|BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- A sacrificial altar,
dating back about 7,000 years, has been discovered in central China's
Hunan Province, according to Chinese archaeologists.
The altar is the earliest sacrificial site so
far found in China, said He Gang, a researcher with the Hunan Institute
"Ancients prayed to the gods of nature,
such as the gods of the earth, river and heaven," said He at a
archaeological forum held by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
recently in Beijing.
Archaeologists have found China's oldest
white pottery specimens among the altar relics. The pottery is decorated
with phoenix and beast patterns.
"The discovery of the altar is of great
importance to research into the origin of religion and ancient
civilization," said He.
Located in Anbian Town, Hongjiang City of
Hunan Province, the site covers an area of 1,000 square meters. Bones of
dozens of animals including deer, pigs, cattle, bears, elephants and
rhinoceros have been excavated from the 39 sacrificial pits at thesite.
Examination of the teeth of pigs dug up at
the site indicated that they had been domesticated, He said, adding that
this shows that animal husbandry had emerged at that time.