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Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

Scientific work at the site, which lies 42 km south-west of Beijing, is still underway. So far, it has led to the discovery of the remains of Sinanthropus pekinensis, who lived in the Middle Pleistocene, along with various objects, and remains of Homo sapiens sapiens dating as far back as 18,000–11,000 B.C. The site is not only an exceptional reminder of the prehistorical human societies of the Asian continent, but also illustrates the process of evolution.

Site de l'homme de Pékin à Zhoukoudian

À 42 km au sud-ouest de Pékin, le site, dont l'exploitation scientifique continue, a permis notamment de découvrir, accompagnés d'objets variés, les restes de Sinanthropus pekinensis, qui vivait au pléistocène moyen, puis des restes d'Homo sapiens sapiens, datables de -18 000 à -11 000. Le site n'apporte pas seulement un témoignage exceptionnel sur les sociétés humaines du continent asiatique à une époque très reculée, mais illustre aussi le processus de l'évolution.

موقع إنسان بكين في تشوكوديان

يقوم هذا الموقع على بعد42 كلم جنوب شرق بكين، وتستمر فيه حتّى يومنا هذا أعمال التنقيب العلمية التي سمحت باكتشاف بقايا إنسان بكين الذي كان يعيش في العصر الحديث الأقرب، ناهيك عن منوّعات مختلفة وبقايا رجال من فصيلة الانسان العاقل ترقى إلى الأعوام 18000- و11000- ق.م. وليس الموقع مجرّد برهان استثنائي على مجتمعات القارة الآسيويّة البشريّة في فترةٍ قديمةٍ من الزمن بل إنه يعطي صورة أيضا عن سيرورة التطو.

source: UNESCO/ERI

周口店北京人遗址

周口店“北京人”遗址位于北京西南42公里处,遗址的科学考察工作仍在进行中。到目前为止,科学家已经发现了中国猿人属北京人的遗迹,他们大约生活在中更新世时代,同时发现的还有各种各样的生活物品,以及可以追溯到公元前18 000至11 000年的新人类的遗迹。周口店遗址不仅是有关远古时期亚洲大陆人类社会的一个罕见的历史证据,而且也阐明了人类进化的进程。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Стоянка «пекинского человека» в Чжоукоудяне

Научные исследования на этом объекте, расположенном в 42 км юго-западнее Пекина, все еще продолжаются. К настоящему времени здесь обнаружены останки жившего в среднем плейстоцене пекинского синантропа (Sinanthropus pekinensis) вместе с различными предметами, а также останки человека разумного (Homo sapiens), датируемые периодом 18 тыс. - 11 тыс. лет до н.э. Этот объект не только предоставляет свидетельства существования доисторических человеческих сообществ на азиатском континенте, но также иллюстрирует и весь процесс эволюции.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Sitio del hombre de Pekí­n en Zhukudian

Situado a 42 kilómetros al suroeste de Pekí­n, este sitio sigue siendo objeto de excavaciones arqueológicas y estudios cientí­ficos. Aquí­ se descubrieron primero, acompañados de diversos objetos, los restos del sinanthropus pekinensis que vivió en el Pleistoceno medio. Posteriormente, se hallaron restos de homo sapiens sapiens que se remontan a un periodo comprendido entre los años 18.000 y 11.000 a.C. Este sitio aporta un testimonio excepcional no sólo sobre las sociedades del continente asií¡tico en tiempos muy remotos, sino también sobre la evolución del ser humano.

source: UNESCO/ERI

周口店の北京原人遺跡

source: NFUAJ

Pekingmens vindplaats in Zhoukoudian

De vindplaats van de Pekingmens bevindt zich ongeveer 42 kilometer ten zuidwesten van Peking, op het kruispunt van de Noord-Chinese vlakte en de Yanshan bergen. De Zweedse geoloog J.G. Anderson startte hier in 1921 een wetenschappelijk onderzoek op. Tot nu toe heeft dit geleid tot de ontdekking van de overblijfselen van de Sinanthropus pekinensis, die leefde tijdens het Midden-Pleistoceen (700.000 tot 200.000 jaar geleden). Daarnaast werden er ook overblijfselen van de Homo sapiens gevonden, daterend uit 18.000 tot 11.000 voor Christus. Het gebied is niet alleen een buitengewoon bewijs van de prehistorische samenlevingen van het Aziatische continent, maar illustreert ook het evolutieproces.

Source: unesco.nl

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Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian © Vincent Ko Hon Chiu
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian is a Pleistocene hominid site on the North China Plain. This site lies about 42 km south-west of Beijing and is at the juncture of the North China Plain and the Yanshan Mountains. Adequate water supplies and natural limestone caves in this area provided an optimal survival environment for early humans. Scientific work at the site is still under way. So far, ancient human fossils, cultural remains and animal fossils from 23 localities within the property dating from 5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago have been discovered by scientists. These include the remains of Homo erectus pekinensis, who lived in the Middle Pleistocene (700,000 to 200,000 years ago), archaic Homo sapiens of about 200,000–100,000 years ago and Homo sapiens sapiens dating back to 30,000 years ago. At the same time, fossils of hundreds of animal species, over 100,000 pieces of stone tools and evidence (including hearths, ash deposits and burnt bones) of Peking Man using fire have been discovered.

