Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

Travel Guide Asia China Beijing Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

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Introduction

Zhoukoudian Site Museum

Zhoukoudian Site Museum

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Zhoukoudian Archaeological Site is situated on a hill named Dragon Bone Hill. Since 1921, eight sites with ancient human remains have been discovered and excavated. The unearthed fossils and artefacts serve as evidence that humanoid species lived here from perhaps 700,000 years ago until as recent as 10,000 years ago. As a visitor do not expect to see fossils laying around, nor can one enter the caves. Rather one has to try and imagine how prehistoric people lived here. It is easy to see that the location was an attractive dwelling place, on a low hill overlooking a plain sloping down to a river at one kilometre distance. Or consider your visit a pilgrimage to a place that Chinese see as the cradle of their civilization.

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Opening Hours

Summer (April 1 through October 31): 8:30am – 4:30pm.
Winter (November 1 through March 31): 9am – 4pm.
The museum is closed on Mondays. The ten minutes’ movie in the museum is shown twice a day, at 10am and at 3pm.

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Cost

Admission to the site costs RMB 30, another RMB 30 for the museum. Children under 1.2 metres pay half price.

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Sights and Activities

Peking Man Site

Peking Man Site

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  • Peking Man Site - This cave, also referred to as Apeman Cave and Locality 1 was the first cave to be discovered, in 1921. Excavations began in 1927 and in 1929 a complete skull fossil was found, proving the existence of Sinanthropus Pekinensis. Subsequently almost 200 fossils of Peking Man were unearthed belonging to 40 individuals. The excavation was enormous: over a length of 140 metres, a width of 2 to 40 metres and a depth of 40 metres in 13 layers. This proved that Peking Man lived her intermittently from about 600,000 years ago until 200,000 years ago.
  • Upper Caveman Site - The Upper Caveman Site was discovered in 1930 and was excavated in 1933. The cave is about 4 metres high and 5 metres wide. Three complete skull fossils and many other fossils were discovered here. Around the skeletons red hematite powder was also discovered. Other finds include bone needles, animal teeth and the remains of necklaces that were used as ornaments. Upper Caveman, who lived here between 30,000 and 10,000 years ago, was quite similar to modern man.
  • New Caveman Site - In 1973, the New Caveman Site was found, 100 metres south of the Apeman Cave. The New Caveman lived 100,000 years ago, thus the discovery of this site bridges the gap between Peking Man and Upper Caveman. One tooth, fossils of amniotes and other animal fossils were unearthed here.
  • Gezitang Hall - In September 2005, over 100 animal fossils were discovered in Gezitang Hall. Gezitang Hall is located near the entrance of Apeman Cave. Archeologists have confirmed that the fossils discovered are the remains of several species of ancient deer that lived in the Middle Pleistocene Period.
  • Zhoukoudian Site Museum - Standing on the hill you will see a grand modern building. That is Zhoukoudian Site Museum, about ten minutes’ walk from the site park. It was opened to the public in 2014. The museum exhibits over 1,600 pieces of relics across three floors. Those exhibitions mainly include fossils of Peking Man and animal bones, demonstrating the origin of creatures in prehistory and the transition from ape to human. Among those relics, the no. 3 skull is a copy of the first skull of Peking Man discovered in Zhoukoudian in 1929. The museum also houses a 4D movie theater, showing films about life in prehistoric times.
Zhang Heng's Seismograph

Zhang Heng's Seismograph

© theo1006

  • Earthquake Museum - Unrelated to the fossil discoveries is the educational earthquake museum. The explanations are in Chinese, but the drawings showing how to behave when an earthquake happens are clear enough. Of special interest is the Hou Feng seismograph, invented in A.D. 132 by scientist Zhang Heng. His instrument could show the direction in which an earthquake had occurred.

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Getting There

By Bus

1. Take bus 917 or 836 from Tianqiao Bus Station to Zhoukoucun Lukou, then change to Fangshan Bus 38 to Yuanren Yizhi (Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian).
2. Take bus 616 at the south square of Beijing West Railway Station to Liangxiang Ximen, and then change to Fangshan Bus 38.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 8:57 on Feb 4, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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