The 2000 sq. meter Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum is a small museum hidden away in a gargantuan modern shopping complex. Nevertheless, it is one of the many sites of vital significance to Beijing Cities' history. It is one of only a few stone age finds within North-East China, giving significant information on the early inhabitation of this area of the North China Plain.
Uncovered during the excavation of the basements of the oriental plaza complex in 1996 AD, the Wanfujing Old Stone Age Site equals the Peking Man Site far outside Beijing at ZhouKouDian on the southern border with Hebei Province in significance to the Paleolithic History of the Beijing Area. Only recently a third find was made in the Beijing Area, at
Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum
The Old Stone Age Find & The Museum Exposition
East Flank of Oriental Plaza the Malls
Opening Hours of the Exhibition -
Opened in February of 2002 ,The Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum welcomes visitors , week-days between 10:00 AM and 16:30 PM.
The closed front of the Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum main entrance in the basement of Oriental Plaza Shopping Mall. Right leads outside to East Chang An Avenue. Left leads way into Oriental Plaza Malls.
The Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum main entrance during opening hours.
Giant depiction of this very spot in Beijing during the bone and stone age some 25.000 years ago. The earliest Chinese Ancestors in the area after Peking Man at their encampment near a River, now a basement at Oriental Plaza Beijing.
Earliest known Beijing inhabitant after Peking Man.
At Oriental Plaza the Malls a new kind of Beijing can be seen and experienced. This humonguos shopping mall was built and known as Beijing's Millenium Masterpiece and was opened accordingly around the start of the Year 2000.
Located at both Dong Chang An Jie' and Wanfujing Jie' (street) the Oriental Plaza is the Centre of the Hip, modern and excruciatingly expensive. It is home to the Hyatt Oriental Plaza Hotel as well as business offices and appartments.
Enjoy a visit to Dollar-Walhalla and modern Chinese happiness. Although shopping malls are now more and more common in economically succesful Beijing, the Oriental Plaza stands at the very Top of Shopping in the very Centre of Beijing.
"The Mystery of Chinese Ancient Mankind"
( No longer available )
Donghulin Village in Zaitang County of the Mentougou District, a location in the western Hills. At this latest location known locally as the cemetery hill, a complete skeleton was excavated. Together, the three old and new stone age finds provide unique insights into the lifestyles and development of early humans in the area of Beijing.
and walk directly inside through the entrance to the subway station, or enter take the alternative route through the Oriental Plaza side-entrance at Wanfujing Street, and take the first automatic stairways you come across to head down to the basements. The Wanfujing Paleolithic Site is 3 levels down and cannot be missed taking either route.
History and Backgrounds on the Wanfujing Paleolithic Site
and Museum -
In December 1996, during excavations to lay the groundworks for the Millenium Masterpiece of Beijing , as Oriental Plaza was known during its construction, ancient fossilized remains were found. These included stone arrow heads, bone darts or hooks and some fragments of human remains After careful examination
Source short article on the Wanfujing Paleolithic Site from Beijing Today, by Guo Yuandan.
by experts from Beijing Universities' Archeological Department it turned out this was the greatest archeologic find of the Paleolithic Era in Beijing since the finding of the Peking Man in the 1920's. Some 11 to 12 meters down the digging machines had inadvertently exposed an early chinese encampment on the banks of a river. Immediatly the scientists went to work.
Oriental Plaza currently houses three museums. First the Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum in its Basement, another is the Sony ExploraScience Museum, located on ground level directly above the Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum. Last is the Museum of Treasured Antiques.
The collection of artifacts clearly told a story.
In short - at this very location , some 25.000 years ago according to the carbon dating method, a group of early chinese men and women set up a temporary encampment on this convenient spot overlooking a river. Traces in the soil tell of wood fires for cooking. Artifacts found show how early chinese man was a
hunter-gatherer but also a fisherman. Bone fishing hooks found on site are proof of one method of catching fish.
There is no evidence of a permanent village and no remnants of housing were found. Bone fragments from large animals proof the life-style of the time in the Beijing Area was still largely nomadic and mankind had to follow opportunities rather than create them.
The Discovery of Peking Man in the 1920's AD was a revelation in the early history of Chinese ancestors. The Wanfujing Paleolithic
Site, dating back to around 24 to 25.000 years ago, fills in another knowledge gap of this early era. In all, the excavations of the Wanfujing find spanned 8 months, during which 2000 objects, including pottery shards, stone hammers, primitive stone knives and animal fossils were uncovered. From these, many aspects of the daily life of Old Stone Age (200.000 AD to 10.000 AD) chinese man, now named the Xing Long Wa Culture, could be reconstructed.
Ticket annex Souvenir Postcard of the Tiny Museum.
A helpful Map of Hebei Province including the Zhoukoudian location of the Peking Man Site.
Go around to Oriental Plaza's Basements for a visit to the Museum and have a peek back far back in Beijing History. Part of the original archeological digpit has been
A Map of the Legation Quarter including Oriental Plaza and Dong Chang An Avenue.
Alternative Map of Area -
How to Get There - The Easiest Directions to the Paleolithic Site are as follows. Naturally, first go the location of the Giant Oriental Plaza Complex. It is easy to find on the North Side of the Eastern Section of Chang An Avenue and flanking Wanfujing Street to the East. From the corner of Wanfujing Street and East Chang An Avenue, either head around the front side on Chang An Avenue
reconstructed as it was, and is on display inside the Museum. A small selection of original artifacts out of the over 2000 objects found on site are on display, explaining the situation as it was those 25.000 years ago. In all honesty however, there is not that much to view. Possibly, the Wanfujing Paleolithic Museum is the smallest and most modest museum in the City. Most artifacts found on site during the excavations have been distributed to Universities and their departments to be studied, or have been moved to the collections of the National Museum of History at TiananMen Square.
If you are a stone age buff, consider your visit to the Wanfujing Museum as merely symbolic, and appetizer for the better sites of Peking Man and Donghulin Village in the Beijing outer suburbs.