餵兔子的陶盆——考古隊與丁公村

:::

1993 / 7月

文‧陳淑美 圖‧張良綱


原本寂靜的農村,進駐了一群大學考古隊師生後,馬路修起,樓房蓋起,莊稼有些損失,而原來餵兔子、種花、當油罐的陶器,怎麼都說是寶貝,全被收走了……?


炙熱的豔陽下,丁公村民「老董」,正在遺址內鏟土。雖然頂著一隻大草帽,斗大的汗珠仍然爬在臉上。

「挖遺址跟種莊稼有何不同?」遠來的訪客沒頭沒腦地問道。老董嚇了一跳,隨即很「見過世面」地,慢條斯理地答道:「沒啥不同。」沉吟了一下,又說:「挖遺址仔細些。」

跟其他在考古工地上農民一樣,老董也是山東大學考古隊在丁公村所雇的「民工」,每人每天的工資兩塊五人民幣,「比種莊稼還合算」,老董說:「這兒的莊稼不值錢,大麥一斤四毛,玉米一斤三毛五。」

挖寶貝的「老師」

山東大學考古隊的主力是一批又一批的學生,年年換過,每個來到工地的大學生空有理論基礎,就缺實際操作經驗。此時,教導他們的,就是這些年年日日在工地上忙碌的民工了。

民工的考古知識當然也是老師教的。方輝老師有些得意地介紹,「民工會鏟土、不會弄碎遺址內的器物,還會看地質。」

不遠處的老董正在跟訪客介紹遺址內的地層關係,哪些是古代的文化層,哪些是五十年代打的地瓜窖,那些又是現代的山藥溝。

民工跟考古隊員們每天工作在一起,不管老師學生,一律以「老師」相稱,私底下也知道老師們並非閒來沒事來亂挖,「都是來挖寶貝的」,一名民工好像在透露秘密。

「曉不曉得這兒出土了大寶貝?」訪客又問。「知道,但要保密」,回答的人還是老董,似乎只有他最願意回話。「不懂的人,告訴他們反而壞事!」

壞什麼事?文物剽竊?或到工地盜挖?聽說同學們到村裡做文物普查時,鄉民們總傳說:「買古董的又來了。」同學們也發現了一些古代文物,村民卻拒絕交出,直納悶:莫非,文物販子已經遊走到這兒?

建樓修路為那樁?

考古隊與當地農民的關係,的確很密切。除工作在一起的民工外,平常生活所需——到村裡挑水,小店裡買針線、零嘴,乃至買米買菜,都要仰仗農民。工作站裡,煮飯的師傅,也是當地雇來的。

若說考古隊給苑城鄉,特別是丁公村帶來了活力,並不為過。但相對的,農民也付出許多。

為保存挖出的文物,也為學生們生活方便,一九八九年鄉裡頭提供了十畝地,集資卅萬元人民幣,為考古隊蓋了一棟三層樓房。學生們吃住、做文物清理都在那兒,鄉民們稱之為「考古樓」。

丁公村離苑城鄉約兩公里,每逢下雨或下雪,道路泥濘難行,鄉領導看到師生們來回奔波,於是投資十萬元,特別為師生們修一條通往丁公的瀝青路,這是鄉裡第一條柏油路,鄉民們稱為「考古路」。

這些建房或蓋路的資金,不曉得農村幹部們如何去籌?根據鄉裡的領導說,這是鄉民們為了體諒同學們辛勞,也感念保存文物的重要。

「蓋考古樓、修路比蓋鄉鎮企業重要」,縣裡來的領導也如是說。可是籌集這麼多錢,從農民身上攤派了多少?鄉領導都說,農民樂意捐獻,沒什麼抱怨。訪客想到的是,一向沈默地承受一切的農民。

誰擔耽誤莊稼之責?

鄉民們為考古的「奉獻」,還不僅於此。

丁公在發現遺址前,有二百多間房、卅戶的人住在上頭。發現遺址後,村裡的幹部便不讓農民在遺址上蓋新房,現存的房子住戶也要陸續遷出,如今已遷出十餘戶、廿餘間,目前在挖掘的遺址上,已看不見民房。

遺址上不准有房子,但在還沒挖掘的土地上,仍可以種莊稼。只是另有但書——村裡的幹部根據「文物法」的規定,不准農民在遺址上打井、挖渠、深翻土地,否則要罰。

被徵用的土地,據老師們說,「國家」也賠償經濟損失。蔬菜一畝地一千元,大麥五百到四百元,「隨行就市」,隨當時的市價而定。這樣的賠償,當然讓農民吃虧,因此,只要是遺址所碰到的田地,考古隊就請地主來幹活。

考古隊在丁公村的挖掘,其實已深深影響莊稼生長。方輝老師說,三百多畝地,打探眼十萬多個,「將田地打得像蜂窩一樣」,他形容。說起這些,原本非常親和的方老師變得非常嚴肅,很慚愧的樣子。

