big quantity and high quality of stoneware is rarely seen compared with stoneware of the same age discovered in other parts of the world. It reflects that settlements in the Heilongjiang River valley were well developed in the early Neolithic Age.
The theory has long existed that humans migrated from Asia to America via the Far East because calculations show that during a drop in sea levels between 12,000 and 25,000 years ago, Bering Strait emerged from the sea, creating the only land link between Asia and America.
More evidence supporting the theory is that the physical looks of American Indian and Maya peoples were quite similar to early Asians.
Archaeologists say that the new finds along the Heilongjiang River also back the theory as the stoneware proves that the time when human activities began was quite close to the time the land link emerged.
Another striking fact is that earlier this year, Chinese archaeologists discovered a site on China’s side of the border river with similar remains to those discovered at Habarovsk.
Zhang said that it meant that the original settlements on both banks were quite similar. In future, China and Russia will strengthen cooperation to seek more evidence supporting the view.
(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2002)