Bone lamellae of crocodiles discovered in the Ruins of Haojing, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province. [Photo: xiancn.com]
A total of 12 bone lamellae of crocodile were discovered in the Ruins of Haojing, which was part of the capital of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1066-770 BCE), in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, according to the news released on January 11th by Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology(SPIA).
The excavation of the Ruins of Haojing, located in the northwest of Chang'an District of Xi'an, dated back to 1930s. In 2016, SPIA, for the first time, discovered 12 crocodile bone lamellae, reports CCTV.
Bone lamellae is a thin plate-like structure, often one among many lamellae very close to one another, with open space between and commonly found in reptiles.
Those bone lamellae found are puce, some are quadrate and some are round, with cellular holes on the surface. "Each bone lamella is as big as a mahjong tile, our archaeological experts thought they were crocodile bones at first sight." explains Yue Lianjian, researcher of SPIA.
"The discovery provides important materials for the study of the ecological distribution of crocodiles in the Western Zhou Dynasty." Yue added.
Pottery kilns discovered in the Ruins of Haojing, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province. [Photo: xiancn.com]
As a kind of cold blooded aquatic animal, crocodiles are one of the earliest and most primitive animals still in existence. "Besides a few of them living in the Temperate Zone, most crocodiles live in rivers, lakes or marsh in tropical or sub-tropical areas. Thus we predict that large water areas or lakes might have existed in the southeast of Haojing during the Western Zhou Dynasty." Yue pointed out.
Also, experts have deduced that people might raise crocodiles during the Western Zhou Dynasty to make Tuogu, an ancient drum, with crocodile skin. Before, Tuogu made of crocodile skin was discovered as well, CCTV reported.
Together with the crocodile bones, many other utensils were also discovered, like ancient pottery, stone and bronze implements, etc., as well as ten tombs, two pottery kilns and four wells.