The Banpo Neolithic Village Museum, located to the east of
Xi’an City, displays the remains
of a 6,000 year-old village once home to a matriarchal clan community.
Discovered accidentally in 1953, the museum was set up in 1958 to
be known in China as the first museum built around a historical
site. The village was renovated for 3 years and recently reopened;
now covering an area of 50,000 square meters.
Archaeologists have found about 10,000 tools and utensils, 46
houses, 2 pigsties, 200 cellars, 6 pottery kilns, 174 adult burial
pits and 73 burial jars for the children. Many artifacts and finds
depict and help us understand the daily lives and local production
of these people some 6,000 years ago.
The living section of Banpo Village occupies an area of 30,000
square meters. The village was divided into three main sections:
the living section, the pottery-making section, and the burial section.
It was surrounded by a moat to protect the village against wild
animals and floods. The largest among the remains of the 46 houses
is located in the center of the living area. It is suggested that
this area may have been a meeting hall for Banpo people. There are
about 200 cellars to store grain and tools outside the houses, and
they illustrate the equal distribution and communal features of
In their daily life, the people of Banpo Village engaged in activities
such as farming, fishing, hunting, pottery, raising livestock, building
houses all based around permanent settlement. Women generally were
responsible for caring for the children, creating pottery, and spinning,
while the men sought food sources. A large number of pottery artifacts
were unearthed at the village and are now on display. The pottery
is beautifully shaped and rich in colorful designs with fish, deer,
mountains and rivers depicted. According to analysis of the quality
of the pottery, it was determined that temperatures could have reached
as high as 800-1000C without breaking the pots.
The museum today features two exhibition halls highlighting the
ruins of the Banpo people. The first exhibition hall contains unearthed
relic exhibitions within two halls. The showpieces in these halls
are primarily production and domestic tools used by the Banpo people.
The second Exhibition Hall is primarily used for auxiliary exhibitions
and it also contains two halls. Special shows are held daily in
this area on ethnology, folklore and the history of art related
to the prehistoric culture. The site hall is slightly larger than
half an acre and contains the outdoor residential, pottery making
and burial sections. The entire museum is truly a fascinating display
of one of the oldest ruins to ever be discovered in the history
of our planet. The ancient civilization of the Banpo people definitely
makes the Banpo Neolithic Museum a must see during a visit to
and see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors.