New oracle bone characters discovered in Liaoning

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-10-19 10:05:24

New oracle bone characters discovered in Liaoning

The oracle bone characters [File photo]

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Chinese archaeologists have discovered 34 new characters and glyphs from oracle bones housed in a museum in Lyushun, a city in northeast China's Liaoning province.

Song Zhenhao, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who is leading a team that has been researching the inscriptions since 2011, said on Thursday that the new findings are another breakthrough since such inscriptions were discovered over 110 years ago.

Inscriptions on tortoise shells and animal bones represent the original characters of the Chinese written language. They date back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC).

The new characters and glyphs, which involve names of nations, places, persons and sacrificial rituals, were found among a 1,800-piece collection of bone inscription relics in the Lyushun Museum.

Song said the team took rubbings from the text images of the 1,800 pieces and photographed them, which led to the characters being identified.

To date, archaeologists around the world have identified 4,000 bone inscription characters from studying 130,000 relics, but only half of the characters have been deciphered, he added.

Chinese characters constitute the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world. The graphic logograms of the characters convey both meaning and pronunciation.

Oracle bone inscriptions were first discovered in 1899 by Beijing academic and antiquarian Wang Yirong, although farmers had been unearthing the relics in Anyang, Henan province, for many years. Wang noticed symbols that looked like writing on animal bones and tortoise shells.

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