Tonglushan Ancient Bronze Mining and Smelting Site, located about 3 kilometers north of Daye county, was discovered in 1973 and is one of the oldest and most advanced of such sites in China. It was a major source of bronze during the late Shang Dynasty (16th century - 10th century BC) up through the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC - 2nd century AD). According to ancient records, the high, flat top of the mountain was so rich in minerals, that it sparkled with little specks of bronze when it rained. Hence, it has received the name Tonglushan, meaning "Patina Mountain", bringing to mind its colorfully shining rocks.
Since 1973, over 360 shafts and lanes and 7 smelting furnaces have been unearthed, with origins from the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century - 8th century BC) to the Western Han Dynasty (5th century to 2nd century BC). It is the best preserved and most complete mining and smelting site from ancient China, impressive also for having the longest time in operation, the highest smelting level and the largest scale known. It is becoming widely-regarded as another Chinese wonder after the Terra-Cotta Warriors.
From the spring of 1974 to the summer of 1985, staff from an archaeological institute, cooperating with workers from the production department of the mine, excavated scientifically and selectively. They explored hundreds of shafts and lanes supported by ancient wooden crossbeams, examined vertical bronze smelting furnaces and dug up countless production tools. Today, the Tonglushan mine is a nationally protected site, and exploration is forbidden in portions of it.
The Ancient Bronze Mining and Smelting Site of Tonglushan is second to none among mining relics all over the world. With a history of over 3000 years, it is a brilliant jewel of the ancient history of the Jiangnan Region, and a gem of world cultural heritage.