Chinese archaeologists have discovered a 6,000-year-old pentagon house, first of its kind in north China's Shanxi Province, which is believed to be a tribal meeting hall or a leader's office. The semi-subterranean house, discovered at the Neolithic ruins at Taoyuan village covered a total area of 90 square meters, with surviving walls reaching a maximum of 50 cm, said Xue Xinming, a researcher with Shanxi provincial institute of archaeology. The walls were painted with a mixture of grass and mud inside and several holes were also found where wooden pillars were located to support the house and walls, Xue said. A cylinder-shaped fireplace was also found underground in the house, which ancient people used for heating, cooking and lighting. The pentagonal building was rare for that period as the prehistoric people only built structures larger than 80 square meters in the shape, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. "Such a big building perhaps was an office for a tribe leader or a public venue for meetings or worship ceremonies of a major tribe," he said. Previously, a dozen prehistoric pentagonal buildings had been found in China, mainly located in Lingbao City, Henan Province. The discovery is part of findings from an excavation that began in August in Taoyuan, a village in Jiade Township of Linfen's Yaodu District, to prepare for highway construction in the area, said Zheng Yuan, excavation team leader of the project, the report said. Zheng said the total excavation area is 2,500 square meters, and aside from four house ruins, they have also discovered ruins of a pottery kiln and unearthed a variety of pottery pieces. The excavation is important for researching society and life in the Miaodigou Culture, the most powerful period in prehistoric China, which was centered around the provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Henan, she said.
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