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Enterprise to Solve a World Problem in Archaeological Excavation

By VIVIAN YANICHONGQING|Mar 26,2021

Chongqing- Six more ancient sacrificial pits and over 500 relics dating back to about 3,000 years, including pieces of exquisite gold masks, gold foil, bronze masks, sacred bronze trees, ivories, ivory products, and jade, have been unearthed at the renowned Sanxingdui Ruins site in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the National Cultural Heritage Administration announced in Chengdu in the recent days.

The comprehensive excavation platform at the archaeological site, which played an important role in this archeological excavation, was jointly developed by the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute and Chongqing Sound Optoelectronic Think Union Electronics Co., Ltd. Many of those high-tech applications were used in archaeology.

Gold ware found in Sacrificial Pit No. 5. (Photo/ Xinhua Agency)

Chongqing Sound Optoelectronic Think Union Electronics Co., Ltd. is located in the National Cultural Relics Protection Equipment Industrial Base at Nan’an District and has been deeply involved in the field of smart cultural museums for many years.

The Sanxingdui site once again astounded the world. Among the six newly discovered sacrifice pits of the Sanxingdui Ruin, more than 120 ivory have been proven to be found in Pit No. 3. With a history of more than a thousand years, ivory is easily deformed due to moisture loss when exposed. Therefore, the scientific protection of dentition remains a world problem.

Bronze mask found in Sacrificial Pit No. 3. (iChongqing file photo)

In this archaeological excavation, the nitrogen-filled protective box independently developed by Chongqing Sound Optoelectronic Think Union Electronics Co., Ltd. was applied to the archaeological field for the first time. The protective box can effectively protect ivory and other organic matter sensitive to temperature and humidity.

Bronze found in Sacrificial Pit No. 3. (iChongqing file photo)

“Since the beginning of last year, we have worked with the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute to tailor high-tech facilities and equipment for the archaeological excavation of the Sanxingdui site,” said the relevant person in charge of Chongqing Sound Optoelectronic Think Union Electronics Co., Ltd.

The excavation platform is jointly developed by the two parties, composed of the exploratory working cabin, the on-site archaeological laboratory, the cultural relic emergency protection room, the cultural relic restoration laboratory, and the instrumental analysis laboratory. The platform realizes the combination of archaeological excavation, systematic scientific research, and timely and effective protection of the site, ensuring high-quality and high-level advancement of archaeological work can proceed.

According to their distribution, the six more ancient sacrificial pits were “loaded” into four transparent exploration cabins full of science and technology. The small variable frequency environmental control system and the high-pressure micro-mist humidification system adjust the temperature and humidity in the cabin in real-time so that the archaeological site can maintain a constant temperature and humidity environment, thereby reducing the damage to the unearthed cultural relics.

According to their distribution, the six more ancient sacrificial pits were “loaded” into four transparent exploration cabins full of science and technology. (Photo/ Chongqing Sound Optoelectronic Think Union Electronics Co., Ltd.)

Furthermore, through eight network cameras with four million starlight-level and one industrial panoramic camera, a full video recording system of the archaeological excavation process was conducted. This provides first-hand archaeological excavation video data for scholars in future research. Archaeologists’ working platform can be moved based on demand, which allows their bodies to avoid touching the ground in the pit. The safety of archaeologists and unearthed cultural relics can be guaranteed at the same time.

“It has been confirmed that Sanxingdui Ruins site is the oldest site of the pre-Qin period (pre-221 BC) in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River,” according to Lei Yu, head of the excavation team at the Sanxingdui site. Experts believe that the new findings at the site will shed more light on the ancient Shu civilization and its link to the Chinese nation’s civilization. 

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