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The Banpo Prehistoric Museum Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Yuncheng City! What can I say? It looks so much like Xian if I was to wake up I would believe I was still here. That could be because I haven't actually packed my pack and left Xian just yet. Yesterday (Wednesday 27th, I'm actually writing this Thursday night from the very empty second floor of KFC just up from the Bell Tower. Beside me is my delicious cheap McD's/KFC coffee that I love so much) there was no real excuse for not leaving Xian except for the fact that I woke up and loved being in an ancient city surrounded by an ancient city wall which then again is surrounded by an ancient city moat! It made me feel safe and secure from all the nasties of the world. So I figured, whilst on such a natural high why leave. Kind of like when you arrive at your parents house. So instead of making my way to the train or bus station I figured why not spend the day with some skeletons of those whom once walked these parts around six thousand years ago. With that in mind and no bones to pick with anyone I happily headed to the Bell Tower in search of Bus No: 15 which believe me, you can find stopping outside of the Bell Tower Hotel. Sometimes it would help if the LP actually put in such small details. If you have been to Xian then you would know how big the Bell Tower round-a-bout is. If you know that then you would also know how many entrances and exits there are. For those who don't know there is a set of stairs for each and every side of all roads. People can be seen popping up to then, after a quick look around quickly pop themselves back down again and continue their search for the right exit. So after popping myself up here and there I finally found out where to catch Bus No: 15. I guess it also would have helped if I had purchased the 5 Yuan city map with all the bus details on it along with everything you need to know about Xian and all in English. For some reason I always choose to wait until I have figured it out myself and then I purchase one from the next person I pass. Yep, you can call me stoopid and on many occasions such as these you'd be right! The journey to my destination cost only 1 Yuan on the public bus and it took around forty minutes. If you decide to check out Banpo and you are wondering where to get off the bus then simply wait for forty minutes and then begin to look out the window for a new (or the only) highway overpass. The bus will then turn right and there you are at the next stop. To return to the city after your visit Bus 15 leaves from directly outside the gate. So what in the world is this Banpo I'm talking about? The leaflet I got tells you that 'Xian Banpo Museum is the first prehistoric site museum built in 1958 since Liberation. The remains of cultural relics unearthed show the brilliant intelligence of Banpo people in the Neolithic age. [/i]</b> [/i]</b> Banpo was a matriarchal clan community of the Yangshao culture in the Neolithic age. It is divided into three sections; the Residential, the Pottery making and the Burial Section. Some of the important remains are; a large moat, a small ditch, house relics, storage pits, pottery kilns and a worship place.[/i]</b> [/i]</b> The main relics show us the development of the primitive civilization of the Yellow River Valley'.[/i]</b> The Lonely Planet will tell you that; Banpo is the earliest example of the Neolithic Yanshao culture. It appears to have been occupied from 4500BC until around 3750BC. As less than a quarter of the site has been excavated, little is known of the early agrarians. However, circumstantial evidence indicates that the culture was probably matriarchal and that also of interest at the site are the Shamanistic relics that have been unearthed. </b> [/i] The LP also says that it was closed for renovations around 2004/2005! I must say, I find it hard to believe that anything within has been cleaned, weeded or even touched since the time of building. I had spotted some of the large advertisements around the city and they made it look and sound fantastic and after reading in the LP that is had been closed for 'supposed' renovations that happened around 2005 I was expecting something a little different. When I arrived I was rather surprised to find that an archaeological site of such historical importance to have been left to the birds and the weeds. Although all displays have obviously remained the same since the park was built that really didn't bother me. Not all sites/parks have the funds to revamp themselves but what I did find very annoying is the fact that it seems that no-one actually takes the time to care. Inside of the main site everything is now overgrown and the small paths can barely be found in most places. Even the ancient houses have been mostly covered by natural growth. Are they not part of the main display and the reason people pay to visit? Anyhow, I chose not to let it bother me and to also not take any photos of the grounds as I wanted to remember the site for what it actually is, a Neolithic Village that is around six thousand years old. I began my afternoon checking out the four display rooms near the gate. Here you can find