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exhibits at the Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial MuseumThe Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum is located inside the Lantian Yuanren Relic Site. This site and museum is the best place to visit if you want to learn more about Lantian Man, one humanoid ancestor of ours that is unfortunately barely known outside of the archeological community. Most people in China and throughout the world have however heard of Peking Man. Even though Peking Man is much more famous and was discovered much earlier, the remains of Lantian Man that were discovered in the 1960s are actually much older. Both Homo erectus types taught humanity a lot about the way these hominids lived in the area that is now China during prehistoric times.
Just like Peking Man has been so named due to the geographical proximity of the Peking Man Site to Beijing, Lantian Man was named after the geographical location of Lantian County which lies about 50km to the east of the city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province. There, human fossils that have been dated to the early paleolithic age were discovered during excavations at the Chenjiawo Site and the Gongwangling Site. In fact, the Chenjiawo Site and the Gongwangling Site are located only about 10km away from each other (see the spots marked CJW and GWL on this map). That's why they are often classified together as the Lantian Man Site(s) in scientific papers. The Lantian Yuanren Relic Site that is marked in maps though (like in the Google map further below on this page) is the official name of the tourism site that was opened to the public at the location of the prehistoric Gongwangling relic site. Its main attraction is the Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum which can currently still be visited for free.
humanoid lower jaw (mandible) that was unearthed at the Chenjiawo Site in 1963However, the number of tourists that annually find their way to this remote spot in the countryside near Gongwang village is still quite low. Most of the few visitors that make it here each day do so on a day trip from Xi'an. However, the Lantian Yuanren Relic Site can also be conveniently reached by car on a day trip from Huayin. That small city also lies to the east of Xi'an and to the north of Lantian County. This is where many tourists stay for a few days to explore Mount Hua and the Huashan National Park. Another prehistoric site of paramount importance, the Xihoudu Site in Ruicheng County (Shanxi province), can also be reached by car within an hour from Huayin.
So what were the human fossils that were discovered at the Chenjiawo Site and the Gongwangling Site? At the Chenjiawo Site, the single humanoid fossil that was unearthed during excavations in September 1963 was the mandible of an older female. It is believed to be somewhere between 500,000 and 650,000 years old. In the scientific community, this single lower jaw that was found is sometimes also referred to as Chenjiawo man.
reproduction of the cranium that was unearthed at the Gongwangling Site in 1964The only other Lantian Man fossils that were ever discovered are a cranium, nasal bones, a right maxilla and three molars. These were all discovered at the Gongwangling Site in May 1964 and are believed to have belonged to a middle-aged female. According to fairly recent retesting of these remains, the cranium is now believed to be somewhere between 1.62 and 1.63 million years old. That makes it the oldest human fossil that was ever found in the northern part of Asia. As a subspecies of Homo erectus, Gongwangling man that lived in this part of Asia such an eternity ago was able to make and use rough stone tools. About 200 such stone artifacts were found at the Gongwangling Site as well. Ash that was found at the site also indicates that these humanoid ancestors of ours were able to use fire. Nevertheless, the small brain volume of the Gongwangling skull of only 780ml shows that these archaic humans were still quite primitive.
Public exhibition of some of the discovered human and animal fossils as well as stone artifacts already began at the Gongwangling Site in 1979. Back then, it was mostly scholars who came for a visit. The number of visiting tourists has since then increased though, especially since the opening of the Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum in July 2012. The site occupies a fairly small area of only 13,058 square meters though and a visit typically takes about an hour. There are four different areas to visit, an Indoor Exhibition Area, a Garden Leisure Area and two exhibition areas for the Gongwangling Site and the Chenjiawo Site. In the Garden Leisure Area, visitors will come across a hexagonal stele pavilion in the style of traditional Chinese architecture. The large stele that stands in the middle of this pavilion is crowned by a modern bust that attempts to recreate Lantian Man's appearance.
Altogether, there are only about 200 exhibits on display at the Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum. Besides the human fossils, these include about 30 animal fossils from such animals like giant pandas, wild boars, saber-toothed tigers etc. The exhibited stone tools that Lantian Man once used are comprised of scrapers, choppers, pointed objects, stone chips and stone balls. Lantian Man once used the various displayed choppers of different sizes as tools for cutting and smashing things. Scrapers were used to strip animal skins and to scrape wooden sticks and their blades come in different forms.
In 2018, another archeological site in Lantian County made headlines due to the discovery of ancient stone tools in sediment layers that date as far back as 2.12 million years. This new site is located just about three miles to the north of the Gongwangling Site and it is now known as the Shangchen Site. Along with the Heitugou Site in the Nihewan Basin, it is a prime candidate for eventually yielding human fossils that are older than the 1.63 to 1.64-million-years-old teeth that were found at the Yuanmou Man Site in the south of China and perhaps even older than the 1.81-million-years-old skeletal remains that were discovered at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia.mosaic image that shows some of the sights of the Lantian Yuanren Relic Site
How to get to the Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum?
|Address:||Lantian Yuanren Relic Site, Gongwang Mountain, Lantian County, Shaanxi Province, China|
|Tel.Nr.:||+86 29 8297 1807|
|Airport:||Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (XIY)|
|Train Station:||Xi'an Railway Station, Xi'an North Railway Station, Xi'an South Railway Station|
|Bus:||bus line from Xi'an East Coach Station: 904|
On the following Google map, you can see the location of the Lantian Yuanren Relic Site (the blue icon). The Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum is the relic site's main attraction. Zoom out of the map to see the location of the Angsana Xi'an Lintong Hotel and the Wyndham Grand Xian Residence (the yellow hotel bed icons) which are our recommended hotels whose services and amenities are reviewed further down on this page. In case you are planning a trip to China, you could support this website by using the provided affiliate links to check prices and book your hotel accomodation!
