Banpo Village, inhabited long before the glories of the various emperors that made Xi'an home, was discovered in 1953. The village is the earliest example of the Neolithic Yangshao culture that's renowned for its colourful ceramics. These ceramics feature etchings that are possibly an early form of writing. The 6,000-year-old site east of Xi'an dates back to 4500 BC. The site itself is made up of 45 houses and buildings, 250 adult graves, 73 children's burial urns, six pottery kilns divided into three separate residential, grave and manufacturing areas. The villagers cultivated various crops, domesticated pigs and dogs, fished in the nearby Wei River and manufactured ceramics.
Some archaeologists have argued that Banpo represents a matriarchal society, though the supporting evidence remains vague. The site has been a treasure trove of artifacts though with over 8,000 pieces having been unearthed with some of the most interesting artifacts being the children's burial urns. Children weren't buried with the adults, but placed in burial urns which were buried close to homes. The lids on the urns have a hole in the top in order for the spirits of the deceased to travel to the afterworld.
The Banpo site is made up of two parts, the Neolithic Village and the Matriarchal Village.