A group of academic experts may have found evidence that pushes back the origins of Chinese characters by about 1,000 years, Global Times reports.
The evidence in question is shards of pottery and stone vessels that were found in Zhejiang Province between 2003 and 2006. At a conference this past weekend in Zhejiang, archaeologists and linguists concluded that the symbols found on the pieces of pottery are the earliest known Chinese characters.
Li Boqian, an archeology professor from Peking University, told the Global Times “that the combination pattern of the symbols shows that people in the Liangzhu civilization [from which the pottery originated] had already developed the basic structure of sentences from independent words.”
The current consensus is that Chinese writing first originated around 3,600 years ago with oracle bones in the Shang dynasty.
Some do not necessarily agree with the conclusion reached by the academics.
“These symbols may have some language features, but it is too hasty to compare it with the systematic language on oracle bone script”, Wang Jianjun, philology doctor at the Historical Institute of Zhengzhou University told China.org.cn.
Liu Zhao, an archaeologist at Fudan University, Shanghai, told the Guardian: “I don’t think they should be considered writing by the strictest definition. We do not have enough material to pin down the stage of those markings in the history of ancient writings.”
[Image credit: Xinhua]