You can book hotels in China with both of our affiliate partners Agoda and Trip.com. No matter whether you choose Agoda or Trip.com, you will find many offers on each of these platforms that will allow you to make a risk-free booking with the possibility of free cancellation until a clearly stated date and time, sometimes as late as on the intended date of arrival. However, some deals require prepayment and don't permit cancellation without fees. In that case, the incurred cancellation fees are clearly stated.
When following an Agoda link, the search results will show you prices, availability and special offers for your chosen dates with the recommended hotel in the top search position as well as for other hotels in the same area. Links to Trip.com will take you to the specific hotel webpage where you can then search for availability, prices and special deals with your chosen dates.
The provided information was thoroughly researched from various hotel booking websites. Chinese History Digest is not responsible if any information regarding the provided services and amenities might have changed.
Recommended Hotel near the Lantian Yuanren Relic Site
The Angsana Xi'an Lintong Hotel that is reviewed below is the closest 5-star hotel to the Lantian Yuanren Relic Site. By car, it only takes a bit more than an hour to drive from this luxurious hotel near Xi'an to this location of the Lantian Yuanren Site Memorial Museum in Lantian County. Almost the entire route is on a highway. In addition to the links to Agoda that are used in the review below, the Angsana Xi'an Lintong Hotel is also available for booking on Trip.com by following this link.
The Angsana Xi'an Lintong Hotel is about a 40 - 50 minute drive away from the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport and the hotel can arrange airport transfer (for an additional charge). It is the only 5-star hotel within relatively close proximity of Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum (which includes the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses). Guests of this luxurious resort that opened in 2014 only need about 15 minutes by car, taxi or shuttle bus to reach this world-famous sight. Since the hotel rents bicycles, guests could even combine their tourist visits within the green and relatively unpolluted Lintong area with some physical exercise. Besides being close to the Terracotta Warriors, the Angsana Xi'an Lintong Hotel is also just a 5 - 10 minute walk away from two other sights that history buffs shouldn't miss, the beautiful Huaqing Palace as well as the Lintong Museum.
All rooms of the hotel are air-conditioned, have a terrace/balcony and contain a refrigerator, satellite TV, safe box, a DVD/CD player and a minibar. Both smoking and non-smoking rooms exist and can be requested. Laundry service (including dry cleaning) and luggage storage are available. Room service is available 24/7 and free bottled water is provided. Free internet access is not only available through Wi-Fi but also LAN cable in the rooms. The hotel has a breakfast buffet and its two restaurants offer Chinese and international cuisine. For exercise, guests have access to a swimming pool, tennis court and a fitness center. There are also many ways to relax at the Angsana Xi'an Lintong Hotel, such as at the hotel's spa, hot spring bath, by having a massage or outside at the hotel's garden.
about 39 miles away from the Lantian Man SiteCheck availability & prices!
Recommended Hotel at Xi'an's cultural center
The Wyndham Grand Xian Residence that is reviewed below is located only 470 meters away from the Tang Paradise Theme Park. Many other famous sights of Xi'an are located quite close to this modern 5-star hotel as well. In addition to the links to Agoda that are used in the review below, this hotel is also available for booking on Trip.com by following this link.
The Wyndham Grand Xian Residence is a 5-star hotel that was built in 2014 at the cultural heart of Xi'an within close walking distance of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (510 meters away), Daci'en Temple (520m), Tang Paradise Theme Park (470m) and Shaanxi History Museum (1.5km). Xi'an's city center lies about 9km away from the Wyndham Grand Xian Residence. Access to the neighborhoods around the hotel is facilitated through a convenient shuttle service. Free parking is available outside the hotel which also provides a taxi service. Access to public transportation is convenient as well since the Dayanta Metro Station only lies about 1.7km away. Transportation to and from the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is available (for an additional fee) and can be requested along with the online room reservation.
The Wyndham Grand Xian Residence has a total of 194 rooms which range in size from studio rooms for single travelers up to large apartments with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens. All rooms are both heated and air-conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen LCD TV, refrigerator, minibar and safe. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms and free bottled water and complimentary tea are provided. Smoking is however only allowed in certain designated areas of the hotel (so not inside the rooms)! Laundry service (including dry cleaning) and luggage storage are available. Most room rates already include buffet breakfast which can also be purchased separately for 168 yuan if not included. The hotel's on-site restaurant specializes in local & international cusine and there is also a bar on the premises. For exercise, the hotel has a fully-equipped fitness center, a jogging track and an indoor swimming pool. For relaxation, guests can use the hotel's spa, jacuzzi, sauna and steamroom or book a massage.
about 42 miles away from the Lantian Man SiteCheck availability & prices!