Liangzhu Archaeological Site Celebrates Fifth Anniversary as World Heritage Site

Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee

HANGZHOU, China, July 08, 2024 — July 6th, 2024 marked the fifth anniversary of the Liangzhu Archaeological Site’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This occasion, coinciding with the Minor Heat solar term, was celebrated with a series of events aimed at showcasing the Liangzhu culture to the world.

Organized by the Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee, these events, including cross-cultural dialogues and exhibitions, aim to solidify the Liangzhu Archaeological Site’s position as a global cultural heritage site.

The name “Liangzhu” translates to “beautiful land in the water”. The Liangzhu Ancient City, situated in the lower Yangtze River region, was a prominent early state with a developed urban civilization during the Neolithic period.

Excavations at the site have yielded a wealth of evidence, including river channels, carbonized rice, jade artifacts, and burial sites. This evidence reveals a sophisticated water management system, advanced rice cultivation, unified cultural beliefs, and a complex social hierarchy.

These discoveries offer valuable insights into the material civilization and spiritual world of an ancient civilization dating back 5,300 to 4,300 years ago. They stand as a unique testament to China’s rich history and over five millennia of civilization.

On July 6, 2019, during the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site was formally included in the World Heritage List. It became China’s 55th World Heritage site, filling a significant gap in the World Heritage List for Neolithic urban archaeological sites in East Asia.

As a World Heritage site, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site is required to regularly submit heritage site evaluation reports to UNESCO, a process that involves comprehensive heritage monitoring.

Leveraging Hangzhou’s advanced digital technology, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site has effectively addressed the challenge of monitoring a vast area with limited manpower. Digital technology has enabled efficient and widespread monitoring across various locations within the site.

The Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee, encompassing excavation, protection, research, and utilization of cultural relics, has developed a set of digital applications to create an intelligent governance system for the valuable ruins.

In the site’s monitoring and management center, staff members can easily access real-time images from different locations within the site with a click of a mouse. This digital platform enables efficient and timely monitoring of the cultural relics.

Preserving the Liangzhu Archaeological Site is not merely about protection; it’s about bringing it to life.

With the integration of cutting-edge technologies like 5G, VR, and AR, visitors can immerse themselves in the scenes of the Liangzhu ancestors and “travel back in time” to 5,000 years ago, engaging in activities such as hunting, fishing, and participating in rituals alongside the ancient inhabitants.

Additionally, representative elements of Liangzhu culture have been incorporated into a diverse range of cultural and creative products.

From blind box dolls inspired by the Liangzhu ancestors to jewelry accessories crafted with inspiration from unearthed jade artifacts, Liangzhu-themed products have gained immense popularity among tourists. Currently, over 700 Liangzhu-themed products have been developed, forming a rich Liangzhu cultural derivative portfolio.

“The Liangzhu Archaeological Site has formed a complete exhibition system consisting of the Liangzhu Museum and three archaeological parks,”¬†according to an official with the site’s management committee. Since 2019, the site has welcomed over 9 million visitors, showcasing its significance and popularity among tourists.

Beyond domestic promotion of Liangzhu culture through cultural tourism, Hangzhou is actively working to elevate the international influence of Chinese civilization by promoting Liangzhu culture globally through various means.

In the autumn of 2023, Hangzhou hosted the 19th Asian Games. The Liangzhu cultural elements were seamlessly integrated into every aspect of the Games, ranging from the torch, mascot, and medal designs to the construction of venues, the collection and transmission of the Asian Games flame, and the opening and closing ceremonies. These creative combinations have showcased a unique Oriental romance to the world.

At the end of 2023, the inaugural Liangzhu Forum was held in Hangzhou. Over 300 Chinese and foreign guests gathered at the Liangzhu Archaeological Site, which broadened their understanding of Chinese civilization.

In 2020, Hangzhou’s legislative body passed legislation to establish July 6 as “Hangzhou Liangzhu Day.”

To commemorate this special day, the Liangzhu Archaeological Site has engaged in dialogue with other world heritage sites such as Stonehenge in London, the Acropolis in Athens, and will communicate with the ancient city of Toledo in Spain this year. Through these exchanges, they explore innovations and the future of heritage preservation.

Currently, Hangzhou is developing the Liangzhu Cultural Corridor, which aims to connect the approximately 5,000-year-old Liangzhu culture, the over 2,000-year-old canal culture, the over 1,000-year-old Jing Shan culture, and modern digital culture.

The objective is to transform the Liangzhu Archaeological Site Park into a cultural pilgrimage site and a cultural tourism destination that embodies enriched connotations, innovative achievements, and unique charm.

Source: Hangzhou Liangzhu Archaeological Administrative District Management Committee

CONTACT: Contact person: Ms. Wong, Tel: 86-10-63074558