Archaeological Discoveries from the Site of Qinglong Town in Shanghai

        

Date:2017-03-10 ~ 2017-05-30
Venue:No. 3 Exhibition Hall

Introduction
       Located in the present-day Baihe (white crane) town of Qingpu district in Shanghai, the Qinglong (azure dragon) town was said to be set up in the fifth year (746) of Tianbao reign, Tang dynasty. The town, lying to the south of the Wusong River and the west of the sea, gradually evolved into the earliest trading port in the area of Shanghai during the Tang and Song dynasties because of its favorable location as a hub of river and sea. Even seagoing vessels from Japan, Silla and Quang Nam were coming here for transactions at the Qinglong town every year. In the Southern Song dynasty, an official administration was particularly set up at the town to supervise the trading. The thriving business activities, as a result, contributed to the prosperity of the Qinglong town. According to the Northern Song poet Mei Yaochen, there were 36 residential blocks with tens of thousands of households at the prosperous Qinglong town. Moreover, the town was a renowned gathering place for cultural celebrities and knowledgeable elites. In the Northern Song dynasty, Mi Fu once served as a supervisor of the Qinglong town, where inspired countless lyrical poems and odes by scholars.
   From the year 2010 to 2016, the Shanghai Museum had conducted a long-term excavation at the Qinglong town with a view to explore its urban layout and cultural significance. After being buried under the ground for several hundred years, this important port town was eventually unveiled to the public. The excavation brought about a large number of relics and artefacts of the Tang and Song dynasties. Most important findings included such relics as the pagoda of Longping temple, house foundations, water wells, workshops, accumulated ceramics, etc. The trade porcelain accounted for a huge proportion in the unearthed cultural relics.
   The discovered historical site of Qinglong town was very important in the urban history of Shanghai. It could be served as the precious evidence to prove the over 1000-year-long urban development of Shanghai. The large number of unearthed trade porcelain and the relic of Longping temple pagoda gave further proof of the town’s role as an important port along the maritime Silk Road during the Tang-Song dynasties. The archaeological findings from the site, which were in consistent with the historical records, provided fresh material for research on maritime Silk Road. They also helped to uncover the historical context and cultural root of the urban development in Shanghai, the metropolis developing from a thriving port.