pottery, weapons, building tools etc. My favourite room was actually the room full of colourful paintings that have been painted by a famous Chinese painter to help capture some of the culture of the time. The main attraction is of course the village site itself and like the Terracotta Warriors it can be found housed in a huge shed in which walk ways take you throughout. At some sections there are some small signs and all have English to help you understand what you are actually looking at as most of it is actually bare earth with many holes in it. It isn't until you actually get a higher view that you can put things in perspective such as where the houses once stood. These can be located by all the frame 'post holes'. The houses were either circular or square. Many earthen jars can be spotted all over the site and like most people I thought them to be storage jars for grain etc. I was soon to find out that they are actually the burial jars of young children. There are several displays of the bones of the dead in a room within the main 'shed'. Most are individual graves but there are also several Joint Burial Tombs. Outside the main site can be found several Pottery Kilns, some houses and like I stated at the beginning, many weeds that have been given free reign to take over the entire Banpo site. What a pity! If the site was even weeded and cleaned then maybe people would walk away with a better opinion of the place. It is like visiting a museum built during the 60's/70's that has remained untouched since, yet for some reason they advertise it with glitzy modern advertising. All in all, I actually did enjoy my time at Banpo and unlike most places I go I was happy enough to leave. I paid my 1 Yuan and enjoyed my forty minutes ride back through the crazy traffic to the Bell Tower. I then decided it was time to pay a visit to the Hiking Store that my Music Fountain buddy took me to the prior evening. At the bus stop near the south gate I met Sven, a guy who had been in China for nearly three weeks. I still have no idea where he was going or what bus he was searching for but when I mentioned I was going to a hiking store we decided to share a cab and both go together. When we arrived I was greeted by the sight of the day pack I had long been waiting for! A small 15/20 liter rain proof pack with air comfort support. I was sold pretty much straight away. My small pack I got last summer got a flat tyre and had broken down beyond repair (hahaha) and I had given Luo Wei my nifty Nike pack I brought as it was too big for a day pack. All I carry are my LP, my mini computer, a novel and a bottle of water. Even though the Nike pack was an awesome pack it was too heavy and put too much strain on my shoulders for the amount of hours I walk each day. For this you need a small compact pack. You can carry the same load but it feels much lighter with much less strain. Earlier that morning and prior to me searching for Bus No: 15 at the Bell Tower I ran into a Chinese guy named Ying. He was from Zhengzhou City which is the city next to Luo Wei's city of Kaifeng. He was here visiting his girlfriend who was an English student at one of the Xian university's. We began talking and I was more than surprised with his English and complimented him on it. He laughed and told me that he had returned last year from seven years living, being a student and working in England. After swapping contact details I then departed to pop up and down here and there at the Bell Tower underground. After saying good bye to Sven I met Ying and his girlfriend back at the hotel. Earlier we also laughed at the fact that out of the billion hotels here in Xian we were both staying in the same one. I think we kind of didn't really believe it until we both took identical key rings from our pockets. It could have almost been taken from an old Western Film. A very stupid and silly one at that where they use key rings instead of guns! We all headed down to the Drum Tower and decided to eat 'Yung-Ro Por-Mor' which is simply Xian's local 'specialty' of Lamb noodles (very thin almost like glass noodles) with little pieces of Muslim bread scattered throughout. Depending on where you get them some of them have barley any noodles or broth and the entire dish seems to be little pieces of Muslim bread soaked in broth. We then headed across to the Youth Hostel near our hotel where we sat for a few hours going through some of my photos on my computer and chatting about anything and nothing important. Today (Thursday, 28th) I woke with a very queasy stomach could have been watching the movie 'Runs Forest Runs' so I decided to lay in bed and watch TV until the 'movie' finally ended. There went my journey to Yuncheng today. Bloody Forest and his Runs Forest Runs! After lunch I decided to head out side and I ventured just around the corner to the 'Advanced Train Booking' window where I found out that tomorrow mornings train was sold out and that there wasn't another until tomorrow night. I decided to skip the train and I then slowly made my way down to the Long Distance Bus Station which is just across from the Train Station at the north city wall. Here I found that there are buses running nearly every hour for most of the day. Perfect! Absolutely perfect! In