In the Yellow River valley, Banpo Village Ruins is a typical representation of the Neolithic Yangshao Agricultural Village. The ruins date back 5600—6700 years. It is the earliest known agricultural village in China. The term "Yangshao culture" is used because the first example was found near Yangshao Village. The oldest Yangshao-type village is Banpo. The Banpo Village Ruins were discovered in 1953 with a 50000 sq. meter built-up area. From 1954 to 1957, the Institute of Archaeology of Chinese Science Academy organized five excavations, which obtained a great deal of precious relics. The excavations uncovered 45 houses or other buildings, 2 enclosed sheds, over 200 storage cellars, 6 pottery kilns, 250 graves ( including 73 for dead children ) and over 10,000 pieces of productive tools and apparatus . In 1958, a large hall was built over the ruins, which is the first museum for exhibiting the historic materials. The hall provides us precious and indispensable evidence to our study of the people of that period. The exhibition hall has had over 20 million visitors since it opened to the public on 1st April, 1958.
The Banpo Ruins are divided into three areas: a residential area, a pottery manufacturing area and a cemetery. with the residential area being the body the ruins.
The Banpo people, who lived during the Neolithic period, used wooden or stone tools in their time. The women were the dominant force in that society; they took responsibility in pottery manufacturing, weaving, raising poultry and the many household chores. The men were responsible for the job of hunting and fishing and bringing home the food to feed the family.
The Banpo Ruins relates to visitors the history of the ancient Chinese people with genuine artifacts from that period.
The museum measures about 4500 sq. meter, consisting of relics display room, a ruins room and accessorial room. Most of the relics are displayed in the first and second rooms. The displayed materials are classified and categorized into stone, bone and pottery. The relics include production tools, apparatus, arts, etc.
The accessorial room is for themed exhibitions of the historical items. In this museum, there is a great deal of colored pottery. Much of this pottery of plates, pots, earthen bowls, etc is with mystic and various drawings of the time.
The ruins, once part of the residential area in the Neolithic age, occupies around 3000 sq. meter.
The ruins offer the visitors a vivid picture of the prehistoric village. The earlier houses are half underground, in contrast to the later houses which stand on ground level and have a wooden framework. The residential part of the village is surrounded by an artificial moat, 300 meters long, about 2 meters deep and 2 meters wide.
The moat protected the village from attacks by wild animals and from the effects of heavy rainfall in what was originally a hot and humid environment.
In the ruins lies the cemetery where the adult dead were buried along with burial objects such as earthen pots. Some pots were used to place bones in them and were covered with lid. On those pots, there is a belief, which it is said to the passage for the dead people's soul.
There are many other storage cellars and warehouses in the ruins.