Archaeological Excavation of a Shang Dynasty City Wall.During the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), scholar-bureaucrats and the Chinese gentry became avid antiquarians and collectors of ancient artwork, some claiming to have found Shang Dynasty era bronze vessels with written inscriptions.
Despite this, archeologists of the 19th century knew of written records and historical documentations spanning only as far back as the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC–256 BC). In 1899, it was found that Chinese pharmacists were selling "dragon bones" marked with curious and archaic characters. These were finally traced back in 1928 to a site near Anyang in the Yellow River valley, modern Henan province, where the National Government's Academia Sinica began an archeological excavation. Work at the site was halted during the Japanese invasion in 1937, but by 1950 a Shang capital had been discovered near Zhengzhou.
At the excavated royal palace of Yinxu, there were large stone pillar bases found along with rammed earth foundations and platforms "as hard as cement" as Fairbank asserts, which originally supported 53 buildings of wooden post-and-beam construction.