An Ancient Walled Site Discovered on the Banks of the Yalu River in Jilin's Baishan Municipality

May 9, 2006

Xinhua – Changchun, May 9, Wire (Reporters: Zhou Changqing, Ma Yang)

Specialists recently discovered an ancient walled site on the banks of the Yalu River in Sandaogou village of Jilin's Baishan municipality. Preliminary surveys suggest it belongs to the Han period. This walled site had for a long time remained submerged beneath the waters of the Yunfeng reservoir on the Yalu River, but has recently become exposed due to a drop in the water level.

On May 2nd, the director of Jilin's Changbaishan Cultural Research Association, the literature and history specialist Zhang Fuyou, along with Ji'an City Museum officials Sun Renjie and Chi Yong discovered the ancient walled site while performing archaeological surveys along the Yalu River and conducted a preliminary study.

This walled site is located on a terrace along the northern bank of the Yalu River to the east of Sandaogou village in the Baishan municipality's Babaojiang District. It sits 280 meters above sea level and is presently covered by a deposit of mud one meter deep. Judging from the portions of the walls that have already emerged from the water and mud, it is known that the walls are roughly square in layout with rounded corners. The walls that are currently visible are 1.5 meters high and four meters thick. They are faced with layers of piled stones, and the interior is composed of a mixture of earth and stone. A moat was constructed along the exterior of the walls, the visible portions of which are four meters in breadth and one meter deep. The portion of the western wall that is exposed above the water surface is 180 meters in length, in the southern part of which is the site of a city gate measuring six meters in width. The exposed portion of the northern wall measures 220 meters in length and shows no signs of a gate site. The eastern wall was leveled by buildings belonging to a later period, while the southern wall has been washed away by the waters of the Sandaogou River. A pair of building sites was found within the walled site, but their relationship with the ancient walled site itself remains unclear.

According to Zhang Fuyou and the others, within and to the north of the walled site are over ten stone-piled tombs. Of particular interest is Tomb No. 1 located within the walled site, which is roughly square in layout, each side measuring eight meters in length. The tomb has an overall height of two meters and includes a two-tiered base platform constructed of cut stones. This type of tomb dates approximately to the fourth century AD. Based on analysis of the chronology of the tomb located within the walled site, it is estimated that the walled site was built before the tomb. The structure of the walls and the style of stone construction are different from those used during the Koguryo, Parhae and Liao-Jin periods. The walled site should therefore be dated to the Han period.

During this month-long archaeological survey of the northern bank of the Yalu on the Yunfeng reservoir, eight ancient cemeteries were found in the villages of Liangmin and Qiupi, along with over 2,000 ancient tombs dating from the first century BC to the fourth century AD. These tombs and the walled site are all located below the reservoir's waterline. After having been submerged in May of 1964, these sites emerged for the first time in 42 years when the reservoir's water level was temporarily lowered by 41.13 meters. However, some ancient tombs and walled sites located at lower levels may still remain beneath more than 30 meters of water.

(Trans. Mark E. Byington)