As the site of significant hominid remains discovered in the Asian continent demonstrating an evolutionary cultural sequence, Zhoukoudian is of major importance within the worldwide context. It is not only an exceptional reminder of the prehistoric human societies of the Asian continent, but also illustrates the process of human evolution, and is of significant value in the research and reconstruction of early human history.

 

Criterion (iii): The Zhoukoudian site bears witness to the human communities of the Asian continent from the Middle Pleistocene Period to the Palaeolithic, illustrating the process of evolution.

 

Criterion (vi): The discovery of hominid remains at Zhoukoudian and subsequent research in the 1920s and ‘30s excited universal interest, overthrowing the chronology of Man’s history that had been generally accepted up to that time. The excavations and scientific work at the Zhoukoudian site are thus of significant value in the history of world archaeology, and have played an important role in the world history of science.

 

Integrity

All elements necessary to express the values of the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian are included within the boundary of the property. The localities of where the ancient human fossils were found, the living environments of ancient humans, as well as the scientific excavation and research process during the 1920s and 1930s have all been integrally preserved, and accurately reveal the significant scientific value of the property. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 interrupted the excavations and led to disastrous consequences: fossil remains of Sinanthropus Pekinensis discovered previously were disassembled or lost. After the war, some human fossils unearthed through new excavations have partially compensated for these losses and Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian still retains its scientific value.

 

Authenticity

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian bears historic evidence of human evolution, maintains and passes on its authentic historic information, and promotes the research on the origins of early humans. The fossil localities and the setting of the site have been effectively protected. The conservation projects for the site have strictly followed the principles for cultural heritage conservation in terms of design, material, methods and technology.

 

Protection and management requirements

Based on laws and regulations including the Law of People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics, in order to protect the property, the Beijing People’s Municipal Government promulgated the Regulations for the Conservation of the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian in Beijing in 1989; revised in 2009 as the Regulations for the Conservation of Zhoukoudian Site. Activities that may damage the value of the site such as mining and kiln firing are prohibited.

Owing to the formulation and updated revisions and improvements of the scientific Conservation Plan of the Zhoukoudian Site (completed in 2006), the property is in an excellent state of conservation. According to the Plan, the property area has been defined as 4.8 km2 and the buffer zone has been established. Meanwhile, a series of conservation projects have been carried out at the property. The laws, regulations and plans provide the policy guarantee for the scientific conservation and management of the property.

 

Long Description

The site at Choukoutien (today Zhoukoudian), located 42 km south-west of Peking (Beijing), was explored as early as 1921 by the Swedish geologist J. G. Anderson. The discovery in the sediment of a cave of hominid teeth and then, in 1926, of a whole skull by the Chinese archaeologist Pei Wen Chung (Pei Wen Zhong) excited universal interest, to which the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin contributed notably. The chronology of the beginnings of human history generally accepted until then was overthrown by this discovery, since Sinanthropus pekinensis, or Homo erectus pekinensis, lived in the Middle Pleistocene epoch, 700,000-200,000 years before modern times, had mastered fire, and used a number of chipped stone tools. Successive excavations in and around the cave brought to light a great number of incomplete human bones which, after anthropological study, were shown to belong to 40 different individuals.

Some 100,000 objects, essentially rather rough chipped stone tools, numerous traces of domestic hearths, heat-affected stones, burnt bones, ash deposits, etc., as well as fossilized grains, were found. Not far from the main site, a second cave was found to contain remains of Homo sapiens sapiens, dated back to between 18,000 and 11,000 BC, together with a large quantity of other material: necklaces made with teeth, pierced shells and pebbles, bone needles, etc.

Unfortunately the Sino-Japanese conflict, which began in 1937, interrupted the excavations with the most disastrous consequences: the remains of Sinanthropus pekinensis discovered prior to this date were dispersed or lost. Only the casts exhibited in the site museum and some isolated fragments preserved in Sweden remain to this day.

Excavations undertaken after the war by archaeologists from the People's Republic of China have in part compensated for these losses through the discovery of a full jaw (1959) and several elements of cranium (1966). At the same time, other discoveries within China revealed hominids contemporary with Peking Man or older: Lantian Man, found in 1963-64 in Chansi (Shaanxi) Province; and Yuanmou Man, found in 1965 in Yunnan Province. Indeed, the Zhoukoudian site bears witness to the human communities of the Asian continent from the Middle Pleistocene to the Palaeolithic, and more generally illustrates the process of hominization that can only be fully apprehended on a worldwide scale and with the help of numerous examples.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC