The Watch

Archaeological Site of the Palace of Nanyue Kingdom

Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
Did You Know?
Nanyue was a short-lived kingdom founded in southeast China by a military commander upon the collapse of the Qin Dynasty at the end of the third century BC.
A Closer Look

Archaeological Site of the Palace of Nanyue Kingdom

Nanyue was a short-lived kingdom founded in southeast China by a military commander upon the collapse of the Qin Dynasty at the end of the third century B.C. During the century that followed, Nanyue coexisted with the stronger Han state to the north, but antagonisms were frequent and the rebellious kingdom was subdued in 111 B.C. when the Han captured its capital. It served again as the capital of the sovereign Southern Han kingdom in 917-71, and this city, now modern Guangzhou, has remained the seat of provincial governments to this day. The remains of the Palace of the Nanyue Kingdom have been studied since the late 1990s, under the commercial center of the growing contemporary city and through layers of civilization from the last 2,000 years. While only an estimated one-tenth of the site has been uncovered, the ruins have shed new light on ancient city planning, urban development, and imperial history. Relics from thirteen dynasties and the remains of the earliest known royal garden in China have been discovered, but preservation proves difficult in the humid subtropical climate. Despite its importance, like many urban archaeological sites throughout the world, conservation and interpretation are further challenged by the dense city surroundings and other land use interests. The Palace of the Nanyue Kingdom presents an important opportunity for balancing concerns and integrating this rediscovered cultural resource into the fabric and life of the Guangzhou community.

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