方老師說,他能做的只是加緊挖掘,了解遺址的各種問題後,趕緊回填土地,讓農民種莊稼,「最多只能耽誤一季」,方老師說,只是土地在挖掘後,即使回填,耕作層摻上生土,地力往往大不如前。「比較一下以前種跟以後種的莊稼,長出來的樣子,怎麼也不一樣了」,方輝說。

餵兔子的商代陶盆

談及挖掘耽誤莊稼的事情,師生們都很抱歉。但還有更令人遺憾的事。

學生們做文物普查時,在鄉裡頭到處轉,常常發現大好的文物沒被好好地珍惜。一只西周刻著細膩繩紋的陶罐,弄得髒兮兮,被拿來放雞蛋。西周的陶鬲底打個洞,種花時讓水可以流出。商代末期的陶盆,挖個缺口,拿來放食物餵兔子;還有當油罐的,找到時,陶底內還有濃濃的油垢。

這些器物目前都追討回來了,保存在工作站內。學生們笑說,這實在不能怪農民,因為他們並不知道這些文物的重要性,這是典型的「古為今用」。

考古隊的師生當然希望農民們能更了解、珍惜文物,就像「老董」會解釋地質關係一樣,有朝一日,保護這些器物的意義能為大家所知。至少,它的作用,不是僅及於餵兔子。

〔圖片說明〕

P.36

就是這位姑娘將文字陶片清理出來,旁立的是她的父親「老董」。

P.37

(右)看來神秘的遺址,不時有村民來此探看。

P.38

絲瓜田下可有古文化層?光是肉眼可看不出來。

P.39

西周的鬲被居民拿來種花。繩紋到底、有卷沿、檔部有弧度為其特徵。

P.39

商晚期到西周年間的陶罐拿來放雞蛋,主意不錯,但萬一打破了,代價卻很昂貴。

P.40

陪著訪客到「考古樓」的有歷史系的老師、縣長、台辦、鄉裡的領導同志等,坐滿兩部大轎車。

P.41

兩年前的這個探溝下,文字陶片出土了。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Hare-Raising Pottery Tales--Archaelogy in Dinggong Village

JacKie Chen /photos courtesy of Vincent Chang /tr. by Phil Newell

What happens to a placid rural setting when a gaggle of archaeologists and their students take up residence? The roads get repaired and buildings go up, and there is some damage to the crops. And how is it all those porcelain items that had been used as rabbit feeders, flower pots, and oil cans have been taken away?


Under a blazing sun, "Old Dong," a resident of Dinggong Village, is shoveling at the former site of a structure. Though he is capped with a straw hat, pearls of sweat still bead on his forehead.

"What's the difference between planting crops and digging at an archaeological site?" inquires an unthinking visitor. Old Dong is startled for a second, then looks disgusted at the foolishness of the query. He slowly replies, "No difference." He ponders for half a beat, then adds: "You have to be a little more careful digging up old sites."

Like the other farmers at the scene, Old Dong is also a "civilian worker" employed by the Shandong University archaeological team in Dinggong. Each receives a daily wage of RMB 2.50, "which really pays compared to planting crops." Old Dong concludes: "Farming here isn't worth the money, because you get only RMB 0.40 for a pound of wheat and RMB 0.35 for a pound of corn."

Teachers who dig up babies:

The main force of the Shandong archaeological team is group after group of students, who change year by year. Each of them comes equipped only with a theoretical foundation, but without any practical experience. At this time, it's up to the "civilian workers," who are at the site day in and day out, year in and year out, to guide and instruct them.

Of course the archaeological knowledge of the civilian workers was taught to them by an academic. Instructor Fang Hui says, not without a touch of pride, "The civilian workers can dig without breaking the items at the site, and they can even judge geology."

Not far away, Old Dong is introducing the relationship of the layers of soil to a visitor--which ones are layers of ancient culture, which are yam pits dug in the 1950s, and which are modern rows cut for planting.

The civilian workers and the archaeological team members labor side by side; the former call the latter "teacher," regardless of whether they be instructors or students. Privately the local people know that the "teachers" do not come here just to tear up the ground because they have nothing better to do. "They are digging up precious things," says one civilian worker, as if revealing a secret.

"Do you know that precious objects have been found here?" asks the visitor. "We know, but it's secret." The respondent is still Old Dong, and it seems he is the only one willing to field questions. "It would be a bad idea to tell people who really don't understand."

What would be bad about it? Are they afraid of cultural bandits? Or thieves who might come to the site to dig? It has been said that when the students came to the village to do a survey of cultural artifacts, the villagers whispered amongst themselves that "the antique buyers are back again." The students also discovered that the villagers were not willing to turn over some ancient artifacts. Could it be that the artifact dealers had already been through here?

