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Ruins of Stone Buildings Discovered in Chongqing's Wuling Mountain

By JIEYU WANGTAN, KAILONGICHONGQING|Jun 19,2020

Chetian Township, about 77 kilometers away from Youyang county in Chongqing, is located in the heart of Wuling Mountain, with undulating mountains and perilous peaks. Due to rugged roads, for a long time, it has been difficult for locals to get access to the outside world. However, the scenery is indeed beautiful here, resembling “Taohuayuan,” a beautiful paradise described in a famous ancient Chinese poem. In the remote mountains of Chetian, there is an untraversed site, known as “Shiwan Wuji” (roughly meaning “One Hundred Thousand House Foundations”) among locals. A large number of stone building foundations are preserved here, densely distributed, spectacular, as if telling people how bustling the place used to be. It is said that in the past the local headman came here for site selection for his tribe, and finally nailed down on this site after ten inspections.

The aerial photo of “Shiwan Wuji.”

What lies in the past of this mysterious site? Was it an ordinary village, or was it once a colony of a tribe? The origin and history of the site have been passed down among locals by word of mouth, thus leading to different versions of stories.

Chetian Village

According to the second national cultural relic census in 1987, cultural relic workers from Youyang County conducted a preliminary survey of the site and concluded that

the He clan was the first to live there, so they named it the “He Clan Site”; in 1988, the site was announced as a cultural relic protection unit in Youyang County; since 2017, the Chongqing Cultural Heritage Research Institute has carried out archaeological investigation and excavation of the site, and selected the most widely circulated name in oral data—”Shiwan Wuji.” Since then, “Shiwan Wuji” has become the official name of the site lacking historical records, and its mystery has been gradually unveiled.

What has been discovered?

It is a large-scale fortified mountain village site with an area of about 60,000 square meters. The village was built leaning the mountains, surrounded by mountains on all sides. Built on a unique site, by making use of terrain characteristics such as terraces and canals, buildings were located at varying altitudes. And according to the topography and location of water resources, different building zones were divided and a system established, making the site worthy of being studied.

The main ruins preserved within is the building foundations. These houses were built following the topography. From northwest to southeast, from high places to low places, multiple platforms have been formed by making the terrain level, and then houses were built on these platforms. Such construction enabled locals to make full use of limited land resources.

Judging from the existing house site, stone wall, road, dungeon, market, drainage ditch and other relics, the site is a well-preserved colony with a clear overall structure and clear functional layout, involving administration, production, and life, transportation, economy, defense, and other aspects in the past, while having a complete regional management function.

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