Discovered in early 1950s, Ban Po Museum is the most complete Neolithic ruins in China showing the civilization of the matriarchal society of 6,000 years ago. It is located to the eastern suburb of Xi'an. The museum is constructed upon the site of actual excavations of the village ruins.
The Ban Po Village ruins is a typical matriarchal community from the Neolithic age, carbonating on the artifacts found that it was far back to 6,000 years ago. Quoted from archaeologists, The climate around Xi'an at that time was humid and warm, there were rivers enclosing the village with mountains nearby, thus , providing people abundant water and food supply. Though it was a living on the culture of slashing and burning. People already enjoyed a high level of productivity. There were thousands of artifacts found during the excavation, most of them were daily utensils such as pottery water container, stone hunting balls, shuttles, fish hooks made out of animal bones, ornamental beads ...etc.
The ruins consist of three parts, namely: Residential area, Burial section and the Pottery-making section.
The residential area was quite well-laid out, At the center of the settlement was a large room of 160 square meters which was surrounded by numbers of smaller ones. All of the doors were opened facing toward the big room in the middle reflecting the clan spirit of a cohesive group. There was a three hundred meter long man-made moat around the entire living quarter to protect people from attack from animals or other tribes. There were some 46 houses excavated in the site, some were square, some were round, some were built half underground while some were above the surfac. Many holes were found around each house ruins which served as post holes, people built their house by putting the posts together with mud added on afterwards to make the walls, This was the tradition of Chinese architecture by using earth and wood in construction.
The commune cemetery is located to the north part of the settlement where adults were buried. Some 174 graves have been discovered, lined up in regular order, but showing different burial customs. The life span was very short in that period and people mostly died around/before the age of 30.
The Pottery-making section is located to the eastern of the living quarter and remains of six kilns have been found so far. At the beginning, the pottery making was carried out in the open. By the time of Ban po, people had invented two main types of horizontal and upright kilns. Ban po pottery production used both finely-sifted clay and sandy coarse clay; the finely selected clay was of three types depending on its use. Ban po people used relatively advanced methods of painting to decorate their ceramics, with sketched designs to exhibit the characteristics of various animals.
There are twelve different kinds of markings or symbols have been found on pottery pieces or on vessels at the site. Together they consists the main types of strokes used in Chinese characters, such as upright, cross-wise, hooked, and so on. Writing did not exist at the time, but these marks or symbols almost certainly contained their own meanings for people at the time. A number of daily articles are also exhibited in the museum, such as stone axes, finely made fishhooks, bone knives, sharp bone needles, and all kinds of ornaments made of stone, bone, and ivory.
The exhibition hall is built over the actual village ruins that visitors walk around it to see them.
Ban Po Museum can be visited on the way to/from the Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors&Horses on our Xian Day Tours.