Jiaguwen甲骨文 oracle bone script
The discovery in Yin Ruins殷墟, capital of the Shang Dynasty was a one of the greatest discovery of archaeology in the world. Jiaguwen, which were carved on tortoise shells or animal bones was the most surprising one.
Jiaguwen,甲骨文 ( Chinese: “bone-and-shell script”) , pictographic script found on oracle bones, it was widely used in divination in the Shang dynasty ( 商朝c. 18th–12th century bc). The rulers of Shang Dynasty whenever a great issue happening they would resort to divinity, such as wars, harvest or invocation of rain. The predicted outcomes were carved on the tortoise shells and animal bones with the characters calle Jiaguwen. When the augural result came true, the every shell or bone would be saved as the official records. Therefore, these collections became the earliest recorded historical materials in China.
Jiaguwen was not recognized when it was first found. The tortoise shells and animal bones carved with jiaguwen were considered to be dragon bones, and were regarded as medicines to cure sickness. This happened until 1899, when a man specializing in epigraphy named 王懿榮 Wang Yirong realized that these may be a sort of ancient characters. It drew archaeologists and linguists attention, so they began to study on them. So far, more than 150,000 pieces of tortoise shells and animal bones have been excavated; about 4,500 different characters have been discovered, and more than half of them recognized, which show that a well-developed script with a complete system of written signs had already formed in that early age.
As the earliest and most precious culture relic, 甲骨文Jiaguwen recorded the information of 3,000 years ago about Chinese social politics, economics, culture and so on. Jiaguwen has been the most important
direct historical materials for us to study on Chinese ancient history, especially Shang Dynasty history, and has became the worldwide knowledge.