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East China city seeks World Heritage status

Beijing, Jan 27 (IANS) The Liangzhu relic site of Neolithic ruins in East China’s Zhejiang province has been officially recommended by the National Commission of China to Unesco as a candidate for World Heritage status in 2019.

The site on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang’s capital, dates to 3300-2300 BC, roughly contemporaneous with the Old Kingdom period in ancient Egypt and the Sumer civilisation in Mesopotamia, Xinhua reported, citing a report by China Daily.

It is a complex with various types of relics, including an ancient city, tombs and a dam.

Archaeological work began in Liangzhu in the 1930s and over the past eight decades understanding of the sites has grown from being merely a complex of tombs to a comprehensive large-scale heritage site, said Wang Ningyuan, a researcher at the Zhejiang Provincial Research Institute for Cultural Relics and Archaeology.

In the new edition of high school textbook on China released in September, Liangzhu is presented in detail as an important place of origin of the Chinese civilisation.

In 2015, the discovery in Liangzhu of the ruins of a dam — for flood control and irrigation — was announced.

It is the earliest known Chinese water conservancy project and was listed among China’s top 10 archaeological discoveries of that year.

Its contemporary counterparts overseas were built mainly in arid areas like ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, making this discovery in the humid area near the Yangtze River unusual.

In recent years, archaeologists have determined there was no farmland in the ancient city, which housed mainly handicraft workshops.

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage had put Liangzhu on a potential World Heritage site list several times before it officially applied for that status.

Jiang Weidong, deputy director of the Liangzhu relic site’s administration office, said much work has been done in preparation for its submission as a World Heritage candidate.

Currently, its protection zone covers 42 sq km and is planned to expand to 111 sq km,

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