The archaeology of China is researched intensively in the universities of the region and also attracts considerable international interest on account of the region's civilizations.
The application of scientific archaeology to Chinese sites began in 1921, when Johan Gunnar Andersson first excavated the Yangshao Village sites in Henan. Excavations from 1928 at Anyang, also in northern Henan, by the newly formed Academia Sinica by anthropologist Li Ji uncovered a literate civilization identified with the late stages of the Shang dynasty of early Chinese records. Earlier cities in northern Henan were discovered at Zhengzhou in 1952 and Erlitou in 1959. More recently prehistoric cities such as Panlongcheng and Sanxingdui have been discovered in other parts of China.
In the 20th century, archaeologists made tens of thousands of discoveries in China. In 2001, the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences organized a poll of experts who selected China's 100 major archaeological discoveries in the 20th century, with Yinxu receiving the most votes.
A number of Chinese artifacts dating from the Tang dynasty and Song dynasty, some of which had been owned by Emperor Zhenzong were excavated and then came into the hands of the Kuomintang Muslim General Ma Hongkui, who refused to publicize the findings. Among the artifacts were a white marble tablet from the Tang dynasty, gold nails, and bands made out of metal. It was not until after Ma died, that his wife went to Taiwan in 1971 from America to bring the artifacts to Chiang Kai-shek, who turned them over to the Taipei National Palace Museum.
What were identified as the oldest-known noodles were found in an earthen bowl at the 4,000-year-old site of Lajia on the Yellow River in China. The noodles, discovered by Ye Maolin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and analyzed by Lu Houyuan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues, were 50 cm long and had been made with two strains of millet.