National Museum of China experts confirmed the 4,000-year-old marks were three or four characters left by animal-fur brush with ink, said Lian Jilin, a staff member at the regional research institute of cultural heritage and archeology institute.
They were found on a pottery piece unearthed by the institute and Jilin University at Gaojiataizi, an area of over 10,000 square meters of ruins from the Lower Xiajiadian Culture. The words, written smoothly, are believed to be connected with sacrificial activities. Pottery scripts, together with oracle bones and bronze objects, are known for their longevity.
“The oracle bones, scripts from some 3,000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty [C.1600-1046 BC], may have originated with pottery scripts,” Li said, adding the discovery has offered new evidence to trace the origin. Animal bones, pottery and stone articles were also unearthed at the ruins.
The Lower Xiajiadian Culture, a branch of the northern bronze culture during the Xia (C.2070-C.1600 BC) and Shang dynasties, dates back to 3,500-4,000 years ago, between the late Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age.
The Lower Xiajiadian site in Chifeng was listed as one of the top archeological discoveries in China in 2009.