The Japan Times, March 31, 1998
3,500-year-old Chinese script found on bones
BEIJING (Reuters) Chinese archaeologists have dug up 3,500-year-old sheep bones bearing the oldest known examples of Chinese writing, the state Xinhua news agency reported Sunday.
Eight inscriptions were carved crudely and deeply into two bones found in a pit at a sacrificial site in China's eastern Shandong Province, Xinhua said.
Experts recognized only two of the primitive characters — one meaning "six" and the other "divination."
Chinese bone inscriptions, along with Egyptian hieroglyphics, are among the most ancient writing forms in the world. But unlike hieroglyphics, the inscriptions survive to this day in a more refined and complex form.
The earliest bone inscriptions previously found — in central Henan Province — dated back 3,200 years to the late Shang Dynasty, Xinhua said.
More than 360 relics were found in the Shandong pit, including pottery and stone, bone, horn and shell pieces.