Long-suffering peasants:

The relations between the dig team and the local farmers are close indeed. Besides always being with the civilians who work with them, team members go to the village to procure the daily necessities--drawing water, buying needles and thread or snacks, and buying rice and vegetables. The chef who makes meals at the work station is also from the area.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the archaeological team has brought Yuancheng district, and especially the sleepy village of Dinggong, to life. But, correspondingly, the farmers have had to give up a great deal.

In order to preserve the recovered artifacts and make life easier for the students, in 1989 the community provided 10 mu of land and invested RMB 300,000 to build a three story building for the team. The students live and eat there, and cleaning of artifacts is also done there; the villagers call it Archaeology Hall.

Dinggong Village is about two kilometers from Yuancheng proper. In the past, each time it rained or snowed the road would turn into a quagmire. When the leaders of the township saw the students trudging back and forth, they invested RMB 100,000 to build an asphalt road running out to the hamlet. This was the first ever such transit way for the village, and the locals call it "Archaeology Road."

It's not really known how the local cadres came up with the funds for the road and building. Leaders in the township say these things show the compassion farmers feel for the hard labors of the students and also a realization of the importance of preserving cultural artifacts.

"Constructing the archaeology building and fixing up the road were more important than set ting up rural enterprises," echo the leaders at the county level. But how much of this huge sum was taken from the farmers themselves? Township leaders all say that the farmers have been happy to donate money and have done so without complaint. The visitor, meanwhile, is thinking about peasants who have always suffered everything in silence.

Who takes responsibility for damaged crops?

And the "contribution" of the local people does not stop there.

Before the archaeological site was discovered in Dinggong, there were thirty households with two hundred rooms right on top of it. After the discovery, the cadres in the village no longer allowed peasants to build new homes on the site. The existing homes are being moved out one after the other; more than ten homes with twenty-plus rooms have been relocated as of today. There are no private homes to be seen where the digging is actually going on.

New homes are not permitted, but it is OK to plant crops where no digging has yet taken place. Yet here as well there is an additional proviso: On the basis of the "Cultural Artifacts Law," the cadres in the village do not permit farmers to drill wells, dig irrigation ditches, or plow deeply; otherwise they will be fined.

The teachers say that "the state" has compensated for economic from confiscation of the land: RMB 1000 for a mu of vegetable land, RMB 400-500 for a mu of grain land, decided according to the market prices at the moment. Of course this scale of compensation amounts to a net loss for the farmers. Therefore, the team always invites the owner of any land that is touched by the site to come and work with them for a living.

The excavation in Dinggong Village has in fact already seriously affected crop growth. Instructor Fang Hui says that in 300 mu of land, more than 100,000 exploratory holes have been drilled. "The land has been turned into a honeycomb," he describes. When this point is raised, the ordinarily affable Fang gets serious and looks shamefaced.

Fang says that all he can do is to get on with the digging as quickly as possible, and after understanding the situation of the site, hurriedly replace the soil and allow the farmers to plant crops. "At most we will only make them miss one growing season," he says. It's just that after the land has been dug up, even if it is replaced, the planting layer has already been covered with virgin soil, so that it can never return to its former quality. "When you compare the appearance of the crops planted before and after excavation, there's no similarity," notes Fang Hui.

A Shang dynasty porcelain bowl for feeding rabbits:

The students and teachers are all apologetic when discussing the interruption of crop planting. But there is another matter where the local culture and the archaeological mind come into an even more interesting "dialectical materialist" relationship.

When doing their survey of cultural artifacts, the students went everywhere throughout the village, and often discovered that precious artifacts were not being properly treasured. An exquisitely carved jar from the Western Chou dynasty was used as a place to store eggs. A plate from the Western Chou being used as a flowerpot had a hole cut in the bottom to let the water run out. And a late Shang era basin had an indentation dug in it for use in feeding rabbits. Another object used as an oil can still had grease stains on the bottom.

These objects have all been recovered, and are preserved in the work station. The students laugh and say that you can't blame the farmers because they had no idea of the value of these items. This is a classic case of "ancient things put to modern use."

Of course the students and teachers in the archaeological team hope the farmers will further understand and treasure the artifacts. Just as Old Dong explains the relationship of different geologic levels, perhaps one day the meaning of these pots and jars will be known to all. Or at least, perhaps their function will not be limited to feeding rabbits.

[Picture Caption]

p.36

This is the young woman who found the inscribed potsherd during washing. The man at her side is her father "Old Dong."

p.37

(right) Villagers often drop in to visit the mysterious looking site.

p.38

Is there a cultural layer under the sponge gourd fields?

p.39

This Western Chou caldron was used to plant flowers. Its special features include decorative lines cut all the way to the bottom and curls.

p.39

Using a late-Shang or Western Chou jar to hold eggs seems like an OK idea, but the loss would be rather costly if it got broken.

p.40

Accompanying the visitor to the site are a history professor, the county chief, rural township leaders, and officials from the Taiwan affairs office, filling up two sedans.

p.41

A potsherd with character inscriptions was found in this ditch dug two years ago.

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!