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Ancient altar to the sun discovered in Xinjiang
2017-06-23 source:Global Times
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A 3,000-year-old altar discovered on the Bayanbulak Grasslands in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region during a scientific survey may represent an ancient prairie culture that once existed in the area, experts announced on Tuesday, according to a Guangming Daily report.

Consisting of three concentric circles created from numerous football-sized stones, the giant ruins are believed by experts to be an ancient altar dedicated to sun worship.

From smallest to largest, the three circles are 50, 71 and 100 meters in diameter, showing a progression ratio roughly equal to the square root of two.

"It's really hard to believe that this is something that happened by chance," Wu Xinhua, head of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Archaeological Team from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in the announcement.

"But if it was planned, then the builders most likely had at one time been influenced by Central Plain cultures," said Wu, pointing out that the altar is very similar to altars dating from the same period of time discovered in the Central Plain area along the lower reaches of the Yellow River.

Discovered by a Chinese scientific expedition team exploring the section of the ancient Silk Road near the Tianshan Mountains in 2016, the site is believed by experts to represent the ancient Khirigsuur Archaeological Culture - a Bronze Age culture whose relics are often discovered near the Altay Mountains, the Tianshan Mountains and the western part of the Mongolian Plateau.

Moreover, Wu remarked that altar's like the one in Xinjiang might be a precursor to the obo, sacred stone heaps that act as altars in traditional Mongolian religious practices.