The annual selection event “China's Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries” was established in 1990 by the Chinese Culture Relics News Press. The China Culture Relics News Press is a weekly archaeological newspaper reporting about latest discoveries and projects. The main aim of the event is to select from the numerous archaeological excavations those with the highest scientific value, and to promote further related research.
In 2009, the selection event was sponsored for the first time by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), coordinated by the Chinese Society of Archaeology and organized by the China Culture Relics News Press. So far, 240 projects have been chosen in the course of 24 selection events held. The selections have come to enjoy a high reputation. In a sustainable way, they promote archaeological research, the dissemination of archaeological knowledge, and public awareness of the need to safeguard cultural relics.
Three criteria play an important role during the selection process of China’s Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries: 1. the significance of a discovery to scientific research; 2. the use of innovative working methods and techniques; 3. the question whether or not conservation measures have been applied throughout the excavation process and whether or not the archaeological sites and excavated relics have been protected since excavation. Approximately 80% of the annual archaeological projects result from increasing land use due to large state engineering projects. Important scientific results are achieved both from salvage and newly initiated excavations. The representation of various regions, in particular those inhabited by national minorities, is another important criterion to be considered during the selection process.