The Process of Historical Change
Xinjiang from Remote Antiquity up to the Spring and
Autumn Period and Warring States Period In recent years archaeologists have uncovered evidence of human
habitation in Xinjiang in as early as the Paleolithic age. In addition, large numbers of ruins and relics have been found all over the vast area of Xinjiang, which date back to Neolithic times 10,000. years ago up to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and the Warring States Period (476-221 B.C.). However, existing archaeological finds are still too few to enable us to construct a clear
picture of the human history of those ancient times. Today we can merely pick out several sites representative of different stages to give a general idea of the developments in the long course of Xinjiang's history.
Dating back 10,000 years, the sites of the Qijiaojing microlithic culture in eastern Xinjiang have provided important remains of the late Mesolithic Age or early Neolithic Age. They first attracted the attention of archaeologists at home and abroad back in the 1930s,
then after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, Chinese archaeologists paid many visits there, in an area of several square kilometers, they discovered six or seven spots rich in artifacts of the microlithic culture, excavating a number of boat-shaped, awl-like and cylindrical objects made of silica, quartz or chert, as well as stone arrowheads, drills and scrapers. At one of the sites close to Qijiaojing Village, the archaeologists felt as if they were touring an ancient masonry workshop, and in half a day they gathered nearly 1,000 stone artifacts. But they found no pottery at all, which
showed that the makers of the stone articles lived by hunting and
gathering. It is quite possible that Xinjiang's dry climate may have
helped to preserve these artifacts for so long.
The material and shapes of the microlithic stone objects
unearthed in the Qijiaojing ruins as well as the techniques used in making them show them to be of the same type as those discovered earlier in northern China. Obviously they are part of the same system of microlithic culture distributed over the northern and eastern parts of Asia as well as the northern and western parts of
America. They are very different from the type of microlithic cultures found in the southern and western parts of Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa.
Archaeologists have found 4,000-year-old remains of microlithic culture in the Lop Nur area, at a spot north of Astana in Turpan, west of the ancient city of Jiaohe, and on the east bank of the Mori River. The stone objects excavated in these places show more skill in their construction,


and several of the stone knives and spears
found are delicately modelled with regular shapes. Pottery was found in some of these ruins, indicating that the nomadic hunters had settled down and developed farming and livestock raising. Archaeologists at home and abroad have shown great interest in the ancient tombs and mummies unearthed in the past few years in the Lop Nur area. Dating back 3,800 years, all the mummies found
in the tombs wore pointed felt hats and leather shoes, and were wrapped in woolen blankets. A package of ephedra branches was placed on each person's chest, which might have had some religious or suchlike significance. Burial objects include wooden articles, straw baskets, ornamental beads made of jade, stone or bone, as well as stone arrowheads, and small bronze ornaments in a few
tombs. More household articles were discovered in tombs for women, and there were statues of women in some tombs. All this shows that the inhabitants of the Lop Nur wilderness lived in a primitive commune where.all members of the clan had equal social status, and women were especially respected. People lived mainly
by raising sheep and cattle and, hunting, but they planted wheat too. They used primitive vertical looms to weave woolen cloth and blankets with plain weave. Household handicrafts too began to develop, resulting in felt, straw objects, wooden and bone artifacts. From the eleventh to the third century B.C. the Zhou Dynasty in
central China rose and declined, petering out in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. For the inhabitants of Xinjiang, however, it was a time when they gradually turned from primitive society to a slave society. As class polarization developed,
the ancients living north and south of the Tianshan Mountains crossed the threshold of civilization.
