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Old Inscriptions Found in China

December 13, 1987|United Press International

BEIJING — Chinese archeologists have unearthed inscriptions dating back 8,000 years, possibly the earliest examples of writing found yet in China, the official New China News Agency said Saturday.

The symbols, inscribed on tortoise shells, bones and stone vessels, were discovered at a neolithic site in central Henan province.

The previous earliest discoveries of Chinese writing, on bones known as oracle bones, were made in ruins of Yin Dynasty buildings at Anyangying, also in Henan, in 1899 and estimated at 3,300 years old.

"The discovery has aroused great interest among Chinese archeologists and philologists and has provided valuable insight into the origin of writing in China," the agency said.

Earlier this year, Chinese archeologists said they found bone inscriptions dating back 4,500 to 5,000 years in northern Shaanxi province and predating the Anyangying find by 1,200 years, but the dates have not been verified.

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