JINAN, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The ruins of ancient China's first government-run institution of higher learning, built in 374 BC, have been discovered in the Linzi District of Zibo City in east China's Shandong Province, said the provincial institute of cultural relics and archaeology.
Founded by the State of Qi during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the Jixia Academy was a state institution of higher learning with multiple roles such as research institute, university and think tank, and had existed for more than 150 years.
The building complex was unearthed following a five-year excavation drive, and historical records confirmed it to be the Jixia Academy.
Four rows of building foundations have been found at the site, measuring about 210 meters from east to west at its widest and 190 meters long from north to south, with a total area of nearly 40,000 sq meters. The site is connected to the ancient capital city of Qi, and it appears as a right-angled trapezoid from above, according to archaeologists.
"Establishing the Jixia Academy was one of the major reforms of the state of Qi, which set the stage for a new social trend of great cultural and intellectual expansion at that time. The new discovery is of great significance for conducting further studies on Qi's culture," said Zheng Tongxiu, with the provincial archaeological society who is also the curator of the provincial museum. ■