On world heritage map for five years, China’s Liangzhu Archaeological Site radiates with unique civilization charm

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Exhibit site of the southern city wall at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site Park

HANGZHOU, China, July 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On July 6, China ushered in the Minor Heat in the twenty-four solar terms, marking the approach of scorching hot weather. For Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province in eastern China, this day also heralds a series of activities to mark the fifth “Hangzhou Liangzhu Day” and the fifth anniversary of the inclusion of the Liangzhu Archaeological Site to into the World Heritage list.

Organized by the Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee, these activities, including cross-cultural dialogues and exhibitions, seek to showcase the Liangzhu culture and make Liangzhu known to the world, establishing it as a cultural heritage site of global importance.

“Liangzhu” means “beautiful land in the water”. The Liangzhu Ancient City was an early state with urban civilization during the Neolithic period in the lower Yangtze River region.

Within its vast archaeological site, a large number of remains such as river channels, carbonized rice, jade artifacts, and burial sites have provided evidence of a complex water management system, mature rice production, unified cultural beliefs, and differentiated social classes.

These discoveries unveil the material civilization and spiritual world of an ancient civilization dating back approximately 5,300 to 4,300 years ago, serving as a unique testament to China’s over five thousand years of civilization.

On July 6, 2019, during the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site was approved to be included in the World Heritage List. It became the 55th World Heritage site in China and filled the gap in the World Heritage list for Neolithic urban archaeological sites in East Asia.

As a World Heritage site, it is required to regularly submit heritage site evaluation reports to UNESCO. One crucial aspect of these reports is heritage monitoring.

Benefiting from Hangzhou’s advanced digital technology, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site has addressed the challenge of monitoring a wide range of points within its vast area with limited manpower through the utilization of digital technology.

Covering the excavation, protection, research, and utilization of cultural relics, the Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee has developed a set of digital applications to establish an intelligent governance system for the invaluable ruins.

In the monitoring hall of the site’s monitoring and management center, staff members can simply click their mouse to instantly monitor real-time images from different locations within the site, achieving efficient and timely monitoring of the cultural relics.

Preserving the Liangzhu Archaeological Site is not only about protection but also about bringing it to life.

With the aid of technologies such as 5G, VR, and AR, people can not only witness the scenes of the Liangzhu ancestors but also “travel back in time” to 5,000 years ago and engage in activities such as hunting, fishing, and participating in rituals alongside the ancient inhabitants.

Meanwhile, the representative elements of Liangzhu culture have been incorporated into a diverse range of cultural and creative products.

From blind box dolls inspired by the Liangzhu ancestors to jewelry accessories crafted with inspiration from unearthed jade artifacts, Liangzhu-themed products have gained popularity among tourists. Presently, over 700 Liangzhu-themed products have been developed, forming a rich Liangzhu cultural derivative portfolio.

“The Liangzhu Archaeological Site has formed a complete exhibition system consisting of the Liangzhu Museum and three archaeological parks,” according to an official with the site’s management committee. Since 2019, the site has welcomed over 9 million visitors, showcasing its significance and popularity among tourists.

In addition to promoting Liangzhu culture domestically through developing cultural tourism, Hangzhou is also striving to promote Liangzhu culture globally and enhance the international influence of Chinese civilization through various means.

In the autumn of 2023, Hangzhou hosted the 19th Asian Games. The Liangzhu cultural elements were deeply integrated into every aspect of the Games, ranging from the torch, mascot, and medal designs to the construction of venues, the collection and transmission of the Asian Games flame, and the opening and closing ceremonies. These creative combinations have showcased a unique Oriental romance to the world.

At the end of 2023, the inaugural Liangzhu Forum was held in Hangzhou. Over 300 Chinese and foreign guests gathered at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site, which refreshed their understanding of Chinese civilization.

In 2020, the Hangzhou’s legislative body passed legislation to establish July 6 as “Hangzhou Liangzhu Day.”

To mark the special day, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site has engaged in dialogue with other world heritage sites such as Stonehenge in London, the Acropolis in Athens, and will communicate with the ancient city of Toledo in Spain this year. Through these exchanges, they explore innovations and the future of heritage preservation.

Currently, Hangzhou is developing the Liangzhu Cultural Corridor, which aims to connect the about 5,000-year-old Liangzhu culture, the over 2,000-year-old canal culture, the over 1,000-year-old Jing Shan culture, and modern digital culture.

The goal is to transform the Liangzhu Archaeological Site Park into a cultural pilgrimage site and a cultural tourism destination that embodies enriched connotations, innovative achievements, and unique charm.

Source: Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee