Hemudu Site, a Neolithic cultural site of about 40,000 square meters, is located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze Valley. It takes its name from Hemudu Town in Yuyao city, Zhejiang province where the site was originally discovered. Hemudu Culture has been verified to have existed between 5000 BC and 3300 BC. The Hemudu Site in Ningbo holds some of the earliest records of China's Neolithic Age.
Hemudu relics were first found in June 1973 by local villagers during construction work. As farmers were digging groundwork for a pump, they encountered many pieces of chinaware and animal bones, which revealed the mystery of a long-lost ancient village. The discovery was one of the most important archeological events in China in the 20th century.
Utensils of Hemudu Culture mainly consist of pottery vessels, with a few supplementary wooden wares. Primitive stone tools and bone wares carved with exquisite patterns illustrate both the practicability and aesthetics of the Hemudu. Spinning wheels, bone needles and ceramics engraved with cloth lines have been unearthed, reflecting the progress of weaving in that period. Decorative objects made of jade and fluorite materials are great in variety with refined craftsmanship, representing the level of Neolithic culture. Red-lacquered bowls uncovered here, with a history of 7,000 plus years, are the earliest lacquer ware in China.
Habitats in the age of Hemudu Culture were in the form of all-sized villages. Plenty of house foundations have been found at the relics, which reveal that the architecture at that time was mainly in stilt style. Hemudu boasts the earliest stilt houses ever, enormously different from the half-crypt houses in North China from the same period.
Different from Yangshao Culture of the Yellow River Valley, Hemudu Culture represents civilizations of the Yangtze Valley in South China as another major thread weaving through the development of ancient Chinese culture. The discovery of Hemudu relics has proved that Neolithic culture was also located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River serving as a principal origin of Chinese civilization.
Since its excavation, hundreds of thousands of people from both home and abroad have come to visit Hemudu Site. To better preserve the site, a museum occupying some 39,000 sq m was open in 1993. In 1999, the site was opened to the public. And in 2002, a primitive eco-zone occupying an area of 47 hectares was built to recreate a cultural scene.