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Houston Museum of Natural Science

CHINA’S LOST CIVILIZATION: THE MYSTERY OF SANXINGDUI

Friday, Apr. 10, 2015 – Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015

During the summer of 1986, construction workers accidentally uncovered an astounding cache of ancient jades, bone, pottery, elephant tusks, and monumental bronzes at Sanxingdui, about 40 kilometers outside of the Sichuan Province capitol of Chengdu. This chance discovery of two “sacrificial pits” would be one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century and force scholars to rewrite early Chinese history. The objects were dated to about 1800 BC, a time when it was thought that the cradle of Chinese civilization was 1200 kilometers to the northeast on the Yellow River in China’s central plain region.

However, the cast bronzes of Sanxingdui were far larger and much stranger in appearance than anything seen before. The Sanxingdui culture left no written record or human remains and appears to have existed for only about 500 years before it vanished. In 2001, another archaeological discovery, this time in the city of Chengdu at Jinsha, revealed possible clues to the mystery of where they might have gone.

This exhibition will present many of the most important discoveries from both Sanxingdui and Jinsha and examine the great mystery of where this 3500 year old culture could have come from and where and why they abruptly vanished.

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About the Exhibition

Organized by the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Sichuan Province, Peoples Republic of China.

Major funding provided China Southern Airlines. Local support provided by Kathrine G. McGovern/McGovern Foundation.

Related Links

Learn more here.

HOURS & ADMISSION

  • Monday - Sunday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Permanent Exhibits
    • Adult Ticket: $25 (ages 12 and up)
    • Child Ticket: $16 (ages 3–11)
    • Children ages 2 and under: FREE
    • College Students with ID: $16
    • Seniors (62+): $16
    • Military (with ID): $10
    • Groups (10+): $10
    • School Groups (Pre-K–12th Grade): $4
    • Members Pricing:
    • Member Adult: FREE
    • Member Child: FREE
    Permanent Exhibits Free on Thursdays, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Roam the Serengeti, walk with dinosaurs and discover the world’s mineral wonders—all for free!

Directions & Parking

  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Parking is available in our 6-story garage located on Caroline just south of Hermann Drive. The parking garage is $10 for museum members and $20 for all others. Some curbside parking is available near the Museum entrance and in Hermann Park.

Special Offers / Dining

The Museum offers easy access to a quick meal at McDonald's in the Grand Entry Hall. Open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. McDonald's also offers the option to pre-order meals for field trips.

Please note: Food and beverages are not allowed inside the Museum exhibit halls or theaters.

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