The sword was uncovered in the province of Hubei, whose name means “north of the lake” – a reference to the expansive Lake Dongting in Hunan province. The Hubei area was inhabited by humans during Neolithic times and is considered to be one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization. Naturally, Hubei province has a rich and intriguing archeological record.
At its heart, the province consists of a sprawling, ultra-fertile alluvial plain called Jianghan. The plain is surrounded by several mountain ranges – including the Jing, Daba, Wu and Wudang mountains – with the highest peak climbing to more than 10,000 feet. The Yangtze River runs through Hubei, with one of its larger tributaries, the Han River, joining it in the Jianghan Plain.
The plain is also punctuated by numerous lakes, giving Hubei the moniker “Province of Lakes.” Additionally, due to its many hydroelectric dams, it has a high number of artificially created reservoirs. In fact, the region is currently home to the largest dam in the world in terms of electrical output – the Three Gorges gravity dam on the Yangtze.