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Central China discovers earliest wheel ruts

Several wheel ruts dating back at least 4,200 years were found at a site in an ancient city in central China's Henan Province.

Central China discovers earliest wheel ruts
Traces of roads and ruts dating from the Longshan period at the Pingliangtai site
[Credit: Xinhua]
The finding was released by the archaeological team of Pingliangtai Ancient City at a forum held by the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology.

The ruts were worn into roads near the south wall of Pingliangtai, which was found in 1980. Among the rutting traces, most are between 0.1 and 0.15 meters wide. The deepest point was 0.12 meters deep and the longest one was 3.3 meters long.

Central China discovers earliest wheel ruts
Site plan of the Pingliangtai site [Credit: Xinhua]
One wheel rut also had two strips, with a spacing of 0.8 meters, thought to be a track of a kind of two-wheeled vehicle, archaeologists said.

Previously, archaeologists have found several wheel ruts at the Erlitou Relics in Yanshi, Henan, making the history of Chinese vehicles about 3,700 years old.

Central China discovers earliest wheel ruts
Pottery engraved with animal faces unearthed at the Pingliangtai site
[Credit: Xinhua]
Based on the existing archaeological data, it is still unclear what the earliest vehicle in China was like. "So the discovery of these new ruts is of great academic value to study the invention of Chinese vehicle wheels and the origin of vehicles," said Qin Ling, head of the Pingliangtai archaeological team.

Source: Xinhua News Agency [January 13, 2020]


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