China when you pay for your hotel room you have it until mid day the following day! So sometimes I feel reluctant to leave it for a bus or train departing much earlier. So I happily thought, I could do some washing tonight and it will be dry by the time I need to leave. I love micro-fiber and air-conditioning, together they make traveling much easier. I decided not to purchase my ticket today and wait until I return tomorrow. I then slowly walked back towards the south gate and just as I once again popped beneath the Bell Tower and was walking the subway Sven rang and we decided to meet up and have Yung-Ro Por-Mor a good-bye dinner. His train for Beijing left at eight. After dinner we headed back to grab his bags from the Shuyuan Youth Hostel which is across from my hotel and we then went to grab a cab to take him to the train station. Here is where I got a little confused. Taxi drivers, no matter what country you are in they will almost run you down to get your fare. Here in Xian it took us several cabs before we found one that could be bothered heading to the train station. The fare is around nine Yuan. Do the drivers here make so much in one day that they can simply wave you off at will? It is a six Yuan flag fall here in Xian and Sven said that the night he came he was lost trying to find his hostel and that every cab he asked waved him off. It actually wasn't until a policeman got involved that one of them could be bothered driving him to the hostel. So, the flag fall is six Yuan. The drive from the Bell Tower (where he was) to his Youth hostel is (at the south gate) all of about one minutes drive. So that is six Yuan for one minutes work. I have been in China for almost four years and I have never EVER come across anything like this. Not only was I shocked by being waved off by several cab drivers but when Sven told me his story I began to wonder about the new China. What type of people it is breeding and what would their parents have done. They would have bloody slapped them down and kicked the absolute shite out of them! What many of the last generations went though here in China I can't comprehend any of my family or friends etc every living through. Until you have been here for sometime you may think that I am over re-acting but no one here ever waves off money. I have traveled far and wide and never have I seen such a thing yet three cab drivers (whom were all awaiting a fare mind you) chose to simply wave us away. Strange, very very strange indeed! Anyhow, it is time for me to go and do my washing as it is now 11:30pm Thankfully I won't need to catch a cab! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane PS: if you find yourself in Xian and in need of a new pack or anything such as hiking shoes, a tent or anything camping/back packing and you want something that is REAL and that is of good quality and worth the REAL money that you will have to spend. Don't go to the Islamic Market and buy a pack that will begin to fall apart a few weeks or days after buying it. Grab a cab and go to the corner of Zhuque Dajie and Xiaozhai Donglu. On your left (when you look back towards the city) you will see an eatery called 'Stewed Beef' (or something like that). Walk across to that and then continue for a few hundred meters towards the city walls and you will come across a huge camping store. There is supposed to be another even larger one much further towards the city but I found that this one had everything that most would desire. It is pricey but all camping/packing stores anywhere in the world are. No matter what country you are in. If you want real you pay real! _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by the funksta himself Jamiroquai The album was 'Greatest Hits' __________________________________________________________

Banpo Neolithic Village

Banpo Neolithic Village


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1-Banpo Neolithic Village


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2-Banpo Neolithic Village


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3-Banpo Neolithic Village


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4-Banpo Neolithic Village


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5-Banpo Neolithic Village


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6-Banpo Neolithic Village


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7-Banpo Neolithic Village


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8-Banpo Neolithic Village


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9-Banpo Neolithic Village


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10-Banpo Neolithic Village


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11-Banpo Neolithic Village


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12-Banpo Neolithic Village


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13-Banpo Neolithic Village


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14-Banpo Neolithic Village


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15-Banpo Neolithic Village


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35-Banpo Neolithic Village

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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