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6,000-Year-Old DNA Unearthed in Wuxi: A Glimpse into Ancient Cultures

Culture6,000-Year-Old DNA Unearthed in Wuxi: A Glimpse into Ancient Cultures

In an extraordinary discovery, scientists have unearthed human DNA that dates back approximately 6,000 years in tombs located in Wuxi, in the eastern region of China’s Jiangsu Province. This significant find promises to plug existing gaps in ancient DNA studies in southern China, previously impeded by environmental challenges and issues surrounding preservation.

Du Panxin, a renowned research fellow at Fudan University’s Institute of Science and Technology Archeology, commented on the discovery’s importance to local media, emphasizing its role in understanding the genesis and migratory patterns of ancient civilizations that resided in the lower Yangtze River. While highlighting the significance of the finding, Du also mentioned the scarcity of ancient DNA data from the Yangtze River basin, underscoring the need for continued exploration and research in the domain.

Interestingly, the excavation site is closely associated with the Majiabang Culture, recognized as the earliest Neolithic culture in Wuxi and situated predominantly in the lower Yangtze River region. This groundbreaking revelation was brought to light during the inauguration of the East China Workstation at the Key Research Base of the National Cultural Relics Bureau in Wuxi. This institution pledges to advance scientific research, safeguard cultural relics, and fast-track innovations in critical technological domains.

Delving deeper into the discovery, the DNA traces originate from a male individual. Upon comparison with mitochondrial DNA data from other ancient archaeological sites globally, intriguing parallels emerged. The DNA bore resemblance to samples found in various regions, spanning northern Vietnam, northern Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines, China’s Guangxi, and northern Thailand, over different time frames.

The tombs, housing this ancient DNA, were discovered in June amidst an archaeological exploration that commenced in April 2022. The site has unveiled a staggering 106 indicators of archaic human activities, encompassing the two mentioned tombs.

As experts analyze the site, they are weaving a captivating narrative. Comprehensive assessments of environmental disparities, living standards, artistic continuities, and human evolution suggest Wuxi’s human history extends back by a minimum of 6,000 years. The relics and treasures discovered at this site serve as tangible links to a once-thriving matriarchal society.

The term “Majiabang Culture” traces its origins to Majiabang village in Zhejiang Province, where it was initially identified in 1959. Continued archaeological ventures over the decades have revealed that the Majiabang Culture, rooted in matriarchy, transitioned via the Songze Culture. This metamorphosis marked a shift from matriarchy to patriarchy, culminating in a blend with the Liangzhu Culture – an advanced Neolithic culture that thrived in the Yangtze River Delta, signaling the dawn of state-level civilization.


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