A large number of ruins and relics representing this historical stage have been found in Lop Nur, Hotan, Hami and Ill, and have produced extensive finds of painted pottery artifacts and stone objects. Later tombs contain small bronzes too. Ironware appears together with painted pottery artifacts in sites dating from the Warring States Period and the Han Dynasty. This demonstrates that
the ancients built settlements in various parts of Xinjiang, and developed the land around river banks and in some major oases.It is interesting to note that while the unearthed painted pottery carries specific features of Xinjiang's local culture, it is quite similar
to that found in central and northwestern China in shape, decoration and technique. For instance, the common Xinjiang decorations of triangle, whirlpool and wave designs were influenced by the culture
of Gansu. The S-shaped design on the handle of painted pottery )ars found in Mori was also a popular Gansu pattern, while the pottery beads unearthed at Fish Gorge were molded in a style of central China. The similarity of pottery style is evidence of the mutual exchanges and influences between Xinjiang and Central China.
Ancient dwellings excavated in Turpan, Qitai and Jimsar have revealed that the residents in those times used painted pottery and articles and ornaments made of iron, gold and bronze. While engaging in livestock breeding, they also practiced farming on a considerable scale, and started wool-weaving, carpentry, pottery and
smelting crafts. Productivity was certainly advancing in this period.In the large ancient tombs built during the Warring States Period in what is today's Xinyuan Kanes and Alagou, a great number of gold, silver and bronze artifacts as well as fine pottery have been
unearthed. The gold and silver articles are engraved with vivid images of lions, tigers, bears and strange animals with wings. These finds indicate both improvement of technique and intensified class polarization at that time. As all production was the result of simple
manual labor, it would have been impossible for any one person to bury so many valuable gold, silver and bronze articles as funerary objects if he or she had not been a member of the ruling class possessing large numbers of slaves. It was precisely this slave labor
that created considerable quantities of exquisite gold, silver and bronze artifacts and ornaments.
In a number of excavations, such as those at Alagou, Wubu
and Lake Aydingkol, archaeologists found lacquerware, silks, embroideries and bronze mirrors brough~t in from Central China. In some tombs, they even picked up sea shells which had come all the way from the southeastern coast. These archaeological finds together with records in the ancient literature of the early Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.) give us a clear picture of the history of
Xinjiang in that period. The scenery and produce of Xinjiang have been recorded in a number of noted pre-Qin literary works such as The Classic of Mountains and Seas and The Memoirs of King Mu. The Memoirs of
King Mu tells the story of how King Mu of the Zhou Dynasty once toured Xinjiang where he met and exchanged gifts with Xiwangmu (the Queen Mother of the West), the leader of a primitive society there. This was a tale on everybody's-lips in Central China. All along the way, the story says, King Mu gave people sea shells as presents.
This may not be mere coincidence, judging by the sea shells found at ancient sites in Xinjiang.
All' this informs us that during the pre-Qin period, Xinjiang and Central China maintained broad and close ties. Silks, bronze mirrors and lacquerware were transported from Central China to Xinjiang,
which exported jade and other local products in exchange. In the 1970s, Chinese archaeologists excavated an ancient royal tomb at the Yin Ruins in Anyang City, in what is present Henan Province. The occupant of the tomb was Fu Hao, wife of King Wu Ding, who reigned 3,200 years ago in the Shang Dynasty (17th century-11th century B.C.). A total of 1,928 relics were found in the tomb, 756
of which were of jade. The Geological Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and experts from Beijing and Anyang jade workshops made a careful study of 300 unearthed jade specimens, and reported that "the jades were largely produced in Xinjiang~' That Xinjiang has carried on considerable economic and Cultural exchanges with other parts of China since antiquity is
evident. These circumstances in early history laid the foundation for Xinjiang to become part of the territory of China in the Han dynasty.

Becoming a Part of China
Xinjiang was officially included in the territory of China in the western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24). In 60 B.C., the Han dynasty assigned a Viceroy to the Western Region to take charge of Xiniiang including the area around Lake Balkash and the Pamirs. Unifying Central China in 206 B.C., the Western Hah Dynasty became a strong power. At that time the northern border of China was inhabited by the nomadic Xiongnu or Huns, who frequently swept south and harassed Central China. They also disturbed t