Fierce debate over 5,000-year-old Chinese inscriptions



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Saturday 13 July 2013

Last update 13 July 2013 2:03 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BEIJING: Fierce debate has erupted among experts in China over the discovery of 5,000-year-old inscriptions that some believe represent the earliest record of Chinese characters.
Pottery pieces and stone vessels unearthed at the Zhuangqiaofen archaeological site in the eastern province of Zhejiang push “the origin of the written language back 1,000 years,” the state-run newspaper reported.
The inscriptions predate the oracles, writings on turtle shells dating back to the Shang Dynasty, which are commonly believed to be the origin of the written Chinese language system.
Some of the inscriptions were written together in what some experts believe resembles a short sentence.
Li Boqian, an archaeology professor from Peking University, said the symbols reveal the ancient Liangzhu civilization — which existed in Zhejiang and neighboring Jiangsu in the Neolithic Age — had already developed the basic structure of sentences from independent words, the newspaper said earlier this week.
Other specialists dismissed the significance of such a find. Xu Hong, an archaeology researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, expressed skepticism on links between the inscriptions and the development of Chinese script.
“Even if those signs on the stones were characters, they were simply from a long dead east Asian country before the Middle Kingdom existed,” he said on Sina Weibo, China’s version of the social network Twitter.
“Many signs and character lookalikes earlier than the oracles have been found in east Asia.”
Xia Jingchun, a professor of Chinese language from Beijing Technology and Business University, also wrote on Weibo: “It’s long been believed by experts that there were more ancient characters than the oracles, because the oracles were too mature, and older languages are supposed to be less developed.”
The inscriptions were found among artifacts unearthed between 2003 and 2006, state media said.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: An explosion damaged several cars at a residential area in the national capital on Monday, but there were no injuries, police said.A spokesman for the Riyadh regional police told Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that security patrols received a tip f...
ABHA: Gov. Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz, Asir region, ordered the formation of a working team in Bisha to address the status of the battered woman who recently shared her suffering on social networking sites.Mohammed bin Sabrah will head the team,...
MADINAH: Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman launched a series of charity and developmental projects during his recent visit to Khaibar Province at costs exceeding SR100 million.They included municipal projects at Khaibar, Al-Salsah and Al-Ashash M...
MADINAH: Pilgrims spend the most beautiful moments in the Prophet’s Mosque, where they pray in Riyazul Jannah (garden from the gardens of paradise) and get to greet the Prophet, peace be upon him, said the Omani pilgrim, Ahmed Nasser. “Such deeds giv...
MADINAH: A member of the Senior Scholars Council, Dr. Abdullah Al-Manieh, has called for the establishment of women’s departments at the Islamic University in Madinah in line with other universities in the Kingdom.“The Muslim woman has had her own st...
JEDDAH: The euphoria over the sudden resumption of call facility on WhatsApp in the Kingdom on Saturday was short-lived as the service was not widely available the following day. A large number of users of the popular messaging service, barring a few...
JEDDAH: Work on developing and modernizing the Kingdom’s 27 airports is ongoing and is expected to be completed within the next five years, according to Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA).“Our goal is tha...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and South Korea are set to widen cooperation in the health care sector following a joint road show which underlined potential areas of cooperation and showcased world-class health facilities of that country. The event, titled “Ko...
RIYADH: The Saudi Green Building Forum (SBGF) believe that about fifty percent of the ongoing eco-friendly green building projects across the Kingdom are facing delays for not fulfilling criteria.Faisal Alfadl, secretary-general of the forum, on Satu...
AL-UQAIR: The low-quality of education in the Kingdom arises from many factors. Included among these are the complexity of the system itself, unclear educational vision, non-professional education development programs, and instability due to changing...
JEDDAH: Security authorities in Jeddah called a citizen and his wife for interrogating with them on the charges of beating their Eritrean housemaid.Makkah Police media spokesman, Col. Dr. Atti bin Attiah Al-Quraishi, said: “The Safety Center of Jedda...
AL-UQAIR: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) has deposited SR600 million with local banks for the Al-Uqair Development Company in Al-Ahsa, SCTNH President Prince Sultan bin Salman has said.“Saudi citizens have some equitie...
JEDDAH: A number of preachers have been arrested for using sermons to promote political ideologies, said Fahad Sulaiman Al-Khalifa of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.He said the issue was not widespread, and the ministry reiterated that the sermon sh...
JEDDAH: A Saudi military analyst and retired brigadier, Ibrahim Al-Marie, has called for the compulsory drafting of young Saudis into the military.This is, he said, not only because the Kingdom is facing regional threats, but because of its benefits...
RIYADH: Advertisement campaigns for fake TOFEL and ILET certificates are being monitored on social media websites in an effort to halt this illegal practice. The certificates originate from Jordan and can be obtained by clients for a sum of SR2,000,...

Stay Connected

Facebook