Qingdun Neolithic site [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
A ceramic axe with handle and piercing was unearthed in the Qingdun Neolithic site in the area between the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River in April 1978. It was classified as a national grade-one cultural relic because it solved the handle-bearing problem of stone axes, the major instrument of labor for people in the Neolithic Era. The issue of handles on stone axes for a long time had been an archaeological debate.
Besides the significant archaeological value of the ceramic axe itself, the finding also provided help in decoding the myths and legends of Pangu.
Qingdun Neolithic site [Photo/js.ifeng.com]
Qingdun culture is the most important representative of the original culture of Nantong and the eastern area of the Yangze River and the Huaihe River. Only three typical Neolithic sites have been found in the wide area to the east of the canal and between the Yangze River and the Huai River: the first one is the Qingliangang cultural site found in Huai’an in 1951 (Qingliangang culture); the second is the Qingdun site found in Haian in 1973 (Qingdun culture); and the third is the Longqiuzhuang site found in Gaoyou in 1993.
The stone axe was the main means of production and one of the most precious products for Neolithic people. Many have been found as burial objects in unearthed tombs. But the ceramic axe with handle and piercing found at the Qingdun site was made by pottery clay and less for practical use than for mental appreciation, serving as a kind of symbolic worship totem of the Qingdun Neolithic site community.
Cultural relic of Qingdun Neolithic site: a deer antler with mysterious patterns [Photo/js.ifeng.com]